3 Design Sites to Stimulate Your Creative Sides
There are seemingly endless decisions that must be made before you can launch your brand or company online. Answers are needed for questions like:
- Where should we host our site?
- Do we need a custom build or should we buy a theme?
- What theme should we use?
- What domain name should we buy?
- Do we have a logo?
- Which social media sites should we link the home site to?….and the list goes on.
Sometimes you need a little inspiration.
Luckily, there are several online sites that can be juiced for creative insight. These sites are developed and operated by top-notch graphic- and web-designers looking to showcase new design skills, ideas, or trends. Designers post their favorite work including website design, eBook design, business cards, and stationery suites – much like a portfolio.
For business owners, these sites are a vault of creative inspiration, and a sure-fire jackpot of designs that match your online brand vision.
We’ll walk you through three of the best sites for creative stimulation, to help get you started.
Designspiration is a free network of some of the best designs from across the globe including web design, and other printed or online materials.
To Use It
There are a few ways users search the platform to find amazing designs. First, you can search by typing in keywords. The site automatically anticipates what you’re searching and then populates some of the most “liked” sites as voted on by users.
You can also search based on color palette, by selecting up to five colors that match the color palette(s) of your brand. This helps organizations that already have a solid understanding of their brand identity guidelines and are looking for ways to create new designs within their color spectrum.
Finally, if you register an account with designspiration, you can save your favorite designs in a Pinterest-board-like dashboard based on categories you’ve created. This helps users group variations of designs they like together and can serve as a toolbox for building out your web design. For instance, you could say, “I like the navigation bar on example A, but love hero image display in example B.”
Siteinspire focuses exclusively on web and interactive design. With more than 200 website submissions a day, the site is fresh and refreshed daily, giving users buckets of websites to peruse, play with and get inspired by. What’s more, all the sites featured are live sites. This means, as you thumb through designs you can click to visit the live site to tinker with and assess usability, navigation, and the overall functionality of the site.
To Use It
Search designs by theme and/or category. Each site is organized on a tagging system that fall into one of four categories: styles, types, subjects, platforms. Search within each category for a specific tag that you are looking for. For example, perhaps you are looking for a clean white site. You may search under “style” for “light” and “minimal.”
The tagging system also allows a backend system to suggest similar sites to users.
Another neat feature is siteinspire’s “directory.” This is alphabetized list of designers who’ve submitted site designs. This can useful if you’ve identified a certain artistic style of a designer, and want to keep up with their new designs. Or, if you are in the agency business of creating many sites, you can bookmark your favorite designers for more curated inspiration.
Behance is one of the most prominent design portfolio sites, with over 592,000 Twitter followers and more than 71 million site visits each month. Compared to the others in this list, Behance is more of a catchall, online design portfolio where designers can publish photos of work of limitless applications: books, products, art, websites, pamphlets, illustration, motion graphics, and more.
Some of the world’s biggest companies — including Facebook, National Geographic, and Google — use Behance to find inspiration and hire designers straight from the platform.
But it’s also great for small business and personal use.
To Use It
Behance is best used to find innovative solutions for some of your most puzzling design projects. (Like how to design 3D printing into upcycled products? Crazy!)
There are dozens of ways to search the plethora of portfolios, but here are a few of the simplest:
- Select the genre of design you seek from the “all creative fields” menu.
- Search the most popular designs based on user reviews
- Follow categorized galleries
- Search for designs based on the tool used to create the design
Or make your own way.
Finding the right design for your website before you start to build is an important step to any website build. As with most creative work, new web designs are built from those that exist before it, with design teams and small business tweaking existing looks and feels to match the personality and character of their brand.