Inspiration comes in many forms. You can find it anywhere if you’re open enough to see it. Occasionally, while doing web development for an ad agency, I find myself working on the same patterns in different projects or on one website for a long time. It’s easy to burn out after weeks of the same no matter what you’re doing. It’s in those times that I like to find experimental and cool sites to look at for inspiration. I get so much out of it. I can take a mental break from the project I’m working on and it gets me thinking about how I would do things differently if I tackled the project. Here are a few of my favorite inspiration sites to view:
- OnePageLove is a website that compiles a list of creative and unique One Page Websites, layouts and templates. It was started around 2006 in by Rob Hope. What I love about this site is that you can view projects broken down into different categories and they also have templates available. I can play with some design elements in my free time if I so choose. Great resources abound!
- Awwwards is a competition where a committee of expert designers, bloggers and agencies from around the world judge sites based on a plethora of criteria and at the end of the year give awards to those sites, developers, or agencies that have designed the most interesting website. The voting is left up to the public with the final decision coming down to the expert panelists.
- Site Inspire is fairly new to me. It’s set up in a similar fashion to one page love. By that I mean you can filter sites by category, styles, subjects etc. or you can search. With over 4400 sites on the websites and more being added daily, there is no shortage of inspiration that can be pulled from their listing.
- CSS Zen Garden has been around for over 12+ years. The concept is simple. Download the example HTML and CSS files and using only additional CSS (you may not alter the HTML file), create fantastical and beautiful layouts. The site doesn’t get too many submissions anymore (according to the archives the last submission was in 2013), but that doesn’t mean that the CSS isn’t any less gorgeous to look at.
- There are so many more websites that compile impressive, well designed layouts that some people have complied a list of them. As well as being a great resource, the Web Field Manual has a great and varied section on inspirational websites. From websites to fonts to iOS applications there’s a little something for everyone.
Whether you need a break from the daily grind or want inspiration for a new project, these websites are perfect for providing ideas and practical examples of what can and will work, as well as what is possible in the medium. It’s always a good idea to take a break to gain new perspectives on how to do something or finding a new way to do something you’ve already done. You never know what you’ll learn when you’re looking at these sites. Plus, it’s really fun to play with the cool interactive ones.