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When you hear the phrase “creative website design” what do you envision? A website created using perfect typography and color schemes? Perhaps a minimalist wonder or striking imagery spring to mind?
They’re all creative web designs, in truth, but what are the principles and ideas that make them so? Is it the art? Is it the color? Is it the layouts? It’s a bit of everything, and making your own creative website will require you to gather design inspiration and mix together what catches your imagination.
At the least, you should be able to identify what makes the good sites so good, so let’s begin.
Elements of creative websites
The most creative website designs have something in common. They base themselves on the fundamentals of good graphic design know-how. This means working with elements like:
Any two connected points. Lines can divide a space or draw attention to certain elements on a page.
A two (or three) dimensional area that segregates itself from the surrounding space. This is often done by means of a boundary, created by lines. You can also create shapes with variances in color, texture, or value.
Hues, shades, tints, and the like. Color is how we see the world. Used properly, you can use it to create order or chaos.
This is the area in which designers work. Space can be positive, meaning something is filling it, or negative, when it is blank. Knowing what parts of the layout to leave alone and which to work in is a hallmark of creative websites.
The way something feels. In visual design, it is the way something appears to feel. Designers can create the illusion of texture with all manner of visual trickery.
The written words and their appearance. Different typefaces, or fonts, can evoke different feelings.
Designers balance these elements with tried-and-true concepts like:
A sense of unity or agreement between the elements of a design.
The “state of equalized tension.” Balanced designs aren’t always symmetrical. They can be chaotic in a way that draws attention to one element and away from another.
An order of significance. Some elements should command more attention than others.
Finally, they combine all of the above with the latest trends in web design. These are features like:
10. The vertical scroll
A storytelling mechanism that puts a significant amount of content on one page. Visitors scroll through the information, taking in bits at a time, like a story. Very useful for sites that users will access on mobile devices. Designers have found the long scroll works well on PCs too.
11. Flat design & material design
Flat design is the concept of stripping all visuals down to a very basic level. A “flat” kind of imagery that loads quickly and looks great on all devices. No textures, no shadows, nothing that will compromise the “essence” of a particular element.
Material design is an attempt to reintegrate some of those basic print elements. You might mistake it for flat design at first glance, but it’s a different beast. It allows for stylistic choices beyond the threadbare essentials flat design enforces.
Many creative websites make use of one of the two options. Expect to see plenty of both when perusing through the best of the best.
12. Card layouts
Bye-bye, tables. Move over, tiles. Card layouts have hit the scene in a big way. Taking cues from Pinterest, cards mimic the app’s standout feature and add some depth. They are interactive. They support hover effects. They turn imagery into a more integral website feature than ever before.
13. Hero images
Hero images are the big banner images you see when you first load a website.
They are compelling and draw the visitor right into the storyline the designer has laid out. This makes them an excellent complement to another crucial design element…
14. Dynamic storytelling
The work of a masterful designer. This is a tale woven with a combination of graphics and clever text. It’s a feature that works best in the digital sphere, as designers have come to learn.
Not all supposedly creative website ideas are award winners, though. There are some trends designers don’t agree work. Stuff like:
15. Hamburger menus
Those three lines that you intuitively know will expose a site’s options. The argument has swayed from favoring these features to disparaging them. Many designers feel that the hamburger menu is cliche, and slows visitors down but they can be useful to display a list of important pages on your website.
There’s an argument that carousels are useful. Some think it adds visual interest and keeps the site clean. Others feel it makes a site’s content hard to access. Detractors also note that Carousels drag down SEO and site performance.
18. Load screens
Even the most impressively executed load screens have no place on creative websites. The design should focus on making the user’s experience as simple as possible. Confusing them with a tedious load screen runs counter to this goal.
Example of the best creative website designs
Which sites pull it off the best? We mentioned several already, but there’s room for one more SOTD (Site of the day):
Believe it or not, the rap star has one of the best website designs for an artist around. It’s stylistic without generating too much clutter. The pertinent info is upfront, and navigation is a cinch. Kudos, it makes him look good outside of the studio too! The designer deserves an award: visit website.
Website design conclusion
There are plenty of great websites on the net to inspire you. When creating yours, make sure to respect the rules that have guided designers for years. Make your site clean, make navigation enjoyable for users, and make sure it draws in your visitors! And if you really want to stay current on web design, consider a visit to the Awwwards: