Five Great Website Design Galleries
When I am looking for inspiration I like to have examples of various design techniques and color palettes. The best way that I have found to do this is to have a variety of different design gallery sites to peruse. Even if the client has provided you with their vision of the site it can be advantageous to look at other types of sites and see if there is some technique that could be useful on your site. After all, good designs incorporate current styles while providing a unique and memorable experience. Here are the main design galleries that I visit.
The Best Designs
The Best Designs is the design gallery I have been using the longest, and provides a wide variety of site designs. Ranging from over-the-top, heavily animated sites, to minimalistic sites I feel that it gives me a great mix of different techniques and color palettes.
I prefer the categories on CSS elite to those on The Best Designs, so when I am looking for a particular design style I generally look here. I also like that sites are rated by users, so it can give a better feel for how others respond to the design and color scheme on each site.
CSS Remix is interesting because of the design of the gallery itself. It provides the most sites per gallery page, although it provides very little information about each site. I like using this gallery when I am not sure of what I want to do with the site that I am working on, as the lack of information and small thumbnails provides such little information about the site I have to click on it to really get a feel for the site. This prevents me from having an opinion formed on the site before I visit it, allowing me to see sites that I generally would not be interested in viewing. I have found that inspiration tends to come from the places you least expect it to, and CSS Remix allows me to explore places I generally don’t go.
Best Web Gallery
BestWebGallery has a similar design and layout to CSS elite, but I like that when I hover over a thumbnail of a site I get an expanded view. This is really helpful when I am looking for a site with specific design techniques or color palettes to draw from. This is particularly helpful when a client has a very specific vision of what they want their site to look like.
CSS Heaven has a brighter style than the other gallery sites, which is why I have included it here. I know that sounds strange but looking at thumbnails of sites on dark backgrounds can make certain color themes appear more appealing. With a lighter background other styles tend to stand out, and this helps provide me with a better range of different color schemes to look through and decide between.
Many More on CSS-Tricks
This is a list of Design Galleries provided by CSS-Tricks. It shows some basic information about each gallery, and if I have not quite found what I am looking for on any of the sites listed above I will sometimes flip through other design galleries to see what they have. This list seems to be the best to reference to get a good number of galleries to look through. If all else fails I take a break from working on the design of my sites and work on something else or go for a walk. Sometimes getting away from the computer is the best thing you can do to trigger creativity.
While I enjoy using design galleries such as these to inspire myself, I cannot stand seeing sites that are nearly clones of one another. Sometimes this happens through coincidence (especially with minimalist designs) but as a designer I always work to produce something unique, and you should too. Your client will be much happier with a unique design than a copy, and you never have to worry about fielding that call if they happen to stumble across the site that you copied or imitated.
I hope that these design galleries provide you with some inspiration for future designs. If you have any others that you would recommend or comments on these, please feel free to post in the comments!
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