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The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application by Cameron Chapman

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Chapter 3: Website Designs

Drawing inspiration from the website designs of others is probably one of the easiest places to start. But with the hundreds of millions of websites out there, it can quickly get overwhelming when trying to find specific examples of certain kinds of sites.

There are three basic ways to look for inspiring websites. You can look by style (such as grunge, minimalist, or colorful). You can look by type (blog, portfolio, e-commerce, and so on). Or you can look by industry (like hospitality, fashion, or technology).

If you or your client already has an idea of how you want the site to look, searching for sites by style makes the most sense. If you’re unsure of the look and feel of the site, try looking by the type of site or by the industry of the company for ideas. Checking out other sites in the same industry can be particularly useful in figuring out what kinds of content are usually included on a site, as well as what visitors are likely to expect and what the industry norms are.

Drawing Inspiration from Website Styles

There are dozens of website styles out there, and they fall in and out of favor on a regular basis. But there are a handful of broad styles that seem to stay pretty consistently popular, regardless of current trends—minimal and clean sites; grunge and retro sites; bright and colorful sites; and organic and handmade-style sites.

Each style can be adapted to fit a wide variety of sites. There’s often some overlap, too, with sites that ...

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