Feb 29 2012

29 Absolute Go-Tos for Visual Inspiration

AbsoluteGoTos

29 Absolute Go-Tos for Visual Inspiration

The inspiration muse: it’s the core motivator that drives us from the start of a project and stays with us until the project’s completion. Whether it’s going out and finding the spark that will ignite your vision, or immersing yourself in a pool of inspiration and imagination, the world wide web is one of the best places to start your muse hunt. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite inspiration spots to help get your vision going for your next project.

General Visual Inspiration

Behance: http://www.behance.net/

As the web’s leading creative portfolio network, the Behance community showcases a great variety of inspiration from the world’s best creatives. With over 100 creative fields to browse through, Behance offers the ultimate one-stop site for an endless variety of inspiration.

DeviantArt: http://deviantart.com

For over a decade, DeviantArt has been one of the most popular creative communities around. Packed with easy-to-browse features, daily deviation highlights, and an extremely active community, DeviantArt offers a range of creative genres to browse through.

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/

Pinterest is a recently popular image collaging craze on the web and despite its invite policy, it’s is pretty much available for anyone who’s interested in joining. Its moodboard-like layout makes it easy to navigate various categories to find all sorts of inspiration.

Ffffound!: http://ffffound.com

Ffffound is unique in that it has a pretty different collection of cool, weird, and awesome images. Plus, you don’t need to register to enjoy the frequently updated list of images saved on this site.

Design Inspiration

Dribbble: http://dribbble.com

Dribbble is an awesome snapshot showcase of some of the best digital design on the web. It’s home to an all-star group of designer, ranging from leaders in today’s design world to outright spectacular up-and-coming designers. While the community is invite-only, anyone is free to spectate and take in the glorious inspiration and visual eye-candy.

From Up North: http://www.fromupnorth.com

If you just need an inspiration dump of recent and popular design-related things, check out From Up North. With daily updates on various categories, including photography, typography, illustration, and web design, you’ll be sure to easily find something to spark your imagination.

Graphic Exchange: http://graphic-exchange.com/home.html

Graphic Exchange has a great curated inspiration pool that reaches all types of design industries (including print, brand identity, web, phtoography, and packaging).

The Dieline: http://www.thedieline.com

A great package design inspiration source. Its updated daily with multiple feature product and package designs from professionals and students alike.

Designspiration: http://designspiration.net/

This site is a great place to find amazing design inspiration, and it also has a wonderful search feature where you can pick multiple colors and pull search results based on the color palette of your choice!

CSS Mania: http://www.cssmania.com/

This web design inspiration gallery is a good place to find the latest designs on the web today. It has some nifty category features to help find the type of design inspiration that you’re looking for.

Good.is Infographs: http://www.good.is/infographics

Good’s infographics are beautiful, detailed, and wonderful for all things data and infograph related. With an extensive range of information to visualize and feature, Good’s infograph’s are a great collection to reference when trying to figure out how to best design your next infograph.

The Best Designs: http://www.thebestdesigns.com/

Another great compilation of web designs that’s always fresh with new designs. It’s got a great selection of categories to look through making it easy and convenient when trying to find that right inspiration kind of inspiration aesthetic.

HUDs and GUis: http://hudsandguis.com/

As its name states, HUDS and GUIs features all things display and interface centric. Whether it’s from a movie reel or a mobile application, HUDs and GUIs is your go-to for bleeding edge technologies in the digital world.

Awwards: http://www.awwwards.com/

Awwwards is a coveted awards gallery that features winning website designs judged by a hand-picked jury of well-respected industry professionals. And while you’re checking out the winners gallery, take a look at their blog for even more design inspiration.

Minimal Sites: http://www.minimalsites.com/

Minimalism in web design is a beautiful thing when done right. Minimal Sites features this minimalist revival by showcasing websites that hold this theme near and dear. From simple and clean typography to subtle web layouts and structures, this place has some of the best minimalist examples out there.

The Red List: http://theredlist.fr/

Featuring fine arts, film, photography, graphic design, furniture design, architecture, set design, and fashion, the Red List has a great assortment of unique visual inspiration all compact into one place.

Friends of Type: http://friendsoftype.com/

 

Need typography inspiration? Friends of Type has a fully immersive, in-your-face layout that highlights typography inspiration for print, web, and more.

Media Queries: http://mediaqueri.es/

With the great push towards responsive, multi-screen design, it’s important for one to have a good reference source on how to creatively design sites for various screen resolutions and outputs. Media Queries is a gallery of responsive sites that use media queries to design layouts for multi-screen use.

Lost Type: http://losttype.com/browse/

Lost Type is a type foundry that does an exemplary job of showcasing how to use these fonts in design. So in addition to buying great fonts, you can browse the great display and graphical usage of fonts that Lost Type provides and get some quality typographic inspiration.

24 Ways: http://24ways.org/

Aside from the inspirational and awesome website layout of this site, 24 Ways offers articles with great design and structure tidbits for your next web project. There are tons of bits and pieces related to design, UI, UX, and code resources to draw inspiration from.

Illustration and CG Inspiration

Cool Vibe: http://coolvibe.com

Cool Vibe has a daily collection of digital art, 3D, and illustration inspiration. As a side goodie, it also frequently offers free high resolution wallpapers to download.

CGHub: http://cghub.com/

The industry’s best digital painters and CG artists network and showcase their work here. Consult the visual work here to get great inspiration on colors, contrast, composition, layouts and styles from the illustration industry’s best.

CG Society: http://portfolio.cgsociety.org/

CG Society holds high caliber and professional quality work from the best 2D and 3D artists around. There’s plenty of inspiration to draw from the constantly updated showcase that this community offers.

Photography Inspiration

500px: http://500px.com/popular

500px features breathtaking shots of beautiful photography from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking at the composition of a photograph or the incredible color palette that an image holds, take advantage of this fantastic gallery of photography.

1x: http://1x.com/

1x is another photography gallery filled with incredible shots and visual inspiration. Take a look around at the gallery at 1x or take advantage of the forums, tutorials, and critiques.

Flickr Explore: http://www.flickr.com/explore/

As one of the most popular photo networks on the web today, Flickr has a great source of photography inspiration backed by an enormous community to draw from. Oh, and if you need some stock photos or images for your next project, take a quick detour to the creative commons section of Flickr!

Architecture Inspiration

Archinect: www.archinect.com

Archinect is a great showcase and community for architects. It features a fresh group of recent architecture projects and designs from both professionals and students.

Mocoloco: www.mocoloco.com

Mocoloco provides a visual showcase of recent design, art, architecture, product design, and more. Play around with the site’s colorful navigation on the left and explore the multitude of visual categories that Mocoloco has to offer.

The Daily Tonic: http://www.dailytonic.com/

Featuring design and architecture, the daily tonic holds an excellent selection of recent professional work from these two industries.

So, are you feeling some inspiration yet? Have any visual inspiration sources that you love to visit? Let us know in the comments and we may feature it in future articles!

About the Author:

Jessica Moon is both the blog editor and a UX/UI designer at digital-telepathy, a user experience design studio that specializes in creating products like SlideDeck, Impress, and Flare. She has a passion for illustration and design, and enjoys blogging and tweeting about what she’s learned. You can also find her on Google+.

Leave a Response

4 Responses

  1. Mar 01 2012
    Raymond Lopez

    This is Great, looks like my inspiration folder under bookmarks :)

  2. Mar 01 2012
    DesignToads

    I love Dribbble and Awwwards. I try not to copy too much when i’m getting inspiration for my designs!

  3. Mar 02 2012
    Jamie

    I almost forgot about this one: http://www.polycount.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=42 Polycount’s WIP/Pimping forum has some cool in-progress 3D pieces that are always inspirational to me.