Inspiration births some of the greatest ideas executed. If you have been designing interfaces for quite some time, there is a high chance you have felt unimpressed with some of your designs. This is usually resulting from the lack of variation plaguing UI design. Designers are often required to create similar components per project, this leads to repeated “patterns”.
It could also be that your designs feel dated, in which case you need to refresh your design sense to create some fresh interfaces. Most user interface projects tend to be chaotic from the onset, which is usually due to the many directions and design choices available.
Using a limited amount of references as inspiration is the safest way to design as opposed to using much. This is because being reliant on lots of reference material often leads to design inconsistencies.
Always look out for patterns across websites – these usually state a strong UX stance which many users on the internet might already use. It makes it easier for users to navigate their websites easier and faster. (NB this is by no means a rule for designers. There has been an uprise of websites that completely ignore these UX rules in favour of brutalist designs).
Some of these reference websites feature trends that aren’t accessible or UX friendly. Some UI designs are created for views and likes, others for actual users. Always lean towards designs that end up in actual projects, as they are polished and UX tested. Below are some of the resources most UI designers use to find inspiration for their projects:
Dribbble features a variety of design disciplines ranging from Graphic Design to Motion Graphics. It’s one of the main go-to websites for product designers when seeking inspiration for their websites. One of the main features users get to enjoy when using Dribbble is the “groups” feature. These “groups” feature top designers from companies such as Google and Slack. They showcase earlier prototypes, wireframes and UI designs meant to ship to actual users. Rejected/declined designs are sometimes posted, with captions explaining the reasons behind the rejection. There’s a downside to using Dribbble though, it’s plagued with an unhealthy dose of “trendy” designs. These designs have beautiful visuals but are unusable in the real world. This ends up becomes a challenge for Junior UI designers who are just starting out. They lack the experience to determine how certain design choices affect users and developers.
For thorough case study designs, look no further than Behance. The website features top-notch Product Designers who breakdown their design decisions down to the component level. This resource is perfect for designers who look to other forms of art for inspiration. The website features works ranging from photography, motion graphics, graphic design through to UX design. You can curate mood boards to create a clearer picture of the designs you’re more inclined towards.
Land-book, One Page Love & Lapa Ninja
These websites are particularly handy for easy one page websites or product pages. They feature live websites, categorized into groups to help users filter and find related websites. Using these websites as sources of inspiration improves the quality of your websites as they are live websites on display.
Awwwards & TheFWA
Like land-book etc, these two websites provide top-notch websites and awards them. Having an Awwwards badge (SOTD) is a respectable form of validation online that demonstrates the creativity and structure a website possesses. They also feature comments and breakdowns from curators to highlight the strong points and weaknesses of these websites. As an avid user of Awwwards, it has one of the best filters to help designers find exactly what they are after.
If you’re big on typefaces and fonts on your websites, look no further. Not only does Typewolf help you find the right fonts to pair, but it also features a SOTD section that showcases the best in type for the day. Most of these websites feature clean and minimal views while perfecting the typefaces used.
This is one of the easiest of the bunch to use. Pinterest gives you a plethora of design disciplines with a single term search. There are many mood boards pre-curated, as well as groups created for specific disciplines of design. Pinterest collates designs from most of the websites I have listed above (acts as a signpost with a preview). The capability of teaming up with several designers to contribute to a mood board is one feature that enhances the appeal on Pinterest. Several designers working on a single project, while seeking inspiration from a single source has always been the goal.