How to Get Design Inspiration from the Best Websites
Web designers are always looking for visual inspiration. Many of us are always looking through Behance and Dribbble to see what our peers are creating.
There is another resource you might not know about. I’m talking about the Awwwards.com website where sites are voted on to become “Best site of the day,” “Best site of the month” and “Best site of the year.”
From the winners of the best sites of the day and month, they choose the best website of the year.
But how do you get inspiration from these sites? We’ve got a few tips to get you started. Browsing, of course, is great, but knowing what to look for will help you get the right kind of inspiration you need.
Create an Inspiration Folder
First things first, if you don’t already have a place to put the inspiration you find online, it’s time to create one. There’s plenty of different ways to achieve this.
- A folder in your computer with subsections
- A folder in Dropbox
- A folder in Google Drive
- Visual boards in Milanote
- Boards in Trello
- A private (or public) Pinterest board
If you are worried about disk space, use one of the online options which involve cloud storage.
Apart from the folder where you’ll keep the visual inspiration, also create a document where you can save links to the sites you like the most. If you organize, you can add the names of the screenshots next to the site’s URL.
Another way of using folders is to create an inspiration folder for each project. For example, let’s say you have to create a website for a vegan restaurant. Title the folder something descriptive like “Inspiration for a vegan restaurant website.”
Inside the folder, make subsections like,
- Landing pages
- Photo galleries
Open up the site on your computer at awwwards.com. Make a bookmark for it so you can get to it quickly any time you need inspiration. Better yet if you have a bookmark folder for inspiration where you already have the links to Behance and Dribbble.
Check out The Collections in Awwwards.com
If you aren’t sure what you are looking for, then a simple browse on the home page is fine. But if you have some idea of what you want to see, use the collections tab. In the collections, you can search for sites in categories like:
- The Best of Navigation
- Image Galleries and Slideshows
- And lots more…
In the main page, you can also choose to look at winners and sites which are still under consideration. The winners will always be surprising; the ones in review can go either way.
Look at Sites Fully
When you find a site that looks interesting, don’t just look at the first page. Navigate the site until you’ve seen all the nooks and crannies. You might be surprised what you find in the contact page or the about us section. These websites are “the best” for a reason.
Check out the navigation, click on everything clickable. Scroll slowly and scroll fast, try everything.
Inspiration is best absorbed when you take screenshots of what you like. You can do it with the computer’s controls or with an extension like Nimbus. Save your screenshots directly to your inspiration folder. Even better if you give the screenshot a descriptive name. You’ll find your screenshot faster.
If you like the scroll transitions, make a video of the site doing its thing. Keep the videos in your inspiration folders.
Taking notes is a great way to add value to your inspiration search. When you take notes, you can remember what you are looking at and why you chose in in the first place. That’s why a Trello Board might be a good idea for your inspiration board.
You can create a board for each design aspect you have searched for. Then inside the board, you can take notes, and add the screenshots/videos. You can even share the boards with your team so everyone can see what you mean when you are talking about something they haven’t seen yet.
Apply What You Learn
If you follow the tips in this post, you will have a beautiful collection of visuals to inspire your web design projects. Always look at what you already have collected before looking at more options. The best piece of advice I can give you is never to stop looking for inspiration, and always keep records of what you find.
Don’t Copy, Get Inspired
Last but not least, it’s important I mention a little something about how exactly you use the inspiration. When you see something you like, recreate it in your style. Don’t copy other people’s designs exactly. Use what you see as inspiration!