35+ of my favorite websites for design inspiration

“Where do you get your inspiration from?” is a tricky question. Relying too much on the trends in your industry or keeping your head too far into what others are doing can put you in a hole where you’re making aesthetic design decisions based on other people’s work.

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Of course there’s Dribbble and Behance, but the popular posts on those communities are almost guaranteed to be an insular circle jerk based on likes. If you keep track of the right accounts, Tumblr and Pinterest can be inspirational goldmines. To keep myself from getting distracted by NSFW gifs or home decor DIY projects, though, I like to stick with a few select curated blogs and galleries. Here is where I go when I need to pull reference images for a moodboard, keep on top of the best of what’s happening around me, glean insight from others’ processes, and look at pretty stuff.

Web, mobile, and product design

Visual design

UX patterns and components

  • PTTRNS: mobile design patterns and components
  • Capptivate: mobile design patterns and components in video form
  • Unmatched Style: website design and interactive components gallery
  • Pattern Tap: website components gallery
  • Empty Stat.es: considerate designs of often overlooked empty states
  • Little Big Details: delightful, thoughtful UX components that make a big difference

Typography

  • Fonts In Use: identifying beautiful type in print in real life
  • Type Wolf: identifying beautiful type online
  • Type Worship: inspirational typography and beautiful lettering collected by 8 Faces Magazine

Brand identity

  • Brand New: brand identity case studies
  • BP & O: killer packaging and brand design gallery

Marketing & advertising

  • Which Test Won: a digital marketing mainstay, this site provides a weekly mini-case study on A/B testing results
  • AdFreak: stay on top of what’s on the pulse in advertising without actually sitting through commercials or turning off Adblock

Print, layout, packaging, art direction

  • FPO: print design case studies
  • Art of the Menu: restaurant-specific print menu design case studies
  • Grafik: cutting-edge and old school fringe aesthetic case studies
  • Trendlist: graphic design trends for the designer’s designer
  • Designspiration: the Pinterest of photography, print design, and cool stuff (like ffffound for the 2010s)
  • From Up North: a little clickbait-y, but their mega-posts are good to scroll through for gathering moodboard assets
  • Mind Sparkle Mag: print, brand, interior, industrial design features
  • Grain Edit: features on mid-century (50s-70s) design and contemporary designers of that style

Art, illustration, photography, design

  • It’s Nice That: UK-based features on creative inspiration worldwide
  • Boooooooom: art, illustration, design, and photography interviews and features
  • Ignant: established creatives and emerging talents of all disciplines are featured on this German blog
  • Juxtapoz Magazine: the classic street art & more print magazine keeps their site updated with exclusives everyday

Illustration and art

  • Jacky Winter: illustration collective
  • Ape on the Moon: showcasing work from illustrators and animators at the top of their game
  • ArtStation: while this stuff usually won’t be applicable to your design work, this concept art portfolio community is beautiful to behold

Motion