30 Dark Designs You Should’ve Seen


Dark designs can be really stunning. I mean, really. In Web 2.0 designers try to do their best to impress their visitors and in many cases they definitely succeed in doing so.

As a second (out of five) part of our 50 Beautiful CSS-Based Web-Designs in 20061 collection we’d like to present some stunning, but rather unknown dark designs, which you really should have seen if your aim is to develop web-sites in the modern “Look & Feel”-style. Links checked: June/15 2008 – 5 Designs deleted.

























  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006/12/19/50-beautiful-css-based-web-designs-in-2006/
  2. 2 http://www.designbyfront.com/
  3. 3 http://www.larissameek.com/
  4. 4 http://snagt.net/
  5. 5 http://www.justinshattuck.com/
  6. 6 http://www.glingglo.net/
  7. 7 http://www.brokenkode.com/
  8. 8 http://www.johndahlback.com/
  9. 9 http://fusionfox.com/
  10. 10 http://sercotransarctic.com/
  11. 11 http://www.lodowski.eu/
  12. 12 http://www.soulshaker.co.uk/
  13. 13 http://www.merix.com.pl/
  14. 14 http://coda.co.za/
  15. 15 http://ebonmusic.com/
  16. 16 http://www.vlp2005.com.ar/futbol7/
  17. 17 http://www.dacreate.co.uk/
  18. 18 http://www.magnitude.co.uk/
  19. 19 http://www.zindustry.com/
  20. 20 http://www.badboy.ro/
  21. 21 http://www.cviscusi.com/
  22. 22 http://prblogger.com/
  23. 23 http://www.deardorffinc.com/
  24. 24 http://www.sato-krefeld.de/
  25. 25 http://www.baranda-tequila.com/welcome.html
  26. 26 http://www.backbeatmedia.com/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Great collection, each single site is worth to enumerated here! In my point of view, maybe only http://www.mein-brandenburg.com is missing. Thanks for providing such inspirations.

  2. 2

    Great post, All the designs are inspirational layouts!

  3. 3

    Thanks for your kind opinion about my work ;)
    It’s a real pleasure of mine to be the one of this 50’s

    Best wishes

  4. 4

    Undeniably beautiful designs, but dark websites remain in the realm of web designers rather than web content publishers.

    I’ve seen people try to use dark designs for content-heavy websites, I’ve tried it too, and it just doesn’t work as well as a light design would.

    For design sites though, stunning.

  5. 5

    Dan: It depends on kind of project…
    In general – You’re right, but in special cases the dark design is more emphatic, sophisticated, full of feeling and emotions, ie. night club or parties sites, linigerie sites, some events, occasions and many more…, they’re also commercial but in specific way of feeling

  6. 6

    Awesome collection! Inspiring no doubt :)

  7. 7

    Is it only me who finds these desings incredbily boring, uninspired and are simply joining in on the Web 2.0 Circle-Jerk? Very few of these break any mold and simply play into todays repetitive trends?

  8. 8

    Great article. Nice way to get inspiration.

  9. 9

    I’m still not sure I like dark designs. Some of those do look rather good, but to me traditionally I’ve never thought dark designs look professional.

  10. 10

    “Otherwise we’ll break this series of articles and will offer you another content.”

    Nothing like a threat to make me want to bookmark you.

  11. 11

    This will all end with crying

  12. 12


    January 14, 2007 5:56 am

    Dark design just looks great if you know how to handle bright text colors on gloomy backgrounds. Your first option should be using white for the continuous text.

    “Dark pages” have an elegant and classic look if they are done the right way. Indeed, it’s more difficult to create a working “dark” page instead of creating a white one.

    Photos or pictures are working very well on a black background. The colors, the brightness and the contrast of the photo seem to be much “sharper” in contrast to placing pictures on bright backgrounds.

    On the other hand i just read (sorry don’t know the source anymore) that text written on bright backgrounds would be approx. 30% faster to read. Greetings, Dan.

  13. 13

    Milosz & danofthenorthstar, thanks for the insight.

    I may simply be stuck in the mindset of “dark text on a light background = professional publisher” if some people can make it work well the other way round. Personal preference probably plays a part in how I see sites.

    I agree party and special occasion sites are exactly the sort of sites that would suit a dark design.

  14. 14

    One thing I’ve noticed from dark sites is that after you’ve been reading one for a while and then look away from the monitor you see lines before your eyes – now that’s disturbing

    But I do like dark sites! They always manage to look cool, and the ones above are definately some very cool looking sites. Nice list.

  15. 15

    Dark sites are very easy on the eyes.

    I wish more sites used darker themes

  16. 16

    Really good examples.

    It shows that we didn’t need to use “light” colors to have a great design; different from that “design pattern” that we have today.

    Great sites!

  17. 17

    THIS LIST MADE MY DAY! Love dark sites, LOVE.

  18. 18

    Thanks for the inclusion of my site, guys… I’m truly honoured!

    Lots of really great sites in that list, many of which I’m jealous of myself – especially Snagt as Ive never seen it before

  19. 19

    Thanks to talk about us!!! Our bandwidth crashed, but all it’s ok today. Good luck!

  20. 20

    A great list. Rusty Lime should have been in there as well: http://www.rustylime.com

  21. 21

    I want a dark design too.But my blog doesnt fit.If i ever start a personal blog.I will come back to you

  22. 22

    Another great one! Thanks Guys

  23. 23

    That is a really nice list of websites. Beautiful design & inspiration!

    Thanks :)

  24. 24

    I like all the templates. It shows that always light colors are not good. Dark colors can also make the great designs.

  25. 25

    hmm.. i guess i need to redesign my blog to enter the next selection!

  26. 26

    Lelia Katherine Thomas

    January 18, 2007 3:09 pm

    I think EbonMusic does the best job with lighting; they never seem to over-contrast or under-contrast. All of these are great designs, though, I feel. :)

  27. 27

    I am impressed by Larissa Meek. Her work is fantastic!

  28. 28

    No No No No Nooooooooo!

    Darn. Now I have to lock myself in a room for at least a week to learn all the neat tricks myself…

    That’s really incredible work, thank you!

  29. 29

    great selection of dark design. Is there a section with design divided by color?

  30. 30

    silver_fox Thank you for showing an intrest in my site. If you don’t mind me asking. Where did you hear about my site? Enjoy.

    J.A. Catero

  31. 31

    Great collection. I just launched http://www.radiodetox.com, which has a pretty simple interface with black, red, gray, and white. Check it out.

  32. 32

    Very goof and interesting !!!

    I have one more link to this post (Dark Design) harddays.net

    This is site about underground music in Uzbekistan.

  33. 33

    On a dk background there are no white tints (prbloger.com and cviscusi.com)
    And generally – very much inspired works of art!

  34. 34

    Yea styles are much easier to make these days and with so many templates out there even web site designers who are starting out can make a site looks great in a matter of minutes.

  35. 35

    You can’t download it, it’s the work of others. Please appreciate

    Btw nice post, there are a lot of dark designs incorporating black and blue color scheme. I didn’t see much of black and orange though although it’s my fave color sheme :P

  36. 36


    Thanks for your kind opinion about my work ;)
    It’s a real pleasure of mine to be the one of this 50’s

  37. 37

    thanks a lot! I’m just about to redesign my site and looking into the darker side. :)

  38. 38

    Dahlbäck is the best!

  39. 39

    I prefer light designs. I don’t like dark.

  40. 40

    Dark designs are OK but the problem is with advertisers – according to my past and present experience they do not trust to advertise on dark web pages because it gives them sort of “underground” or maybe “something illegal” feeling. And naturally they don’t want their company to be connected in anything “illegal” …

  41. 41

    Hello all! I just LOVE Smashingmagazine, I am knew in the business…My website is on tailor made luxury travel, it is simple, home made, nothing of flash, because I still don’t know how to use it…But I like the idea that websites are also for grannies not only for grandsons, so no plu-ins required! All my love! Stucky

  42. 42

    best dark site I’ve seen that is extraordinarily elegant with thoughtful and intelligent posts is

    (Essentials for the Cocktail Swilling Savant)

  43. 43

    Great List.

    Our site is dark if you want to take a gander.

  44. 44

    im looking for a dark design for my own site, its like froggy and pond related – these give some great tips thanks alot.

  45. 45

    Why won’t you people learn??

    white text on a black background hurts the eyes.

    I simply close ANY website that uses this style

  46. 46

    Ohh la la – love the creativity.. some of the designs are very chic and pop-culturish :)


  47. 47

    Great graphical black theme!
    But, I still hesitate to change the Black-LG theme used for my blog :-)

  48. 48

    These are very fresh layouts. They are highly inspirational.

  49. 49

    This is Superb Collection. mine too is on black :)

  50. 50

    Someone say dark background is very relax for eyes.

  51. 51

    Dark sites are very easy on the eyes.

  52. 52

    Great list!
    I’d like to add my dark website design to the list: http://www.brianwebdesign.com

  53. 53

    Dark design are mostly made to gives the feeling of perspective and depth.
    Bright colors are well combined with black contrasts for all web layout especially powerful colors like red or orange. I used black color background for a painting website last time. You can see my portfolio here: website1service.com

  54. 54

    very nice

  55. 55

    I like the dark web designs but have gone for a lighter design myself but I am thinking of doing a re-design.
    100 years ago a French priest embedded clues in his church leading to a secret location.
    Those clues have been solved.
    That location has been found.
    The SECRET is revealed!

    Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar

  56. 56

    i like mostely all those dark designs ( also have it in my room at home).most i love that viscusi`s page.its awesome-this mixture from dark,impressive and romatic but also elements from clean-chic.wonderful and very inspiring!

  57. 57

    Dark design with black/orange color scheme.

  58. 58


  59. 59

    I think our website has a “Dark design you should see”: AdWorks Webdesign :)
    Hope you don’t consider this advertising, it really is a great dark design!

  60. 60

    Hi. Good site.

  61. 61

    Nice post, im not into dark templates but it sure looks good.

  62. 62

    these themes are beautiful, are any of them available as wordpress theme downloads?

  63. 63

    All designs are very nice, but dark design is not corporate and professional, these design is like night club or party…

  64. 64

    thanks,I really agrree with these points,I also will try these points in the designs for my site and my clients’ site.

  65. 65

    thanks,great works,I like somethings of them,I will study them.

  66. 66

    Not really feeling any of those designs. Maybe I’m prejudice to the darker layouts, but I really do find them hard to read. They just come off uninviting and unbalanced. I feel the same way in print. And it’s not just about ink waste, although, that’s a big gripe for me, as well.

    I had to laugh, too, because the first website that I thought was half-decent was the http://www.snagt.com link up top (3rd one down), and the site is now on a white background and much brighter. Much better IMHO. And yes, I realize this post is from 2007. In fact, a lot of those sites have “new portfolio coming soon!” messages, which makes me wonder if they’ve finally gotten bored of being in the dark.

    Be wary of the dark side… :}

  67. 67

    All designs are very nice.

  68. 68

    Hello guys,

    I would like to suggest that one which is minimalist and really nice too.

    What do you think?

    Thank you,

  69. 69

    Dark’s Themes Are Elegant, Professional & Mystery..

    I love the dark style, and i really like your collections.. But there’s still much more out there.. hope can get more about darker themes…

  70. 70

    Behind The Web Design

    November 27, 2009 1:06 am

    Hi !

    Thank for this selection. I like Dark Designs.
    What do you think about mine ?

  71. 71

    A very nice and interesting collection of dark websites, thanks!
    Oh, and you for got this one gauntler.com :)

  72. 72

    I love this one

  73. 73

    Impressive. Particularly like Soulshaker(including the music), Lowdoski.EU, Viscusy and Sato.

  74. 74

    Great inspiring post. Here’s another good one:


  75. 75

    Vishakan Dinesh

    July 3, 2010 1:13 am

    This is a great collection. My own site is a dark design too. Check it out.

  76. 76

    WOW grates pages I also saw good “dark” site infinitebattle.com

  77. 77

    Good selection !
    Take a look on this Fresh collection of Amazing Dark Websites here

  78. 78

    Awesome dark designs are here.I think choosing color scheme in your web design is very important step.The use of dark color in web design centers the attention towards the content,making it an effective theme for portfolios,image galleries,and design centered sites.Thanks for sharing such a good post.



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