Whether you are a web-master, a business owner or even a designer you will need inspiration when creating a website.

It may be that you are creating the site yourself and are looking for web design inspiration or it may simply be that you are a small business owner looking for small business web design services, and need inspiration so that you can describe your ideal website look and feel to the service provider.

There are several ways in which you can search for web design inspiration. Some ways are obvious – looking at other websites for example, but there are also other less obvious ways as well as less obvious metrics that you should be judging other websites by when trying to find inspiration for your own.

In addition, its not just web design inspiration that you should be looking for, but also inspiration with regard to the layout, navigation and even the content on the website.

In reality you need inspiration for every aspect of your website as all of those different metrics (hundreds if not thousands) come together to give your viewers a sub-conscious impression of not only your site, but you business and the products and/or services that you are offering to them. As such, design in general is extremely important when designing a website and the decisions you make should be well thought out and justified.

Look for aesthetic inspiration

Before you even really start thinking about websites specifically, its important to think about what is pleasing to you aesthetically. Inspiration for aesthetic design, colors, shapes and their connotations can be taken from almost anywhere. Start training your mind to look out for inspiring colors, fonts, logos and other elements in your environment that are pleasing to your eye and that catch your attention. These sort of things are going to be important to have on your website.

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Looking at other websites

So here is the obvious one – look at other websites – in particular look at your competitors websites, other sites surrounding your niche and just websites in general. Make a note of things that you do and don’t like about those websites, how they make you feel, how easy they are to use and any other factors that come to mind. This list will then become the basis for your web design inspiration and for working out what you do and don’t want for your website.

Look for functional design

It is extremely important when looking at other sites for you to think about functionality. In other words, how easy is the site to use, what is the purpose of the various design elements on the page.

“Design should be driven by function, and when it’s not, the website will suffer.”

Marc Holt, spokesperson for a Minneapolis web design company.

This quote is very insightful and really sums up a crucial point – sure its great to have flashing images, colorful text and so on, but is that what your users want? Probably not. As such it is very important to design with your users in mind. The most important factor is that the website is easy to use, easy to understand and easy to navigate. Design should constantly reinforce these points.

Every element of the design in your website should be aiding the above statements and also be helping the user to have a great experience on your website.

This website is a great example of where design gets carried away with itself and becomes the opposite of functional – to the point where the design actually hinders the users experience.

Looking at web template sites

Website template sites such as Theme Forest are another great place to find inspiration – its a very easy way to browse through hundreds of different types of designs to see what layout would fit your content and portray the correct image to your visitors.

Modern web Design

Web design like any other area of design also follows periodic trends – the consensus on good design changes over time and it is important to appreciate the current trends in web design – its sort of like learning from everyone else in the industry as to what works and what doesn’t.

Aside from template sites, looking at other designers and their web design portfolios is another great way to not only gain your own inspiration but also discover what sort of designs are trendy at the moment.