by Cameron Chapman
Finding inspiration is not always as simple as it sounds, whether
you’ve been designing for years or only weeks. Below is a collection of
100 great web resources to find inspiration and direction on your next
project, whether it be online or in print.
These range from galleries of graphic and web design to online
magazines and a few unconventional sources of inspiration. Keep reading
to see our recommendations and then share your favorite sources of
inspiration in the comments.
Veer: Ideas - A
huge idea gallery from stock photography company Veer formatted as a
blog and including news and updates from the company itself.
- A CSS web design gallery that was founded because of the lack of
features for tracking design ideas on traditional social bookmarking
sites. Categorizes sites in useful ways (such as by color) in ways that
traditional social bookmarking sites don’t.
Raster - A
regularly-updated gallery of photography and art with collections
broken into “chapters.” Founded in 2001, its only goal is to provide
inspirational images from a collective of creative minds.
CSS Galaxy - A
very simple French gallery of CSS website designs that selects sites
based on their standards-compliance, technique, coherent graphic
design, and aesthetic.
CSS Uber Clean - A gallery of exceptional CSS-based designs. The sites featured all contain simple, minimalist, super-clean designs.
A gallery for all types of artwork, both traditional and digital, that
serves as an excellent source of inspiration for all kinds of projects.
Just be careful not to get sucked in and spend three days looking
through it when you have deadlines to meet!
muse - A
collection of some of the best commercial artwork out there. Includes
interviews with the artists who create the designs that reveal what
their inspiration was.
- Features a gallery of all kinds of creative projects including
illustration, music, web design, typography, photography and more.
Depthcore - An
international collective of modern art and digital media that releases
chapters every three or four months featuring work contributed by
- A gallery featuring all kinds of artwork and design including Flash
websites, CSS websites, vector art, advertising, abstract design, photo
manipulation, and more.
Web Creme - A
web design gallery with more than 330 pages of great designs. Search
the archives by the month a design was featured or by color.
CSS Remix - A gallery of beautiful CSS designs where you can sort designs by what’s popular or up-and-coming.
Typechart - A
gallery of typography for the web with CSS styles included. You can
search available styles by font, emphasis (whether something is bold,
italic, etc.), type size (heading, body, etc.) and more. Also lets you
compare Windows ClearType rendering and Apple font rendering.
- A gallery of design, art, photography, and more with its own
inspiring design. Their goal is to increase awareness of the designs
they love to open up more avenues to the creators they admire. You can
also submit designs you’d like to see become a part of the site.
CSS Mania -
Another CSS gallery with more than 13,000 sites and a blog. View
galleries by month or by topic (associations, media, web developers,
- A gallery featuring more than 10,000 website screenshots. Offers an
RSS feed for keeping up with the best new website designs online.
One Page Love -
An awesome collection of single-page websites. Covers portfolios,
applications, and even temporary landing pages with enough information
to help a visitor make an appropriate decision. Also includes
searchable tags for finding inspiration from similar sites.
Design Snack - Features two different galleries, one for XHTML/CSS designs and one for Flash. You can browse designs by color or category.
- A searchable CSS gallery with more than 1700 designs that lets you
browse by category (such as blog, magazine, photography, design, etc.),
layout, or color.
Designing websites for educational institutions is sometimes more
challenging due to the volume of information and the intended audiences
(after all, it has to appeal to current students, prospective students,
parents, professors, alumni, etc.). This site has a huge gallery of
college and university websites sorted by categories and tags, and also
features articles on design and other resources.
- A community-based color gallery that includes colors, palettes, news,
and real-world design examples. Members get points for being active
participants in the community.
Faveup - A
gallery of logos, business cards, flash and CSS websites where you can
vote for your favorites. One of Faveup’s main purposes is to provide
inspiration to designers and to showcase and provide links to great
CSSclip - Sort websites by color or look at the Best of 2009 websites. The site also includes news and other resources for designers.
- Another gallery that started as a personal resource before going
public. Offers an RSS feed and features a number of well-known websites
in its design gallery.
Ads of the World
- Check out print, TV, radio, online, outdoor and other types of
advertisements from all over the world to get inspiration for both
online and offline design projects.
- Vote on a scale of 1-9 on the sites featured in this gallery or just
browse for new ideas. All the sites featured are handpicked for being
unique and well-designed.
Darkeye - Web
design gallery where you can search by color or keyword. You can also
browse recent submissions, most viewed, and highest rated sites, and
you can vote and leave comments on featured designs.
- More than 300 textures divided up by category—grunge, plaster, rust,
wood, glass, and more. You can then download the textures as free stock
The Cool Hunter
- A gallery of all things awesome, including architecture, design,
stores, and more based in Australia. The site serves as a celebration
of modern creativity in all its forms and is a global hub for
everything cool, innovative, original, and thoughtful.
UniqueCSS.com - A
judged site that features six of the best and most unique CSS designs
on the web every month. Viewers can then vote and the highest-ranked
site each month wins $25.
CSS Import -
A CSS gallery with more than 2,000 sites featured. They offer RSS feeds
for the full gallery and for just the notable entries. The biggest
drawback to the site is that the archives are only organized by date.
csstux - A huge
collection of websites with browsable archives. There is no search
feature on the site, so while designs are tagged with categories,
there’s no effective way to find designs tagged a certain way.
- View graphic design, photography, web design, digital art, and
industrial art galleries. Each category has subcategories to further
refine your search.
- Great standards-compliant CSS sites from all over the web. The site
is browsable by category and subcategory and also offers RSS and TwitterTwitter reviews feeds.
One Pixel Army
- A collection of sites perfect for finding inspiration or direction in
your own designs. All the sites featured are handpicked by the site
owner as excellent sources of inspiration.
Splench - A
gallery in a blog format that makes browsing easy. You can view sites
by color or search by keyword. An RSS feed is also available.
Website Design Awards - Features some of the best designs on the web with a focus on interactivity, usability, creativity, and originality.
CSS Design Yorkshire
- A gallery of more than 2,500 CSS website designs that also has
monthly featured websites. All of the designs featured are by designers
in the Yorkshire region and all sites are built with good semantic
CSSMoon - View
web design galleries by category—education, business, portfolios,
medical, and more. The coolest part about this site is the header,
which allows you to browse sites in a similar way to browsing album
covers on the iPhone.
- A huge gallery with a blog that features outstanding designs and
other useful posts. They normally showcase ten designs each month,
though some months they share additional sites if there are tons of
Pattern Tap -
One of my favorite resources for web design inspiration. View the way
other sites handle specific elements such as 404 Pages, Backgrounds,
Calendars, Contact Forms, and more.
PageCrush - A place where designers from all over the world can post their best work and where others can go to find inspiration.
The Photography Showcase
- View and rate photos of a variety of subjects. The tag cloud makes
finding exactly what you’re looking for easy and the site offers a
widget you can add to your own site.
- Though currently going in a new direction, this site has an amazing
gallery of CSS website designs, as well as a forum, resources, and
- A web design gallery site that also includes podcasts, resources,
interviews, news, and more. They also offer an RSS feed and you can
follow them on Twitter for regular updates. The sites featured are
tagged and can be rated on a scale of 1-10.
CSS Scoop - View
and rate CSS designs and check out the blog for web design articles
covering a variety of topics. RSS feeds are provided for both the
gallery and the blog (”The Scoop”).
- A regularly-updated gallery of beautiful websites. They also offer
weekly web design news roundups and RSS feeds for the gallery, news,
DiVine CSS -
A gallery that features blog designs, CSS, Flash, e-commerce sites and
more. Sites are selected by the team of graphic designers, web
designers, programmers and developers behind DiVine CSS.
Light on Dark
- A gallery of nothing but websites with dark backgrounds and
light-colored text. This can be one of the hardest design styles to
pull off, so studying successful sites that employ this style is a good
place to start.
Wooki.es - A CSS
and general web design gallery with browsable categories. Sites
featured are excellent examples of innovative and creative uses and are
web standards compliant.
CSS Dance - A
web design gallery showcasing appealing site design with a rating
system. They offer an RSS feed of new additions and you can follow them
CSS Mix - Gallery
sortable by color or category and with a rating system and RSS feed.
Members can also view sites that are still pending for addition.
CSS Nature -
A gallery featuring only green, eco, and organic websites. They also
offer open source templates and the ability to comment and rate designs.
Web Designer Wall - The Trends category on Web Designer Wall has amazing showcases of web design elements and complete sites.
Web Design Ledger
- The inspiration category on this blog has tons of places to go for
inspiration and showcases beautiful examples of all kinds of design.
Computerlove - A
social platform and blog for finding inspiration and sharing your work.
They offer design news as well and ways to promote yourself as a
Design is Kinky
- A blog featuring new designs and artwork from all over the world.
They’ve been around for more than 10 years, making them one of the
older design blogs/sites on the net.
DFCKR - Tracks design
news and resources and highlights up and coming illustrators and
designers. Their archives are browsable by recent entries, date, and
You the Designer - Posts featuring examples of excellent design across the web and beyond put together by a freelance graphic designer.
- A blog for web designers and developers that includes some great
design galleries and articles. The site is put together by Carsonified,
the same company that produces the Future of Web Design and Future of
Web Apps conferences.
- Features multiple posts showcasing great designs for inspiration. The
blog itself is produced by a web design company in an effort to make
their site more useful than just the standard portfolio site.
- Blog featuring inspiration for print and web design, with a pretty
inspiring design itself. It also features other resources for
designers, including free photoshop textures and brushes.
I Love Typography
- Great inspiration for anyone trying to find just the right font, this
site showcases fonts and typography in the world around us, from road
signs and shampoo bottles to billboards and posters.
Noupe - Posts
offering collections of design elements for inspiration along with
tutorials, icons, showcases, and more. Noupe’s goal is to help
designers create more engaging websites and functional interfaces.
- Posts covering all kinds of design topics and including a variety of
sources of inspiration and useful tools. Includes practical information
for modern web designers.
- Offers a variety of articles, including showcases of great design and
design elements. They also include tutorials, free downloads, and
articles covering anything related to web design.
fadtastic - A
multi-author blog covering trends in web design with some great
showcase posts. Posts cover trends in web graphics, typography, and
Design Melt Down
- Covers all sorts of design elements and trends, broken down into
chapters. Includes color usage, principles of design, site types and
more, all illustrated with real-world examples.
Fuel Your Creativity
- A brilliant design blog with some amazing articles in their
inspiration section. They tout themselves as the place to go when
you’re having one of those
- A blog featuring typography news, resources and more. They feature
mostly print materials that display excellent use of typography, though
inspiration could be drawn from here for both print and web
applications. Their handpicked font collections showcase the best fonts
each year (four years are currently available, 2004-2007).
Online magazine and art group offering monthly issues that feature user
submissions of photography, artwork, writing, and more.
Multilink Magazine - A free PDF magazine that has issues released on an irregular schedule as they’re ready with variable content.
GizMag - A PDF magazine that features photography, illustration, design, sculpture and more, as well as interviews with artists.
- A PDF magazine featuring art and design with themed issues that can
be downloaded for free. Each quarterly issue features a unique art- and
delve - A
free, experimental design magazine with archives available online that
features photography, design, illustration and other visual arts.
ROOTmagazine - Features graphic design, illustration, photography, video, audio and other content from everybody willing to exhibit.
- Magazine focusing on art as well as culture with over 70,000
subscribers. They cover the arts, modeling, music and more and consider
themselves a massive worldwide propaganda machine for making people
think about global messages.
Artz Mania -
A downloadable design magazine featuring international artists and
designers that started in January of ‘07. They showcase designs by
artists and designers from all over the world distributed on a platform
that’s accessible to people from all walks of life.
- A flip-book format online art & design magazine with a very slick
interface. They focus on art, design, and film and track down
innovative products, events, trends, and artists from around the globe
Castle Illustrative Magazine
- A free PDF magazine full of work by “creative nerds.” They put out
regular issues focused on free illustration and design. Back issues are
available on the website.
Anti - A digital magazine showcasing outstanding art and design content. Eight issues are currently available for free download.
- A free PDF magazine covering all areas of art, design, and
photography. Each issue also features humorous stories and informative
Proteus Mag - Features photography, painting, sculpture, graphic designs, fashion designs, and more in a free PDF magazine.
bitFUUL magazine - A PDF magazine that covers all aspects of art and design including music, photography, writing, and art.
Features “works-in-progress” in art, expression, literature, and more.
They aim to be available in paper for some editions, though for the
most part they are a screen magazine.
ruby mag -
An art magazine that aims to promote different artists to the world.
More than thirty back issues are available on the website.
- A downloadable digital magazine that’s currently undergoing a
changeover to a blog format. Back issues are still available for
- A free art magazine available in PDF, Flash or executable files for
both PC and Mac. Submissions are open to graphic designers,
photographers and artists from all over the world.
Online photography magazine with a focus on unexpected treatment of
subjects. Photographs that treat their subjects with alternate takes,
odd angles, and unconventional observations.
- An online magazine that includes a gallery, forums, creative
directory, news and more. The creator of the site, Future, publishes
more than 100 consumer magazines worldwide.
JPG Magazine - An
online magazine devoted to photography with themed issues. Visitors to
the site can vote on photos for upcoming issues. They have open themes
where photographers can submit work and which may or may not be
featured in future issues.
- A collection of photos of print designs. This is definitely the pool
to look at if you’re looking for inspiration for package or marketing
- A pool of website screenshots with more than 7,000 items uploaded.
There are examples of just about every kind of web design present, some
with multiple screenshots available.
Experimental Graphic Design - A collection of more than 17,000 graphic design images that don’t necessarily fit traditional design conventions.
- View more than 10,000 poster designs from all over the world. Great
for inspiration whether you’re designing an actual poster or any other
print or online project.
Design the Logo
- A graphic design pool focused specifically on logo design. Features
well-known logos as well as ones for lesser known brands and companies.
Graphic Design Magazines
- A selection of photos from magazines focused on graphic design. Shows
layouts and specific elements from magazines from all over the world.
- A pool of graphic designs revolving around the use of photos. Some
items from the pool are very straight-forward examples of photo-based
design while others are truly original and creative designs.
- A pool of photos focused on eye-catching color with more than 1.3
million items. Pulling colors from photos is a great way to design a
unique color palette for any design project.
flickr in full color
- Another photo pool focused on brilliant use of color in photography.
While there are only around 99,000 photos in this pool (as opposed to
the 1.3 million in the previous pool), the quality of the images is