Design Inspiration Toolbox: 100 Sources of Design Inspiration

by Steven Snell

December 12, 2013 in Inspiration

Web and graphic designers are always looking for excellent sources of inspiration. Of course, web design and CSS galleries are common sources, but there are countless websites that provide inspiration from other types of design. In this post you’ll find categories such as product design, architecture, fashion, illustration, logo design, typography, motion graphics, and more.

With a list of this size I’m sure you’ll find some new sources of inspiration that you weren’t previously familiar with. Of course, no one can keep up with all of these choices, so find the ones that work best for you and keep the others bookmarked for the future.

Web Design Galleries:

Most readers of this blog are well aware of design and CSS galleries,so rather than listing 100 of them, I’ll point out a few of my favorites and some that I think are unique in one way or another.

Pattern Tap

An awesome source of inspiration that categorizes the featured sites by the type of inspiration, such as comment design, 404 pages, e-commerce websites, login forms, and much more. The categorization makes the site unique and immensely useful.

design inspiration

Best Web Gallery

Quality over quantity. Nick La’s Gallery is the highest quality, in my opinion. New sites are featured regularly, although there are not as many sites posted as compared to many other galleries.

design inspiration

CSS Mania

Quantity over quality. CSS Mania features several new sites each day, although some of the sites featured are not as high quality as others. It’s a great place to go if you want to find lots of sites to look at.

design inspiration

We Love WP

We Love WP is a showcase of websites and blogs powered by WordPress.

design inspiration

Design Snips

Showcasing snippets of great design, Design Snips is similar to Pattern Tap with it’s categorization. Some of the categories include banners, buttons, backgrounds, etc.

design inspiration gallery snips

FWA

Inspiration from flash-based sites. A new site is posted each day.

design inspiration

Most Inspired

If you’re looking to save some time browsing various galleries, Most Inspired is an aggregator that showcases the sites featured in many different galleries.

design inspiration

Designflood

A web design gallery with a different feel.

design inspiration

Image/Photo Sharing and Bookmarking:

Sharing and bookmarking images is a great way to keep track of your favorite inspirational sources, and you can also browse through the items uploaded or bookmarked by other users.

FFFFOUND!

An invitation-only image bookmarking service. The images bookmarked by users are showcased for the inspiration of the rest of us.

design inspiration

We Heart It

design inspiration

FreshBump

design inspiration

Vi.sualize.us

design inspiration

Statigram

design inspiration

Design You Trust

Design Your Trust is not exactly like the other sites featured in this section, but it’s a site/blog where users can register and share images.

design inspiration

Flickr

design inspiration

Excellent Flickr groups for inspiration:

Graphic Design Showcases:

The sites listed in this category are all a little bit different from one another, but each one provides inspirational pieces of graphic design in various forms.

Muse

design inspiration

Dribbble

design inspiration

Coolshowcase

design inspiration

Mr CUP

design inspiration

AisleOne

Graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism.

design inspiration

Blood Sweat Vector

Featuring vector art from a variety of different designers.

design inspiration

Design in Europe

design inspiration

Portfolios:

There are a number of different websites where you can post your own design portfolio to be shared with other users. Of course, all of these portfolios also serve as excellent sources of design inspiration.

Behance Network

design inspiration

Carbonmade

design inspiration

deviantART

design inspiration

Coroflot

design inspiration

Design:Related

design inspiration

Dunked

design inspiration

Creative Hotlist

design inspiration

CG Society

design inspiration

Virb

design inspiration

Shown’d

design inspiration

Publications:

Galleries at SPD.org

The galleries at SPD.org showcase award winning designs.

design inspiration

PDF Mags

A huge collection of free PDF magazines.

design inspiration

LayerVault News

design inspiration

Advertising Inspiration:

Ads can often be an excellent source of inspiration. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much in this area, so if you know of other sites please share in the comments.

Ads of the World

design inspiration

Typography:

Typography is an important part of many different kinds of design. These sites showcase exceptional examples of typography that can inspire you in your own work.

Typography Served

From the Behance Network.

Typesites

A niche web design gallery that focuses on sites with outstanding typography.

design inspiration

Product Design:

Product design from around the world can be both inspirational and amusing. Product design can be one of the most creative fields of design.

The Dieline

One of the best sources of product design inspiration with frequent posts.

design inspiration

NOTCOT

From the NOTEMPIRE.

design inspiration

NOTCOT.org

Also from the NOTEMPIRE.

design inspiration

Liqurious

Design in drinks.

design inspiration

Design Sponge

Home and product design.

design inspiration

We Heart Stuff

The latest products and trends.

design inspiration

Off the Shelf

A small gallery of Japanese product design.

design inspiration

Motion Graphics:

Warning: You may find yourself spending a lot of time watching these.

Motion Graphics Served

From the Behance Network.

design inspiration

Motionspire

design inspiration

Logo Design:

Logo designers have a number of sites specifically dedicated to logo design inspiration.

LogoPond

design inspiration

Logo of the Day

design inspiration

Logo Faves

design inspiration

LogoSauce

design inspiration

Brand New

design inspiration

LogoLounge

design inspiration

Illustration:

Illustration is a favorite of many designers and artists. These five sites specialize in showcasing excellent works of illustration.

Illustration Served

design inspiration

IllustratorWorld

design inspiration

Illustration Web

design inspiration

LCS

design inspiration

Everyday Love

design inspiration

Multi-Purpose Galleries:

The sites listed in this category are galleries that showcase more than just one type of design.

Creattica

design inspiration

The Design Inspiration

design inspiration

Pinterest

design inspiration

Posters and Album Covers:

The music and movie industry provide plenty of design inspiration in terms of posters and album covers.

Gig Posters

The best site for finding gig posters from bands of all kinds.

design inspiration

Sleevage

A gallery of album covers.

design inspiration

Movie Post Addict

Movie posters of all kinds.

design inspiration

IMP Awards

Regular postings of movie posters.

design inspiration

Book Design:

Books design gets less attention than many other types of design, but can be equally inspirational.

The Book Design Review

A blog focusing on book design.

design inspiration

CoverBoom

“Judging books by their covers.”

design inspiration

Architecture and Interior/Home Design:

There are a number of sites that provide great inspiration from architecture and interior design. These are the best that I found, although I can’t claim to be very familiar with any of them.

CoolBoom

design inspiration

Desire to Inspire

design inspiration

Materialicious

design inspiration

Houzz

interior home design photos gallery

Freshome

design inspiration

Arch Daily

design inspiration

MoCo Loco

design inspiration

Design Happens

design inspiration

Elements of Style

design inspiration

From Europe

design inspiration

Fashion:

There are probably many other excellent websites for fashion design inspiration, it’s just not an area of design that I’m very familiar with.

Fashion Served

From the Behance Network.

design inspiration

Kineda

Fashion and a lot more.

design inspiration

NOTCOUTURE

From the NOTEMPIRE.

design inspiration

Industrial Design:

If you’re looking for design inspiration but tired of browsing through web design galleries, industrial design can be another excellent source.

Industrial Design Served

From the Behance Network.

Yanko Design

Tons and tons of inspiration in the archives of this Technorati Top 100 blog.

design inspiration

Art:

The sites listed in this section display different types of artwork and/or photography.

Click for Art

Click for Art is an art marketplace. You don’t have to buy anything to be inspired by the work that’s available here.

design inspiration

depthCORE

Different chapters are posted every few months that feature work from various artists.

design inspiration

Photography Served

From the Behance Network.

design inspiration

Gods of Art

design inspiration

Booooooom

design inspiration

Various:

These sites are difficult to categorize, in most cases because they provide inspiration that could fit into multiple categories.

Design Milk

Art, architecture, furniture, technology, and more.

design inspiration

Net Diver

Illustration, photography, industrial design, and more.

design inspiration

NewWebPick

Art, animation, illustration, advertising, architecture, and more.

design inspiration

FormFiftyFive

Photography, graphic art, illustration, print design, and more.

design inspiration

Black.White.Bliss

Black and white design of all kinds.

design inspiration

CubeMe

Architecture, art, fashion, and more.

design inspiration

Design is Kinky

Photography, graphic design, and more.

design inspiration

QBN

A wide variety of all things creative.

design inspiration

Fubiz

Photography, graphic design, technology, and more.

design inspiration

A Cup of Jo

Art, photography, and fashion.

design inspiration

Cool Hunting

Art, design, culture, and technology.

design inspiration

Toxel

Design and technology.

design inspiration

What are your favorite sources of design inspiration?

I know everyone has their own favorites, see feel free to list yours in the comments.

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Steve Robillard

    Jan 13th

    I collect screenshots of inspirational web designs in my flickr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/sr-ps. I will often direct clients to it to get a feel for mood and styles that resonate with them, and the message they convey.

  • Sabine

    Jan 13th

    Wow, this list is just great! You can completely forget the time when you start to browse. Thank you for sharing!

    I just launched a blog at http://patterrific.com.
    Patterrific provides free seamless repeat patterns in both vector and pixel format to designers around the world. As it’s new it’s still small but I try to post new patterns and resources each day. Just have a look, maybe you find something interesting for you.

  • Travis

    Jan 13th

    Fantastic list! For the advertising category, I’d add The Ad Feed = http://www.theadfeed.com, and not just because it’s my site :)

  • Soh

    Jan 13th

    Holy cow this is an amazing list!!!

  • Dainis Graveris

    Jan 13th

    Wow, gr8t list, only one thing..I could wish – if the list could be categorized..like Web design inspiration, graphic design inspiration..typography. I appreciate You doing this huge job, just one thing…then I would be really happy.

    However, almost every article You do is worth bookmarking! :)

  • Jade Cadelina

    Jan 13th

    Very inspiring.. Thank you for the list! :)

  • Dzineblog

    Jan 13th

    One word!! amazing

    Fantastic Resource Steven

  • Yael Reinhardt-Matsliah

    Jan 13th

    This is a fantastic list! Thanks for such a great design inspiration list.

  • Steven Snell

    Jan 13th

    Dainis, it is categorized.

  • Steven Snell

    Jan 13th

    Travis,
    Thanks for the additional advertising resource.

  • Zach Heller

    Jan 13th

    I love this list. It will be a great resource for me for a long time. Thank you.

  • Mya

    Jan 13th

    Great list! Another great website for design/fashion inspiration is http://www.iheartluxe.com

  • Steven Snell

    Jan 13th

    Mya,
    Ahh, I Heart Luxe. I’m familiar with that site but obviously forgot it. Thanks.

  • joanna goddard

    Jan 14th

    thank you so much! xo

  • Dainis Graveris

    Jan 14th

    oh, at first I didn’t saw headers, silly me – I am sorry.

  • Krassy

    Jan 14th

    Great list! Thank you!

    Another inspiration site to consider adding to the list is FAIRspot.com:

    http://www.fairspot.com

  • Peter Wellington

    Jan 15th

    Another logo design inspiration website is http://www.logomoose.com

  • Brad Mahaffey

    Jan 15th

    Awesome post Steven, really expansive list. Thanks for including Blood Sweat Vector =)

  • Designer

    Jan 21st

    thanks for the great list

  • Li Ly

    Jan 30th

    Great list! I also like this gallery CSS Design Awards Gallery

  • john milton

    Feb 4th

    Great list, thanks.
    Could be used as reference for many upcoming design agency and also who are aspiring to become web designer.

  • DangerMouse

    Feb 9th

    I’m sorry but these posts are really lame and add little value … where’s the reviews of these services? Even a description would be nice.

  • Steven Snell

    Feb 9th

    DangerMouse,
    No need to be sorry. I know not everyone will like anything that’s published regardless of what it is. Many of the items do have descriptions and they are all categorized, so it should be pretty self-explanatory what they are. They’re not services.

  • Prince Pal

    Feb 15th

    awesome collection… simply ‘zen’ of design inspiration :)

  • gina michel

    May 9th

    Hey , you have a very good blog, its excellent information in its field. You have done a great job, keep doing it for to help, people like Myself.

  • Vintage movie posters

    May 21st

    Awesome design! Hurray for graphic designers, It makes me want to have a site redesign now.

  • Dominik

    Jun 11th

    another one cssarena.de

  • araya

    Jul 2nd

    Thank you for information

  • Suchmaschinenoptimierung Stuttgart

    Jul 16th

    Nice collection, thank u for that!

  • jay@ work at home

    Aug 2nd

    The PDF magazines are brilliant! Thanks for such a wonderful list. I have a few of design of my own. I hope I be in that list someday.

  • wrought iron furniture

    Aug 12th

    Thanks for the great inspiration sources!

  • ESD

    Aug 29th

    is there cssmania the oldest of the all, I find the most beautiful, are the only other clones

  • Web Development India

    Sep 12th

    These 100 sources are very useful.
    WE can use in our development.

  • Daniel

    Oct 4th

    Many are down quite a long time ago, but it is a good collection

  • linko

    Oct 8th

    Great and very inspiring collection…also recommend a logo design gallery http://www.logotalkz.com
    Thanks !

  • Kate

    Oct 9th

    I liked Liqurious.com :)
    I’ll go through all collection step by step

  • Franco

    Oct 22nd

    Hi!, thanks for putting togheter this awesome list, very good source of inspiration

  • Manhattan

    Feb 24th

    This is too much to go over in one day. I’ll bookmark this and look at one a day.

  • Origin Ideas

    Mar 13th

    don’t miss http://originideas.com too, it updates daily :)

  • hermes kelly bag

    Jul 8th

    Could be used as reference for many upcoming design agency and also who are aspiring to become web designer.

  • lv

    Aug 9th

    good

  • Industrial Design

    Aug 26th

    Nice list, some of those websites are my daily inspirations

  • Elke Declue

    Oct 17th

    have been following your blog for 3 days. really like what you posted. by the way i am doing a report concerning this topic. do you know other good sites or perhaps forums that I might get more? thanks in advance.

  • Reply SMS Hindi

    Nov 29th

    I bump yesterday to a comment design, designyourway you can add that, it’s really nice. It was actually the first comment design I saw before visiting you blog.

  • Anjelica Varnedoe

    Jan 10th

    Hey, I attempted to email you pertaining to this submit but aren?t able to reach you. Please e-mail me when get a moment. Thanks.

  • yagnesh ahir

    Apr 23rd

    Truly helpful and resource-full top 100 sources! Entire design related sources in just one link, truly amazing. Keep up the good work.

  • miss facebook

    May 19th

    I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • Paul @ IC

    May 25th

    What a great list! That’s going to take some working through, definitely bookmarking it. thanks :)

  • Sivakumar

    Jun 3rd

    What a great and long list but you forget Abduzeedo and Pokkisam blog

  • Web Design Gallery

    Jun 23rd

    Great list, but there are many more good resources.

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