Inspiration Package: 60+ Usable & Elegant Designs

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We all love beautiful, usable and impressive web designs. To achieve them, web developers need to focus on many aspects, but basically it all boils down to the question, how well the content is presented and how easily the information can be perceived. Harmonic color schemes are as important as solid and consistent typography. Precise visual structure and intuitive navigation are essential for both usability and accessibility. In fact, mostly it’s a keen attention to small details which gives web-sites a profound and enduring nature.

We’ve selected some more of them. Over 60 elegant, usable and impressive designs with a well thought-out color scheme, typography and visual structure. Their beauty lies in the way the information is presented. Their usability lies in the way they communicate presented data. That’s what makes them different.

Next week we’ll present the .pdf-version of this showcase. You might be willing to check out further showcasese we’ve presented before – you’ll find the links at the bottom of the article.

Inspiration Package:
80+ Elegant and Usable Designs

1. 31Three2

Beautiful Designs - 31Three - The Design Studio of Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain3

2. North x East4

Beautiful Designs - 12 Ways to Turn a Boring Post into Pure Gold at Weekly Articles About Blogging - NxE5

3. Youtilize.com6

Beautiful Designs - Youtilize.com - technology, web development and entrepreneurship7

4. Oaktree Creative8

Beautiful Designs - Oaktree Creative: The pixels, prose and portfolio of Chuck Mallott9

5. CodeIgniter10

Beautiful Designs - CodeIgniter - Open source PHP web application framework11

6. WebRevolutionary12

Beautiful Designs - WebRevolutionary — The semi-coherent ramblings of a web addict.13

7. Pop Labs14

Beautiful Designs - Search Marketing and Social Media Consulting - Pop Labs - Pop Labs15

8. nPanorama.ru16

Beautiful Designs - 17

9. Creative Binge18

Beautiful Designs - Creative Binge - Online Creative Portfolios19

10. Designwise Studios20

Beautiful Designs - Designwise Studios ~ Accessible, Simple, and Elegant Web Solutions21

11. Mike McFarlane Landscape Photography22

Beautiful Designs - Welcome - Mike McFarlane Landscape Photography23

12. Pearsonified24

Beautiful Designs - Best Damn Blog on the Planet — Pearsonified25

13. BlogMinistry

Beautiful Designs - BlogMinistry

14. html life26

Beautiful Designs - html life27

15. Infected-FX28

Beautiful Designs - Infected-FX | tutoriales, photoshop brushes y recursos para diseñadores web29

16. Devlounge30

Beautiful Designs - Devlounge : A resource for designers and developers31

17. Putput Comunicacions32

Beautiful Designs - Putput Comunicacions33

18. Savana webhosting34

Beautiful Designs - Savana webhosting - levný hosting s pohodlnou administrací35

19. Infekta36

Beautiful Designs - Infekta - Home37

20. Stoodeo38

Beautiful Designs - Website Development Services - Stoodeo39

21. Microsoft Corporation40

Beautiful Designs - Microsoft Corporation41

22. Koder42

Beautiful Designs - Kodér - Domů | Vy designujete, my kódujeme do posledního detailu43

23. Tappity: Mobile Homepage44

Beautiful Designs - Tappity: Mobile Homepage45

24. WorkOne Central46

Beautiful Designs - WorkOne Central47

25. Rifidi | Software Defined RFID48

Beautiful Designs - Rifidi | Software Defined RFID49

26. Pixel House50

Beautiful Designs - Gold Coast Web Site Design - Pixel House51

27. ~ VEDA ~ Healthy Indian Takeout & Eatery52

Beautiful Designs - ~ VEDA ~ Healthy Indian Takeout & Eatery53

28. Gaby Lopez54

Beautiful Designs - Gaby Lopez55

29. Versions – Mac Subversion Client56

Beautiful Designs - Versions - Mac Subversion Client57

30. Ted Lermontov58

Beautiful Designs - Ted Lermontov : Web Designer59

31. Pozycjonowanie INHEAD Krakow60

Beautiful Designs - Pozycjonowanie INHEAD Kraków61

32. WorkHabit.org62

Beautiful Designs - WorkHabit.org63

33. Sonze64

Beautiful Designs - Sonze65

34. Corporate Image66

Beautiful Designs - Corporate Image – Logo, Graphic Design, Website Development, Web Marketing Consultant, Melbourne, Sydney, Australia67

35. Frazier Media68

Beautiful Designs - Frazier Media69

36. KellerAdv 70

Beautiful Designs - KellerAdv - Agenzia di Pubblicità  - Comunicazione - Marketing - Latina71

37. Made by Cocoon72

Beautiful Designs - Welcome to Made by Cocoon | Made by Cocoon73

38. elan3.com74

Beautiful Designs - elan3.com : Tim Sears' blog and personal site of web and .NET development.75

39. Erratic Wisdom76

Beautiful Designs - Erratic Wisdom77

40. Design View / Andy Rutledge78

Beautiful Designs - Design View / Andy Rutledge79

41. Systima Technology80

Beautiful Designs - Systima Technology - Creative Solutions on the Isle of Wight81

42. Eden Creative Communities82

Beautiful Designs - Eden Creative Communities83

43. Pownce84

Beautiful Designs - Pownce85

44. Waggener Edstrom Worldwide86

Beautiful Designs - Home | Waggener Edstrom Consumer Group | Waggener Edstrom Worldwide87

45. WallCandyArt88

Beautiful Designs - WallCandyArt89

Artwork

46. EMS | Matthew Soriano90

Beautiful Designs - EMéS | The online portfolio of Matthew Soriano91

47. anixstudio.92

Beautiful Designs - anixstudio.93

48. Blues Sklep94

Beautiful Designs - Blues Sklep – Live Blues and Jazz music95

49. plasq.com96

Beautiful Designs - plasq.com - Main >97

50. sr28 Web Design98

Beautiful Designs - sr28 Web Design, Houston based Web Designer and Illustrator Simon Reynolds99

Remarkable Designs

51. Warpspire100

Beautiful Designs - Warpspire: Web, Design and Code Geekery101

52. MacZone102

Beautiful Designs - MacZone - prvý a najväčší on-line obchod pre celú platformu Mac103

53. The 5th Avenue Theatre104

Beautiful Designs - Welcome to The 5th Avenue Theatre105

54. The Knowledge Well106

Beautiful Designs - The Knowledge Well107

55. Palm, Inc.108

Beautiful Designs - Palm, Inc., Your Destination for Handhelds, Mobile Managers, Smartphones, Accessories and Software Titles109

56. Dion.nu Design110

Beautiful Designs - Dion.nu Design | Dion's Weblog 3.0 | Weblog of Dion Kesling. Designer in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.111

57. FreeSwell Studios112

Beautiful Designs - FreeSwell Studios | Creative, Web Design and Development, Kailua Honolulu Oahu Hawaii113

58. Knoxville Life Church114

Beautiful Designs - Knoxville Life Church115

59. Startup Search116

Beautiful Designs - Startup Search. Directory of web technology startups.117

60. Footnote118

Beautiful Designs - Footnote - The place for original documents online119

61. troovy120

Beautiful Designs - troovy | the world just got a bit smaller.121

62. FF Maria Raisenmarkt122

Beautiful Designs - FF Maria Raisenmarkt |www.ff-raisenmarkt.at|123

63. JoshLockhart.com124

Beautiful Designs - JoshLockhart.com | Effective Web Applications & Rapidweaver Themes125

Flash Designs

64. Made by Mark Dearman126

Beautiful Designs - Made by Mark Dearman127

Further Design Showcases

You can find more inspiration in the following showcases we’ve published before:

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Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.

  1. 1

    blah, blah, blah …
    Sorry but a lot of these designs are not very ‘inspirational’ at all plus I’m sure that you’ve featured quite a few of them already.

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  2. 2

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 4, 2007 12:44 am

    @Digilee:

    thank you for your opinion. Could you explain your position? We haven’t featured any of these sites in our previous posts.

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  3. 3

    Although I love lists like this, I will agree that I am not very inspired by them either. It’s not just you, lately CSS Mania and The Best Design showcases have not been inspiring as well. Also a lot of these designs I have seen on those two showcases.

    I need something different, some that really inspires me. I know when I am inspired, because I will open up Fireworks and start to create something. None of these make me want to create something.

    But like I said it is not just you.

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  4. 4

    I agree with Digilee. You are just collecting lots of screenshots to create lists. The longer the better. Boring. These designs are good but not all of them exeptionally good. I mean: Look at the Skitch site. It is a nice product but the design of the site. Ah well …

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  5. 5

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 4, 2007 1:12 am

    Thank you for your opinions.

    @Arne: it’s not about the list or the length of the lists. What we’ve tried to do with this post was to give our readers some more interesting points to get started from. We receive many e-mails in which our readers ask us for more inspirational stuff.

    Of course, design is subjective. And of course, you decide whether we’ve done our job well enough or not.

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  6. 6

    I agree and disagree… Some of these designs are quite nice. The one thing that bothers me is the reliance of Web designers on gradients/drop shadows/textured backgrounds. It seems like people believe throwing in one or two of these items automatically makes a design look good.

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  7. 7

    Randolph Valencia

    July 4, 2007 1:30 am

    Nice

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  8. 8

    Thx a lot for the list. Of course, you can’t find ALL of them VERY interesting, but at least few of them are very interessant.

    Thank you!

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  9. 9

    Great list as usual guys! You guys always put so much work into your posts and I’ve never posted a reply so I thought I’d take the opportunity to say thanks for all the hard work and keep it up!

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  10. 10

    Was a great list of clean, inspirational designs, right up to the point where you included Microsoft. There web presence is absolutely horrible and should only be included on such lists as what not to do.

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  11. 11

    Djurdjica Selec

    July 4, 2007 2:46 am

    Sorry guys….these are good as a gallery, but inspiration?
    Not one of them made me Open Link in New Tab…

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  12. 12

    Great list! Thanks for your works! My favorite design is CodeIgniter…

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  13. 13

    Very nice ones…

    What about mysite (web20) it should be in the list 2….
    Dutch Nature website

    ;)

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  14. 14

    Awesome list !!! Beautiful Designs!

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  15. 15

    What percentage of these are fixed-width designs, and why does there seem to be a growing trend in that direction? Personally, I don’t really want to look at a page that is 750 pixels wide on my monitor that is 1920 pixels wide.

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  16. 16

    I have a lot of the first 1-44 sites bookmarked in my del.icio.us under a tag called inspiration. I really agree with Smashing on those designs, they are really inspiring.

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  17. 17

    I totally disagree with people saying that these aren’t inspirational! Just because they don’t make you run off to use Photoshop doesn’t mean that they wont prove useful in the future. I bookmark all these posts, and refer back to them when I have a site to build and I’m short of ideas.

    I appreciate the time and effort that the SM team put into these. I also find it fascinating to see what the current trend is for cutting-edge web design.

    I strongly suspect that many of the people who slam these posts (and CSS galleries too) only do so because they know that they can never create such stunning designs themselves.

    Keep them coming guys! :)

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  18. 18

    Agreed on every notion with the naysayers. This is a neat list somewhat just to look at. The only one I looked at was Microsoft, because let’s be honest, that design was came out of nowhere and the last time I bothered looking at their site was a good year ago.

    These designers took advantage of either a good background or a good picture and focus everything around it.

    The only thing that makes me inspired to code is when you start jumping into layered designs and I have to answer my own question of how do you do that?

    Most of these designs just offer a great structured layout, something anybody can really do. It’s the ones that make you think that should be called inspirational.

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  19. 19

    Nice collection! But if 60+ beautiful designs is not enough inspiration check out the largest design collection at http://www.screenalicio.us with more than 8900 screenshots.

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  20. 20

    Atomic Scrotum

    July 4, 2007 3:51 am

    Very nice. Lots of “2.0″-looking sites and the thumbnails make it easy to take it all in.

    A little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing on a beautiful, sunny afternoon when I should be outside…

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  21. 21

    The problem with 9/10 of these designs is that they are far too cluttered with a bunch of “pretty graphics” thrown about. When I see a site like that, it doesn’t encourage me away from clicking x on my Firefox tab anymore than a very badly designed website, because I immediately recognize the design was created by someone who thinks pretty little shiny stuff attracts me like a fish and I won’t find any more better content there than in most places.

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  22. 22

    Wow, rough crowd.
    I appreciate the list of sites, found many of them inspirational in one way or another and have bookmarked this page.

    Thank you!

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  23. 23

    Boring…
    Sorry to say, these are not very “inspirational” at all.
    I don’t mean to be overly nasty or negative, but I have to say I expect better from Smashing Magazine! I love Smashing Magazine… but this story really stinks. Where is the fun? Where is the variety? Where is the uniqueness? Well… where is the “inspiration”? This simply looks like a gallery of screen shots (and not too much variety at that).
    You just did something like this in May (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/05/21/60-elegant-and-visually-appealling-designs/), why do it again so soon? The May story was a much better one!

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  24. 24

    I agree and disagree… Some of these designs are quite nice. The one thing that bothers me is the reliance of Web designers on gradients/drop shadows/textured backgrounds. It seems like people believe throwing in one or two of these items automatically makes a design look good.

    Quite a mixed bag; some of these are excellent, and some can only be described as plain-jane. If anything I’d say this list is more telling as a list of designs you personally enjoy, since there isn’t much deviation in basic structure between them, color-schemes are quite similar, and gradients are almost ever-present. Good inspiration if you’d like to make another site to fit in with the general look & feel here; it would have been nice to see some more wildly divergent layouts/color schemes/etc.

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  25. 25

    Thanks for the feature!

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  26. 26

    hello..

    i think the design at http://www.justwantaquote.com is very good…

    yea….just thought i would share….nice websites tho!!

    A+++++++++++++

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  27. 27

    Thanks for another “smashing” list =o)

    This is my first post on here, despite looking around this site for a fair few months now, and the articles never cease to help or inspire.

    Keep it up!

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  28. 28

    memeandmeagain

    July 4, 2007 5:05 am

    This designs is too simple and boring. Check this http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/web/ . It is a best studio in whole world. Comments?

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  29. 29

    I love the list… Not very insperational? its a VERY nice list. those webpages present the content beautifully and inspire me.. If u want those crazy “insperational” sites go to http://www.thefwa.com. (I personally dont like most of them) Sites on this list is made for looking good and beeing easy to navigate and dont try to re-invent the wheel or something. Tommy

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  30. 30

    Excellent! Been looking for inspiration lately on a new project, thanks to you I’ve found some!

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  31. 31

    Excellent list, thanks for that..

    0
  32. 32

    It’s a good list guys, even if it only gives you a few ideas, that’s better than nothing at all. Great as always

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  33. 33

    Good list guys, there are some key ones that are brilliant.

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  34. 34

    Tor Løvskogen

    July 4, 2007 5:50 am

    It’s a great list, with great designs. But what I am more interested in, is knowing what makes them good. I would much more prefer to read a in-depth analysis on a single page, than to scan thru’ 60 designs.

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  35. 35

    I don’t know why these people are so critical.
    You guys always do a stellar job with these compilations.
    Keep up the great work.

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  36. 36

    hey, I appreciate these lists!

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  37. 37

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 4, 2007 6:09 am

    Thank you for all your comments.

    We are very open to constructive criticism. So if you see something which you think is wrong, please let us know, so we can improve the quality of our content in the future.

    You decide, what Smashing Magazine offers to you, so please feel free to criticize us as long as you can back your criticism with sound arguments. We’d be happy to receive your feedback. If such lists are getting old, let us know. If you still would like to have them from time to time, let us know.

    And thank you for your interest and participation.

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  38. 38

    As a designer myself, I think it can be easy to underestimate the difficulty in producing really useful designs. Not things that are just cool to look at, but ones that communicate the message and don’t get in the way. I think most of these are great examples of that. I’ll look at these and say, sure, I could do that–until I sit down and try. They may not be inspirational in terms of showing something new, but I think they are inspirational in showing what happens when you really put all the pieces together.

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  39. 39

    i guess 98% of these sites are listed on http://screenfluent.com ?

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  40. 40

    How could you forget http://www.bmindful.com/ ? :)

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  41. 41

    “What percentage of these are fixed-width designs, and why does there seem to be a growing trend in that direction? Personally, I don’t really want to look at a page that is 750 pixels wide on my monitor that is 1920 pixels wide”

    It’s much easier to make a fixed width page look great in my opinion. Sites look more balanced with a central column, plus it leaves room for artwork/texture down the sides.
    Also very wide text is hard to read, narrow columns are much easier to follow.

    On the plus side, you can have 2 and a half pages open at once on your big screen

    Here’s a full screen site for you:
    http://bla.st/

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  42. 42

    I agree with Peter. These might not all be artistic masterpieces, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Most of these designs ‘work’. Which is more important that them being pretty in the real world.

    So maybe this package is titled wrong, but it’s a nice list to use as reference nonetheless I’d say. So thanks Smashing, keep ‘em coming!

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  43. 43

    I think the problem with this list is not so much in the editing of smashing magazine it’s more to do with the actual direction of design on the internet.

    Going right back to early 2000 there was still a very open style to the internet. Clearly good designs were few and far between; but when you found a design that was something fresh and new and pushed boundaries it really did inspire you. Taschen regularly published web designers alongside architects. (Though they did just publish a new web design book, I have yet to buy it).

    As time has passed we’ve seen the rise of many css beauty galleries, design blogs, and the (love it or hate it) web 2.0 style movement.

    There is a great move on the part of designers to follow these trends, and even designers who do try and push boundaries and come up with original ideas are so quickly drawn upon, and their ideas stylized into other site, that within just a few months they are once again, ‘one in a mass’. Just taking a quick browse though the comments so far, though there is an (unusual) trend of dismissing designs, I’m sure that many will use these as reference points, and pick styles, ideas and typography from several other sites, to create their own design.

    While there is no problem with this, it is naturally part of the process of design evolution through mediums, I think in such a repetitive and flexible environment you quickly end up with many designs that, though are all technically sound and follow good practices, are little more than echoes of each other.

    To just skim through this gallery (in fact, to just skim through any ‘beautiful site’ gallery from the last 1.5 years) you are met with reels of large blocked out header with simple sans-serif headers with punchy catch line sub-text, links condensed down to single words and icons denoting the meaning of single line text holders. These galleries, and resources, and design movements have single handedly made the net a much more beautiful and useable place, and in the same swoop removed drive for innovation, and quickly replicated it when found.

    If you give most web designers with a natural feel of layout and color just a few simple lines of text, a handful of links, and a simple message to convey however hard they try and push against convention you can almost guarantee a fallback to 32pt Verdana and a bright or deep hued box offsetting important text.

    Though I feel though much knowledge and awareness of many good practices are being learned (the greater awareness of the importance of typography, white space, block position, web standards) I think at the same time this is also the root cause of a different problem; that these fundamental basics are being learned from too-narrow of a spectrum of references.

    To my mind one of the most successful and beautiful layouts is that of http://www.nymag.com. The sheer volume and variety of information presented, always in ever changing formats, the amount of navigation and the technical challenge of presenting it all. Yet here we have a beautifully presented, naturally intuitive, yet interestingly varied solution. The people behind this design clearly have a wealth of background experience from many different fields. If I pick, quickly, just one site off your list http://maczone.sk/uvod and directly flip between these two designs, I see on one hand (maczone), a technically skilled and well executed layout, but from a designer with little depth of understanding or experience beyond the basics of Verdana and centaury gothic; or inspiration beyond css galleries. On the other hand (nymag) I see years of experience, from what I expect is a mixed team of people ranging from developers through to traditional print artists.

    Last year I worked on a project in London with a pair of high profile fashion photographers. When they were giving me the initial brief of concept, they presented me with a mash of magazine cutouts, newspaper clippings, layered photographs, even stills from skateboard films. Though sometimes I stumble upon a well written article (usually from a more senior designer) covering ideas to draw inspiration from other areas, I find there is a huge lack of movement to educate designers in fundamentals that are far broader and wide-reaching than just the basics of web design. Though there are many great resources around, if ask your average designer on the basics of color theory (“how do you workout which tertiary colors fall in harmony or complementary pairs?”) or basics of typography (“What font could you complement Helvetica with, with slanted stroke cuts?”) and you are met by a blank expression.

    I for one am very ready to welcome a movement away from the “my site is built with standards!” period and into a period where web designers realize that their medium is just as flexible as the pages of a magine. At the end of the day every web designer is just another print graphics artist who also happens to be able to code; and I think the former still have a lot to learn as a group from the latter.

    I guess I am in the minority that tend to look at designers, rather than individual pieces (I view the web in a similar context to how I would look at the furniture designers or photographers I love), and I find it slowly harder to find ones I really admire as ‘designers’ and not just ‘webdesigners’. The most acid test of the strength of a designer is the strip away all their tools and leave them with just text and lines, and see what they can construct armed just with these. If you look at the nymag site mentioned previously, you notice it is little more.

    Though, there are a couple of gems that do catch my eye in the above list ;) for the most part I sigh and say “same old”, yet I don’t blame the editors, I blame the designers; because I for one can’t put together a list of 60 genuinely brilliant forward-pushing website designs anymore.

    Ps; sorry for the essay! But maybe someone will read it and consider =)

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  44. 44

    I guess I *do* see the “inspirational” in these, I would love to have the design skills featured here. At first I thought these were another WordPress theme collection and I got really excited after the first couple, but then I saw it wasn’t :( Oh well, great designs.

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  45. 45

    great selection, quiet a few I have never seen before.

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  46. 46

    Great list again. Always good to start the day looking through these lists, then get stuck into the designing.
    thanks

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  47. 47

    I agree that this list wasn’t as good as the others it’s not due to the sites being low-rate but that the other lists were really really good and this one was just good. but either way, keep up the good work gents.

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  48. 48

    Ok, as a hobbyist webdesigner with interests in the KISS-principle, I try as hard as I can NOT to use images as part of my CSS. For my own website, I tried as hard as I could to make a functional, simple and clean site-template that is not relying on images, gradients and whatnot to make it more appealing. I really believe in keeping the use of images for other things than to deliver content to an absolute minimum.

    So I believe it is time for a design list with sites, templates and so on that DOES NOT USE gradients, elaborate graphics, otherwise clever CSS-imagery and in general, images as part of the contents’ setup. Now there’s a challenge.

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  49. 49

    i agree with the earlier posts here…some of these sites are nice but when quickly scrolling through the list i can’t help but notice how similar some of these are to one another. there are several back to back designs that are nearly identical in layout. this list easily could have been 10 sites long.

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  50. 50

    Brigitte Schuster

    July 4, 2007 9:28 am

    I think a lot of these design can be inspiring. It depends for what kind of design work you need an inspiration. If you don’t like an overall look of a design, you might get inspirated by a detail, for example the text layout part of it.

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  51. 51

    I dont actually write comments, but this time I must admit: THIS IS WORST POST ON SMASHING MAGAZINE EVER!!!

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  52. 52

    I think that some of the designs are inspiring, but the problem is that some of the designs seem to be there only because the designer is well known – for example, Pearsonified, this is not an inspirational design no matter how you look at it, although I do agree that it is well developed.

    Also, a lot of the sites on the list have been overly publicized recently, for example, 31Three – although I do agree that it is inspirational and well designed, I have read about it and seen it so many times, that it has kinda lost its “inspirational” quality.

    The post was good, and most of the designs deserve the recognition, but somehow I feel that designs are sometimes judged on the popularity of the designer and not on the merit of the design itself – just my 2cents.

    But, as always, great effort!

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  53. 53

    I am inspired. I am adding this to my bookmarks as a required site to review whenever I dream up a new design. It is good to have a nice catalog of designs to peruse when coming up with something new.

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  54. 54

    Thanks for the mention!

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  55. 55

    Beautiful Designs. I would love have one among these designs for my blog Tech Thoughts

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  56. 56

    simply superb!!!!

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  57. 57

    I don’t get these people who criticize Smashing Magazine editors. Just take a look at all the crap which is showcased on most galleries – for me it’s just a waste of time to browse through them. On Smashing Magazine you always find quality – yeah, there are some sites featured in this article which I personally don’t like, but overall it is a great showcase again. I am glad Smashing Magazine does the good job again. Keep the good work!

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  58. 58

    Yes, thank you again! Very usable and inspirational :)

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  59. 59

    Ah! you rock!!!

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  60. 60
  61. 61

    I have one question. What is great in Pownce design?????

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  62. 62

    Mostafa Mourad

    July 4, 2007 5:11 pm

    OH!
    where is my site!! :D
    http://www.designrific.com

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  63. 63

    Pablo:
    I beg to differ. Admittedly, I do not visit many online showcase galleries because of their lack of inpsirational content, but there are many exceptions to this, for instance the excellent Light on dark gallery site, which totally made me go for a light on dark style for my own site as well.

    But I’d like to know just what you are looking for. Maybe you do not even know it yourself?

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  64. 64

    Dear Vitaly & Sven,

    Thank you for including my weblog in this article. It’s an honour to be featured on Smashing Magazine. I frequently visit here to get inspired by all the articles you write and to be included here made my day.

    Unfortunately not many visitors seem to like the included sites which is reflected by the number of referrers originating from this article which is 0.

    I think this list contains some very inspirational websites, with here and there a less spectacular one. Of course taste is always subjective.

    Anyway, thanks for including Dion’s weblog.
    Dion

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  65. 65

    Mostaque Ahammed

    July 4, 2007 7:54 pm

    WOW! great collection of sites. They are beautiful in colors, layout and content. Great post again.

    Thanks

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  66. 66

    Loved them specially the first one
    here is one more i came across

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  67. 67

    Love this selection. Only the first website “31Three” is featured in a previous post.

    Great work!

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  68. 68

    I’m kind of with Merkidemis on this post.
    It’s not bad but where are all the fluid/liquid designs, we can see a big list of current decent design on any number of CSS design sites.
    How about a post featuring some decent usage of flexible/fluid layouts as well as decent design in some form or other.
    Fixed width sites nowadays are surely on the way out (or at least they probably should be), highlight the going forward trends instead of older trends.

    Just my two pennies worth, nice list nevertheless!!

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  69. 69

    Wow, some rough criticism, there was a lot of time and effort put into creating this list and while I may not like/admire all the designs there are some great designs there which are of inspiration to all of us in some way .. Kudos to you SM !

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  70. 70

    I personally think the list is good. You can’t expect to like every design there, but just a percentage. The way I see it, if I can find 10-12 designs out of a list of 60, it’s a good list. For inspiration, you don’t need 60/60 sites to be inspired, but really, only 1 or 2. I say keep the lists coming – if you’re bored with them, just ignore this post. Those who really appreciate design will enjoy them most of the time. But maybe that’s just me.

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  71. 71

    Thanks a lot this is a great tool for my inspiration, nice comment Pablo Im with your opinion.

    have a nice day

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  72. 72

    Živko Kondić

    July 5, 2007 2:00 am

    OK, from when USABLE = INSPIRING??? This is a question for all those people who want to throw out images out of websites…not the editors, they try to make their best, and I appreciate the effort.

    The web is becoming 80% of identical websites, “made with standards”. Where did all the creative people that pushed the boundaries for all these years disappear? Everything is horizontal and vertical, in other words, quickly boring.

    LOL, for people nay-ing microsoft… just look at the W3C website, pure horror, there’s your standard :D

    I wish people could search for inspiration in other places…or other things, like music, art, spirituality, life…not just CSS-whatever sites.

    There are some really good sites in the list.

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  73. 73

    Like someone else said… its just the way the trend is now for website/blogs… I mean 75% look like they are using the same template, or a derivative of hemingway.

    but there are a good 25% of them listed that are nice, beautiful or unique.

    So are the other 75% inspiring? yep! Inspires me to go out and try to smash the cookie cutter mold that they are using!.

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  74. 74

    Beautiful websites. Thanks so much for these.

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  75. 75

    FFS people!!! Thanks Smashing Magazine for taking the time to provide a list that people might find useful. If you don’t find them useful then that’s great. Good for you. I’m sure there are a shit load of SM readers who, like me, appreciate all of the goodness that SM have and continue to deliver.

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  76. 76

    i agree with the earlier post; thats exactly what i think when i browse thru the design. I mean, yeah, they are beautiful, but its like looking at a template with different graphics and different color. From what I observed here and from other web galleries, the design listed must has a biggg welcome section, followed by news or whatever and big footer the next (not mentioning those gradient effect etc)

    I bet grid design will be the next trend after this hemingway-thingy.

    Not only SM listed this ‘kinda boring’ but with beauty websites, so did other css galleries with big names like CSSRemix, CSSMania etc. You will go like, “oh sure, you have that big welcome section, that’s why you’re in.”

    I think standards have actually standardize the way we think. And I dont think its a good sign. ANd to be honest with you, I am stuck with it too.

    Pardon my English, its my second language.

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  77. 77
  78. 78

    So, there’s all these folks bashing Smashing Magazine for the list. Well, I think each person that doesn’t find inspiration here should post one website that they feel is “inspirational.”

    Pretty much every website that was linked in the comments was posted as a joke or looked like a joke. The only person that I found with any meaning behind their link was Alex with New York Magazine. However, in truth I didn’t find that site very appealing at all. I prefer the layout, but that’s totally subjective.

    Anyways, kudos to SM for, what i thought was, a great list.

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  79. 79

    Thanks for compiling the list. I found a few on there inspirational in one way or another.

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  80. 80

    The websites are just great. Nice list.

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  81. 81

    Alexander Leith

    July 6, 2007 12:45 am

    Thanks for the list. I’ve only recently come across Smashing Magazine, and it has very quickly become a great resource for me. Lists like this are great. Like you say, these are all usable and elegant designs, and there is some inspiration that can potentially be taken from almost every one.

    Considering this is free and nobody is “obliged” to be inspired by it, I’m really surprised by the bitter and cutting nature of the negative comments that a few chose to leave.

    Personally I’m glad that fixed width layouts seem to be on the way back. As screens get larger fluid layouts are often ugly and unreadable. Good design is about making information easy to digest (not filling the screen or the page with text).

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  82. 82

    Dang, really sucks to see Smashing Magazine take the downhill turn lately. Nothing inspiring at ALL in any of your last 12 posts. If anything, all I see is “inspiration” for biters. In other words, easy, simple-to-steal code that people will be ripping off for months to come. This web 2.0 crap is getting so old so fast, and the fact that you guys keep posting similar looking designs every single post is just wearing on me. I’m about two posts away from removing SM from my bookmarks. I don’t get any inspiring out of your posts anymore.

    Sorry, it’s the truth.

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  83. 83

    Here is a design that I think is inspirational. It goes beyond the current gradient design look that is popular and really adds elements together to create something that stands out.

    http://www.curiositygroup.com/

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  84. 84

    I think everyone here is getting bored of the usual predictable web 2.0 layout and structure – there’re some great sites out there (like the newly designed cnn.com and apple.com) where they have put in the time to come up with a great user experience… which is what I think you guys should focus on next.

    Great user experience… good architecture… and why someone would stick around the site. I know Radar Networks (radarnetworks.com) is coming up with something along these lines… web 3.0, you could almost say.

    Also keep an eye out for StartupByte – some new and interesting things are brewing….

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  85. 85

    hey Vitaly, you guys make great lists. when you hear people critizing your stuff that is only because they are becoming tired of it. whenever you are given alot of something really good you began to get bored of it and thats what you guys are doing. thats a compliment by the way. as for these designs why dont you take some initive from them and use a nice layout. im sorry but this one is getting to old and to hard on the eyes.

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  86. 86

    rietz:
    Something tells me your social life isn’t working out the way you hoped.

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  87. 87

    I’ve seen a lot of these over the past few weeks on other CSS galleries (and that’s not to be taken as a snide remark), but I would like to make a suggestion and say that if you’re going to post gallery style articles that blocking the images side by side would look cleaner IMO.

    A few good sites here I took note of thought. Thanks

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  88. 88

    Awesome list. I love when you guys do all the work for me =P

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  89. 89

    I believe that all of these are beautiful. It’s quite amazing how a style is created and where designers take it. And unlike what I read a few posts above it does make me want to open up Photoshop and and work with color and space and general layout. Plus It’s important that these sites get out to more of the mainstream web. Most of all our clients are looking at designs from the mid 90s, thinking they’re cutting edge.

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  90. 90

    Maybe im just young and inexperienced but i think the designs listed are beautiful.

    They are easy to use, have a clear focus, a well-thought out grid and strong branding. Understandably a few have certain similiarities but thats the way things go when trends are in style. Do you truly think there are 80 designs out there that are mind-boggling inovative in everyway possible? You only come by these gems every once in a while. Thats what makes the innovative.

    For the moment i’ll gladly take these sites as inspiration :)

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  91. 91

    tough crowd… ouch!

    To say this is not an inspirational list makes me wonder what they would find inspirational… true I have seen some of these somewhere before, but then again I have also lost alot of bookmarks during the ‘great crash’ of February and late July, so this is awesome.

    I have yet to find a site that gives me more than Smashing Magazine, l love what you guys do and I think this site rocks!

    thank you

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  92. 92

    Post #28, thanks.

    http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/

    Now that was inspirational.

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  93. 93

    Lots of good sites listed here. I would not call all of them inspiring but all are clean and have good layout.

    To that I would also like to nominate our site: http://www.crazymenu.com it has a lot of function and we spent a lot of time to create a clean and minimalized site. We believe for site that provide content and information, the design should not overshadow or distract the information but help lay it out in a way natural to the eye and free of clutter so all information are quickly scanable.

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  94. 94

    Simple and beautiful, that which art. Respect to the designers of these sites.

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  95. 95

    Theunis Groenewald

    July 8, 2007 1:20 am

    The fact that I’ve already seen just about every web site showcased here is both amusing and alarming. It is, however, the fact that almost every comment made gives no proper feedback beyond the feeble I like or dislike the web sites listed that prompted me to post a comment of my own.

    Looking at the showcase, I can immediately list at least eight distinguishing trends with regards to usability and design (personal opinions aside – just because it’s fashionable, doesn’t meant that you have like it). It is possible to elaborate on the effectiveness of each of the designs with regards to the products or services they provide, the audience they are intended for and the life expectancy of the designs themselves. One can ever go as far as to discuss the color palettes and their symbolic interpretation (like the adventurous and possibly fatal use of red – the color of love and lust, but also the color of blood and violence, death, hell and sin) in comparison to the site’s content.

    The fact that these sites have been featured here (and everywhere else) speaks volumes about their success, yet very few here have discovered and discussed the secrets to obtaining the same volume of success in a digital world where web sites continuously struggle to be seen. Not every product, and most certainly not every web site, is meant to be inspirational. But the fact that these web sites are undoubtedly successful in their function alone is inspirational. Using W3C Standards Compliant programming guidelines ensures that a web site can be seen and used across every platform, no matter what operating system, browser (or mobile device) the viewer is using, in exactly the same way is inspirational. Keeping viewers with disabilities in mind when designing and developing a site (there are some people whose vision is completely distorted when looking at the color black) is inspirational. And ending up with a web site that functions (and to a certain extent looks) similar to the rest, aids familiarity with novice users and while they might not even acknowledge it – the fact that a web site is easy to navigate will please them more than any complicated and unclear navigational system, no matter how visually pleasing it is.

    Online development (no matter which part one concentrates on) is an art form in an extremely complex environment where everyone’s an expert and critics abound. While one web site may not be as inspirational as the next, the fact that it grabbed your attention long enough to solicit a response – is inspirational …

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  96. 96

    I agree when someone said that a design be always subjective for the viewers..none are bad..and to be inspiring, a design doesn’t have to be complicated in visual look..since simple design can be inspiring as well when it is fitted gud with the viewers need.. :p don’t you think

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  97. 97

    @Quakeulf:

    Something tells me you need to spend more time reading SM posts, considering the lackluster design of your web”sight”. Not much of a sighting.

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  98. 98

    100! eheh…well I think those are all very beatiful and stylish and whatever u want..websites…but..I mean..almost half of them are all things already seen…(except for accessibility and usability I guess..)..so..don’t know why they are so special :D

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  99. 99

    Theres some really great stuff there. I’m about to start some design work and i’ll be looking for some inspiration from these sites.

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  100. 100

    On the one side many designs are sometimes brilliant at first. But when I’m switching through some of those websites, trying to get in touch with the first steps of understanding how every website works, then I often got a bit confused. Many of those sites are looking overloaded – I just thought sometimes, that they really want to be as much as impressive as they can. It remembers me more on plain showcase like zengarden or so; not always on informational architecture.
    On the other side some of them like oaktreecreative.com or tedler.com really got me in creative, clear and easy to use webdesign with a message behind.

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  101. 101

    I hate to join the nay-sayers, but I have to agree that I didn’t find much inspiration in this list.

    So many of them look the same, and the ones that are unique have little to do with the design of the site and more to do with the use of a great photo.

    1
  102. 102

    Muy bonitos, creo que tendré que utilizar algunos de esos diseños. Jajaja :)
    Gracias..

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  103. 103

    Its a nice list and huge list.
    Sites are cool but I was tired of scrolling the page to button hehe.

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  104. 104

    Alex #43, thanks for your comments; you expressed my thoughts on this issue in a more articulate way than I’d ever be able to!

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  105. 105

    Rajesh Talageri

    July 17, 2007 3:13 pm

    This is awesome! The most comprehensive list of inspiring designs. Thank you God! :)

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  106. 106

    Dragoslav Lazarevic

    July 18, 2007 10:56 pm

    Really great job. Design is subjective, but some of those sites are among best on web. Once again, great job!!!

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  107. 107

    Dragoslav Lazarevic

    July 18, 2007 11:06 pm

    Great job. Design is subjective, but some of those sites are among the best on internet. Not all, however, and no one expected that. Some of them are really inspirational. Once again, great job!

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  108. 108

    Cool web sites!
    tks

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  109. 109

    I Think the sites looks great . . but yeah after zooming in a couple of them, they look very much the same yeah . . . sometimes i got a feeling that everyone is kinda copying . . the web 2.0 hype probably:

    1. Drop shadows
    2. shiny plastic . . on . . yeah like everything you can imagine?

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  110. 110

    I really, really like it. Thank god someone is showcasing clean, light, functional, well-designed css sites for once !

    If I see anymore ‘flash’ sites I’m going to explode. Those things have no place on the web if you ask me. They’re clunky, over-designed and impervious to indexing …

    Good work guys ! :-) Keep it up …

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  111. 111

    I’m not in the design industry, but I am looking for a clean and simple design for a site that I’d like to have built for my small LLC. Finding a designer who isn’t obsessed with dazzle and overstimulation has been difficult, so this post is encouraging (as are some of the responses). Perhaps someone knows a designer who needs some experience and has a has an interest in designing for me. Drop a line: TheMsMack.@mac.com

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  112. 112

    This is great, thanks

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  113. 113

    I honestly am getting bored with this web 2.0 style… Almost all of these sites look like they have been made by the same designer. They are so similar and boring.

    I mean don’t get me wrong, they are all well made and everything, but none of them is very inspiring…

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  114. 114

    themegarden.org

    August 2, 2007 5:53 pm

    Nice collection.
    Probably, I would choose some others, but it’s a question about taste.

    Really useful, thanks.

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  115. 115

    Christopher James

    August 10, 2007 7:59 am

    Ok, I just gotta say one thing; Wow… How many people that actually “complained” on this topic about how “Not Inspirational” these designs are… When in fact they all complained about the same thing (Layout). However, inspriation is more than just a layout and css and bla bla bla. It can be colors, icons, text, colors of headers and fonts used. Now lets just say, 60 designs, each having different icons, different fonts, layouts, colors and yet people can say they found “no inspiration” from them? With all that said, I dont think its a matter of being inspired at all, its more of a matter of being rude or “I can do better” but cant back it up with proof.

    Sincerely,

    Christopher James

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  116. 116

    These designs are OK, but I agree with those who have suggested that the [i]primary[/i] importance placed on the notions “web standards” and “web2.0 style” agendas is now producing some very bland, joyless, unoriginal, albeit proficient sites.

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  117. 117

    Great! I learned a lot here all the time!

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  118. 118

    Wow!, amazin stuff, thank you, guys!

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  119. 119

    I think some of these are really great with nice attention to detail, but some are rather bland.
    Most actually look better in the screenshot than they do in the live site.
    Just my opinion….. :)

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  120. 120

    Wonderful. Just beatifull templates. Congratulations!

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  121. 121

    very nice article love the design

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  122. 122

    Just one question: how do you decide all of the above websites are usable?

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  123. 123

    felicitaciones por la busqueda de paginas, estan muy buenas, paginas como estas amplian el mundo de los diseñadores web, muchas gracias por compartir este conocimiento tan especifico, sigan asi.

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  124. 124

    cool ones…really awesome designs

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  125. 125

    One word that describes them best: BEAUTIFUL

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  126. 126

    Thanks! :)

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  127. 127

    SUCESSO !…, ABRAÇOS. BOKA.

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  128. 128

    Great Work! Really great job. Thanks for Sharing
    Freelance Web Designer

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  129. 129

    Cool Staff , I Like it !

    regards,
    Ahmed Rabieh

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  130. 130

    Muy bueno todoo

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  131. 131

    It is always good to find articles like this…. very interesting.

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