The best website designs are not just “conversion machines”, but ones that innovatively reflect your brand’s identity. Creative and inspiring web designs manage to connect with users to make a long-lasting impression.
So, if you want to get to most out of your web design, you need to carefully analyse the aesthetic, usability, value and creativity of your site. Think about how your website design appeals to your specific potential customers. What does your website design say about you? More importantly, what do you WANT your website design to say about you?
If you want to harness the endless possibilities of creative web design for your own website, take a look below at the best, most inspiring website designs we handpicked for you.
Inspiring website designs to help you get creative
Web designs for a virtual world
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) appear to combine reality with the digital world. These technologies have been around for years, but many might remember them best in the form of Pokemon GO. This 2016 augmented reality mobile game has users running around parks, streets and even shops, trying to ‘catch ’em all’.
Cut to now and it’s becoming more standardized to see digital designs implementing AR and VR across industries. These types of technology are interactive, incur excitement with their novelty factor and arguably give a richer, more realistic experience to users than static web design. AR, especially, can be used to bridge the gap between digital and physical experiences.
Take, for instance, this example of a museum app in which AR is acting as a digital learning tool. This exciting technology allows users to interact with the site as if they were physically there, learning about its exhibits, layout and architecture—imagine touring the Louvre and seeing the Mona Lisa without have to interact with (or get lost in) a sea of elbows or put on any pants.
Virtual tour experience for a real estate website by Andrea Eppy via Dribble
Alternatively, you may stumble across AR and VR across social media or ecommerce apps that enable users to sample the product: think opticians or, more recently, cosmetics brands.
Augmented reality app where you can virtually try on makeup by Andrea Eppy via Dribble
Creative websites that are a blur
A Gaussian blur is an image processing effect created using the mathematical Gaussian function. It’s therefore named after mathematician and scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss and it appears as a smooth blur, as if you are seeing the image through a translucent screen.
Adding a Gaussian blur to your creative website design often creates an opportunity to bring attention to your company’s product/service. It smooths out digital displays, highlighting color palettes and contrasting with important design elements such as CTAs and images.
Web design that create optical illusions
A parallax effect can be used in web design to increase the contrast between background and foreground elements. It tricks the viewer into perceiving the foreground images (so those closer to the viewer) as moving faster than those in the background (ie. those further away).
Like many other types of web animation, a parallax effect offers extra opportunity for your users to have positive memorable experiences with your site. It’s a creative alternative to static designs, enabling wider experimentation with layout, navigation and transitions.
Parallax animation for a snow gear site by Minh Pham via Dribble
This design technique is often used with the scroll function on landing pages to increase interactivity. It’s a great tool for ecommerce sites who want to show off the features of multiple products or for educational websites wanting to incorporate a more interactive storytelling technique.
Keep in mind when using animations like a parallax effect that less is more. You don’t want to overload the user as it can make it more difficult for them to complete important tasks on your site.
Animated web design on the topic of fashion by Bastien Allard
Steakhouse homepage with parallax animations by Patya Pindo via Dribble
Inspiring web designs that say it loud
Larger than life typography is a fun trend that’s quite straightforward: the bigger the letters, the more impactful they will be. Choose a font that’s inline with your brand aesthetic and keep the word count to a minimum. Keep in mind how your text elements will change with responsive web design and how big text will look on desktop vs. smaller screens like cell phones. This creative website design brings focus to your brand’s message, putting it front and center.
Creative web designs that make it pop
Pop art emerged in the late 50s. Artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Richard Hamilton nurtured and popularized it to become an iconic art movement. They celebrate everyday objects, people and aspects of popular culture, isolating and lifting them into the high brow world of “art”.
Pop art can be a great source of inspiration for creative web design; it boasts saturated color combinations, bold lines and experiments with repetition and collage. But rather than replicating its well-known works, consider how you can interpret certain features of pop art into your designs to feel relevant. Viewers don’t need to see another reincarnation of Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe prints, but they may be intrigued by an innovative use of color and a heavy sprinkling of satire.
Website designs that make it feel real
There are many ways to make illustrations sparkle, but with current innovations in 3D digital designs trends, they are practically leaping from the page! 3D elements bring some of the best website designs to life, from illustrations and animations to simple web features.
Neumorphism is a particularly impactful technique that is continuing to gain momentum in digital design. Short for “new skeuomorphism”, this aesthetic can be achieved by using selective drop shadows that are overlaid with semi flat colors, resembling digital embossing or debossing with eye-popping results. The effect is not quite photorealistic, but more tactile and engaging, capturing the paradoxical age of minimalist realism.
Neumorphic design in particular is great for elements like buttons, search bars or text boxes, but also icons or product features and works well for sites that promote responsive design. Using 3D elements can add a sense of uniqueness and dimension to your website, and in more minimalist layouts, 3D can make an ever bigger impression.
Inspiring web designs that play with shapes
Geometric shapes like circles, squares and triangles have meaning: circles can represent infinite cycles, squares can represent stability, and triangles have connections with divinity. Yet the adoption of these simple shapes into your designs can bring visual focus to specific areas of your website, like your featured product or CTAs.
Using geometric shapes can also be a welcome alternative to predictable layouts and stock imagery. Startups should consider this creative website idea because it’s a great method of directing focus to the product and its functionality—in a fanciful way. It showcases your brand as authentic, thoughtful and forward-thinking.
Website designs with creative fonts that tell a story
Fonts can be an underestimated aspect of your branded web design. Yet your font adds to the story of who you are as a company and your brand identity. Some creative websites use a typography that uniquely matches the mood of website content. Like with these creative website examples, each font captures the vibe of the brand, from retro, spartan to futuristic.
You can even create unique or experimental typography to feature on your website thanks to improvements with installing custom fonts. Pair your featured font with a more readable secondary typeface to provide the best user experience.
Web designs that show their dark side
You don’t have to join the force with Darth Vader to adopt dark mode for your web design. More browsers and mobile devices are already allowing for easy toggle between light and dark modes to cut glare and reduce blue light to ease the strain on your eyes. In response, more designers are using this aesthetic to their advantage and embracing black as the perfect dark backdrop to make design elements pop.
Dark mode has an undeniable ambience, so it’s important to consider how it will impact the vibe of the message and content of the website design. It makes a good match for tech related companies, like cryptocurrency or cybertech security.
Those who do a lot of work on computers will recognize the familiar look, “Search your feelings, you know it to be true!” *Ahem*, does anyone have a cough drop?
Creative websites that hit the right (duo)tone
The duotone effect has been around the block, but it remains a powerful design tool that can fit the needs of any brand. Duotone designs are made using two contrasting colors which creates an aesthetic boldness. The technique is often used in repurposing photographs, and by reducing the colors to add visual appeal.
The effect is useful in web backgrounds or as featured images, allowing for other web elements and content to pop. This style works well with more corporate organizations or public-facing businesses by looking fresh and modern but not too experimental.
Time to think creatively with these inspiring web designs
Whether it’s a dreamy gaussian blur, the moody glare of dark mode or the saturated colors from the era of pop art, it’s these special design elements that can give your new branded website that extra flick of pizzazz. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your creative web designs—your imagination truly is the limit!