Starting a web design project is always tricky. Getting the wheels in motion and setting a plan for the way ahead is often the most important part of a project and is key to the success or failure of a project.
Aside from time and resource management, setting goals, objectives and milestones and dealing with project requirements, doing the work is actually quite important.
No really, it is!
Web designers all have different ways of starting a project and coming up with ideas. Some find success designing on instinct, putting pen to paper (as it were) and letting the designs flow naturally, with little time spent on reference.
Others find a more structured approach beneficial by spending time researching their field of design, recent examples of web work, new design trends, as well as looking at competitor’s websites and good reference sites.
For a more structured approach, the following free websites are all good starting points for inspiration for any design project.
Pinterest is one of the largest online catalogues of design ideas available. It is usually the best place to start on any project to get some quick ideas.
When searching for keywords like ‘website’ or ‘branding’, Pinterest will suggest further keywords which will often help to find what you’re looking for.
This works for most colours, places, sectors, seasons and so on, but results can often become crowded with unrelated content if your search is too specific.
Adobe’s portfolio site Behance allows users to upload their favourite designs and creations for the public to see.
A rating system favours the popular items to the top, so chances are whatever you’re looking for will be high quality, but also popular with other designers.
There are fewer results than Pinterest, but often you’ll find something you weren’t even looking for that exceeds expectations.
Similar to Behance, Dribbble is a portfolio based service but encourages a ‘professionals only’ kind of approach.
Uploading your own content requires a paid for subscription, often done as a team, but also allows users to find someone to complete a design based job for them.
Search results for inspiration are high quality, and even allows you extract a colour palette from others work.
Nicleydone is an online showcase website, with handpicked results for a wide range of categories. The projects shown are usually high quality, though the number of results is more limited than Pinterest.
Nicelydone can be used for web design, branding, photography, software design and even patterns.
A selection of award winning websites, chosen from daily to yearly winners. These websites are the cream of the crop and should mainly be used for very high end inspiration.
Awwwards also have some really useful news articles on new design trends, fonts and other technical inspirations.
Can’t be bothered to look through all of those?
Try Muzli. Muzli is a browser extension (Chrome / Safari) which takes all the best articles from all the above sites, plus a load more, and gives you quick links to their sites.
You can customize which sites you want to see more of, and what categories interest you most. Simples.
Hopefully some of the sites above will help you strike gold when thinking of ideas for a new project.
Getting the right idea can be tricky to start with, but will make a project fly when you nail it from the start.
Written by Ali Wilson