If you’re a web designer, you probably already know that inspiration is crucial to creating visually stunning and functional websites. Seeking inspiration can help you gain knowledge, unleash your creativity, save time, and provide value for your end user.
Pearlfisher combines beautiful visuals with clear calls to action on their homepage to grab visitors’ attention. They also include interactive sections that teach users about their services.
1. Take a Look at Your Competitors
If you’re stuck in a design rut, taking a look at your competitors can be a great way to discover new ideas. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that great design aims to serve a purpose and solve problems. That’s why it’s critical to take a step back and analyze what your competitors are doing—not just how their designs look, but how their designs function.
For example, you may want to consider how a competitor uses color or typography to create a sense of brand identity. Or, you may want to examine a competitor’s layout and organization. Then, you can start to think about how you could apply these principles to your own site.
Taking a look at your competitors can also help you understand the market you’re in. For example, you might find out how much of your market a competitor serves or what types of products or services they offer. This can be helpful when creating a marketing strategy for your own business.
Another thing to consider is how your competitors are reaching their audience. For example, you might want to see how a competitor is advertising their product or service—and what types of social media platforms they’re using to reach their target audience.
You can also take a look at a competitor’s website to see what type of content they’re publishing and what sort of engagement they’re getting from their audience. This can give you an idea of what kind of content to publish on your own site.
Lastly, you can also use tools like Built With to uncover what software your competitors are using to build their websites. This can be a great way to see what kinds of trends are emerging in the web design world—and how you might be able to incorporate them into your own design.
One of the best places to go for inspiration is a website that curates web design work, called siteInspire. This website features a collection of beautiful websites that can inspire you in a variety of ways. You can search for sites by industry, design approach, and even CMS. You can also save sites you like and organize them for future reference on the site.
2. Take a Look at Your Audience
Ultimately, all good design is audience focused. Even the most cutting-edge new ideas will fall flat if they don’t appeal to the people who are going to use them. This is why it’s so important to take the time and effort to analyze your audience before committing to anything on your website.
As you look at your competitors, try to keep an open mind about what may work for them that might not work for you. For example, if all of your competition uses a certain color palette (usually blues and greens) that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. It just means you have an opportunity to stand out in a way that’s unique to your business.
You also want to pay attention to how your competitors are communicating with their audience. This will have an impact on the type of content and style of writing that is used on the site. For example, if the target audience is made up of people who are familiar with industry jargon, then using a lot of this language on the website may be acceptable. However, if the website is for general use, then too much jargon could confuse visitors and cause them to bounce away from the page.
Another great way to understand your audience is to take a step back from the website itself and view it as if you were the user. Try to imagine what they would see, what they would be looking for, and how they would navigate the site. This can give you insight about what is important to your audience and how you might communicate that with your design.
For example, if you notice that many of your competitors’ websites are featuring outdoor gear and playing up the sense of adventure, you might decide to accentuate that element on your own website in order to draw your audience in. Similarly, if you notice that your competitor’s use real photos of their products instead of stock images, you might consider implementing this on your own site to increase credibility and authenticity.
3. Look at Other Sites
One of the best ways to get new design ideas is to look at other sites. There are plenty of websites dedicated to showing off great designs, and many of them have filters that let you search for specific types of designs. These are good if you have a specific idea in mind that you want to find inspiration for.
For example, DesignSpiration is a website that features collections of designs in various categories like mobile, illustration, and branding. Users can browse through collections or create their own to save designs for future reference. The site also allows users to share their favorite designs with others.
Other sites, such as Behance, offer a wide range of creative projects from designers and other professionals in a variety of industries. These sites can give you a sense of what’s trending in the industry, and they may even inspire you to come up with your own unique style.
Using the web for inspiration is a great way to keep your design skills fresh and discover new ideas that you can use on your own website or for client projects. But, always remember that you shouldn’t copy any designs without permission, as it can lead to legal trouble. Instead, take what you like from other designs and tweak it to make it your own.
For example, Bite toothpaste uses a bold color palette and custom illustrations to add personality to its ecommerce website. This helps the website stand out from the competition and makes it more appealing to potential customers.
Another ecommerce design resource is Commerce Cream, which curates the best ecommerce designs and displays them in a gallery. This site allows users to sort through the designs by industry, type of product, and more to find the perfect inspiration for their own store.
Many of these websites provide detailed information about how the design was created, which is especially helpful if you’re looking for a specific type of feature or layout. For example, siteInspire allows you to filter for specific types of designs, such as “unorthodox navigation,” while also providing details about the design tools and frameworks used.
4. Take a Look at Offline Media
Although digital marketing is now a huge part of most companies’ strategies, offline tactics should not be overlooked. Offline media includes television, radio, newspaper ads, flyers/brochures, direct mail, door drops and more. When used correctly, these methods can be just as effective in delivering a message and tracking conversions.
Offline media works differently to online channels in that it subtly influences people’s behaviour and can have a lasting impact. In fact, many marketers have seen that offline marketing has a greater effect than online channels on brand recognition and recall. When used smartly, offline media can also work well in conjunction with online marketing to deliver a seamless customer journey.
When most people think of offline marketing they tend to think of traditional billboards or print advertising, but there are countless options for offline marketing. It all depends on your objectives and target audience. For example, if you want to build your local presence in your area then a billboard advert would be ideal. Alternatively, if you are looking to launch a new product then samples and leaflet distribution could be more appropriate.
Creative offline marketing ideas can really help you stand out from the crowd and drive customers to your website. It can be difficult to get attention in a world where people are being inundated with digital ads, but there are some excellent ways of grabbing the attention of your audience.
For example, to promote their new range of fitness watches, Fitbit launched a campaign in which commuters could save a dollar for their train tickets by doing 30 squats on the platform. The idea was simple, but it was an effective way of getting people talking about their product and generating engagement online.
Creative offline marketing can take many forms and it doesn’t always have to revolve around your end product. McDonald’s have been known for their Happy Meal boxes that include various toys, but they took things to the next level with their newest campaigns. They tapped into the popularity of the 2016 movie Deadpool and used their iconic 4th-wall-breaking irreverent tone in their offline advertising. The result was a series of campaigns that became instant viral sensations.