Cool Design Ideas: websites to help inspire you... on any project
When embarking on a new design for a client, or even if you are just looking to further your own skills, it can be tricky to know where to start. One important step that shouldn't be overlooked is researching what cool designs already exist out there, to help inspire your own creative process.
Below are some of the favourite sites we browse for creative ideas or to view the work of other designers. You will notice they are not all web designers; it's also important to see what is going on in other design disciplines, to help us mould our own ideas and bring them together in our own creative melting pot. You might be inspired by a colour palette or the flow of some typography, or maybe even the use of negative space. All of these principles can be applied to your own designs, in web or print.
Dribbble.com: Cool Design Ideas
Dribbble is an amazing website, summed up briefly as "a show and tell for designers."
We can spend hours looking at all the cool innovative work here - click the link below and see why
Dribble's main strength as a tool for finding cool designs comes from the huge community of designers showing their work, looking for feedback and advice on projects they are working on or have worked on. It's refreshingly original and the work is almost always excellently executed... it really makes you want to strive for a sharper creative edge, and accept nothing less than perfection.
Cool Designs at www.dribbble.com
Behance Network: The Creative Professional Platform for Cool Ideas
Behance is similar to Dribbble, featuring cool designs from cutting edge designers. However Behance features more in the way of full portfolios, rather than focussing on single "shots" of work.
An excellent example of this is one of Bram Vanhaeren's pages, where he has dedicated himself to coming up with one inspirational design idea each day, all executed within a maximum of one hour. Bram's work shows how creative you can be under time restraints and with an ad-hoc, "what's inspiring me today" approach.
Visit Bram's page and see for yourself how creative you can really be daily!
Brams Cool Daily Design Ideas
Cool Designs at www.behance.net
Smashing Magazine: an essential Design & Technology Website
Smashing Magazine is a vast and resourceful website that can help inspire cool designs... from the code up! It can be split into a range of categories: Graphics, Inspiration, Coding, Design, Typography, Workflow & Business, Tools, Freebies, Tutorials, an Opinion Column and Events.
Not only is it clear that this website offers well-researched articles in all the above areas, but its contributors are extremely creative and post articles that are consistently thought-provoking and visually challenging. One of my favourite articles from the Opinion Column does all of these things: "Are you ready for a web design challenge?"
I highly recommend taking a read - if not now then at the start or end of each web project you take on - to foster the kind of practical focus you need as a web developer, to go alongside your creativity and really nail those cool and inspirational designs you've been working on.
Cool Web Design Challenge Article
Cool Designs and ideas at www.smashingmagazine.com