40 Excellent Illustrations In Web Designs

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In website design, there are an endless amount of possibilities, styles and techniques that can be used to make a beautiful design that flows with the content. One of these styles is an illustration-heavy layout, which can take a website to a whole new level. Illustrations are becoming more and more popular, and some designers are really pushing the limits with some beautiful ones.

Below you’ll find 40 designs that feature skillful and beautiful illustrations, integrated properly to create a visually pleasing style.

Also consider our previous articles:

Beautiful Illustrations In Web Designs

DivVoted6
An all-around beautiful layout, with some beautifully colored illustrations to accompany it.

Screenshot7

The Alamo Basement8
A nice, colorful illustration that has a comforting air.

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StrawPoll10
StrawPoll has a beautifully illustrated landscape, with an extremely clever layout.

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Green Globe Ideas12
A high-quality and very creative illustration in the header.

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old loft14
A very nicely illustrated layout, with good coloring and contrast.

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Pixele16
Pixele has a colorful and rather funky header that works well with the rest of the website.

Screenshot17

Radu Ceuca18
Another very colorful and grungy layout, with a painted effect.

Screenshot19

ten24 Media20
A beautiful yet simple illustration that looks excellent against the brown background.

Screenshot21

Silverback22
A very skillful and detailed illustration on a nice green layout.

Screenshot23

Banjax24
A simple but powerful illustration in the header, amidst a minimalist layout.

Screenshot25

Neweracaptalk26
A unique, flowing illustration that doesn’t detract from the content.

Screenshot27

Dean Oakley28
This is a great portfolio with a very creative horizontal layout. The illustration looks very nice with the layout.

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K4 Laboratory 30
A very colorful illustration mixed with interesting moving Flash objects and some cool effects.

Screenshot31

Visit Cascadia32
A very detailed header background illustration.

Screenshot33

Galan34
A beautiful and brightly colored portfolio, with nice hand-drawn illustrations.

Screenshot35

Branded0736
A very clean website with some blue minimalist illustrations and really cool penguins.

Screenshot37

WP Coder38
A very clever design with a nice, detailed, semi-realistic illustrated machine.

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Africa Tour 200840
An excellent mixture of grunge and clean styling.

Screenshot41

45royale Inc.42
Another elegant header design that looks great with the clean layout of the rest of the website.

Screenshot43

Fatburgr44
A few skillful illustrations in a very cool overall layout.

Screenshot45

Drink ZZZ46
This Flash website uses grungy illustrations and smart Flash effects to create a fun user experience.

Screenshot47

Ali Felski48
Another website with grungy textures and fancy colors.

Screenshot49

DrupalCon DC50
A colorful background graphic with a unique style.

Screenshot51

LightCMS52
The LightCMS website is known for its awesome coloring, textures and graphics.

Screenshot53

Sourcebits TangledDecals54
A very beautiful website, with colorful illustrations across the background, great type and grungy graphics.

Screenshot55

GoMediaZine56
A nicely detailed and colorful illustration the doesn’t detract from the content. This is also a good example of how colorful shapes can be mixed with black and white graphics.

Screenshot57

STUDIO7DESIGNS58
One more very popular website, because of the breathtaking background illustration.

Screenshot59

Phizz60
A mainly black and white illustration mixed into a colorful website.

Screenshot61

answerJam62
A very colorful minimalist website with simple shapes for illustrations.

Screenshot63

Adit Shukla64
A cool illustration that uses many different shapes but not too many colors, thus achieving a perfect balance.

Screenshot65

Iceberg66
Nice shapes and beautiful blue colors create a flowing design.

Screenshot67

Marchand de Trucs68
A quite stunning and extremely realistic illustration.

Screenshot69

Erguvan Platin Evlri70
A stylish watercolor background and a realistic illustration with interactive features.

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Starbucks72
Hand-drawn and illustrated graphics in a beautiful Flash-based layout.

Screenshot73

Viget Extend74
A colorful and creative header illustration.

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Vimeo76
A few simple graphics on a peaceful blue background.

Screenshot77

Go Glamping78
A cool layout with distinctive shapes and good color scheme.

Screenshot79

Twither80
Subtle cloud illustrations on a nice layout, with a great landscape illustration in the footer.

Screenshot81

IL FRUTTETO82
Simple shapes, great colors and gradients combine to make a completely illustrated website.

Screenshot83

Umbrella Today?84
Very realistic and detailed graphics with a great background design.

Screenshot85

Further Resources

You may be interested in checking out these further articles and related resources:

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Matt Cronin is an avid graphic designer, web designer/developer, Cocoa programmer, photographer, digital artist, and the like. He also enjoys writing, and does quite a bit of writing for Smashing Magazine. He is currently working on a startup called VAEOU, which will have new services coming soon.

  1. 1

    Nice one…. I personally a big fan of using Illustrations into modern designs. Although it’s not to easy to create these type of Illustrations in general but it all depends upon the priority level.

    Thanks Matt for this selection.

    DKumar M.

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  2. 2

    Some of this stuff seems recycled from other SM articles, but I like that Alamo Basement Illustration.

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  3. 3

    A very inspiring list as always. Thank you for listing WPCoder, I really enjoyed working with WPCandy on that project.

    1
  4. 4

    What’s up with the ugly, aliased Windows font rendering in all your screenshots? It really takes a way from a lot of the cool designs you post.

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  5. 5

    Excellent examples. Thanks for the inspiring roundup :)

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  6. 6

    I hate being “that guy” who points out something left off the list but the little illustration on http://ushahidi.com/ is quite nice.

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  7. 7

    very inspiring illustrations.

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  8. 8

    an inspiring list. i’ve always liked vimeo’s. and now i’m a fan of twither (those moving clouds rock)(and did you notice you can’t right click on them – does that mean they are not flash?) and dean oakley.

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  9. 9

    Those are puffins, not penguins on Rob Palmer’s site ;)
    Otherwise, very nice piece and rather inspirational designs :)

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  10. 10

    I love cartoons and I like this kind of illustration. My daughter and son love it too. Technically I know how to do it but to come up with a creative idea, I’m blank at this point. I’m a System guy but I like creative things.

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  11. 11

    @ sergi

    Twither does in fact use an embed flash object to create the cloud movement.

    @ Jonners

    Sorry, I’m a designer not a zoologist! I wouldn’t know the difference :)

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  12. 12

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    February 19, 2009 5:23 pm

    MacHeist web site is always gorgeous – graphic wise.

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  13. 13

    Simon Harlinghausen

    February 19, 2009 5:28 pm

    I love this article.

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  14. 14

    so apparently you have to illustrate in vector to be “excellent”

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  15. 15

    I like those

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  16. 16

    Wanna know a secret? Go to the Silverback site and resize the window horizontally. You’ll see the vines move in perspective.

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  17. 17

    What a wonderful selection, and great source of inspiration :D
    Take care guys!

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  18. 18

    I dunno, speaking as an illustrator I have really mixed feelings about this post. On one hand, it’s awesome to see illustration get some recognition, especially as used in web design where it’s not as commonly seen. On the other hand, the similarity in style here is depressing. I know vector illustration is the big thing with web 2.0 style, but after a while it all starts to look the same to me. There are a few examples that don’t fit the norm, but overall there’s a lot of sameness here. Throwing a texture on a vector illustration may make it a bit grunge, but it doesn’t make it look natural. Some different styles would be awesome to see, and if there not out there, well… maybe they should be.

    1
  19. 19

    Really rich websites being showcased here. Extremely mesmerising and informative. Thumbs up for the listing!

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  20. 20

    Nice examples

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  21. 21

    Thanks for the feature guys! :)

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  22. 22

    So inspiring!

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  23. 23

    As great as many of these designs are I can’t shake off the feeling that they are designing “learn how to read”-books for children and not a-ok sites adults. It’s like the dreaded kindergarten-like Windows XP’s theme all over again. It’s so cute and cuddly and childish in all the wrong ways, like Vimeo, Twither (lol title), IL FRUTTETO, old loft and many others.

    Design needs to grow up here IMHO.

    Radu Ceuca on the other hand, manages to avoid this and still stay fresh. Look at what he is doing if you want inspiration from this article. :3

    1
  24. 24

    sorry guys I’m a big fan of SM but almost all of these webiste already featured on your website…….. maybe it’s time to find some new websites

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  25. 25

    I love this stuff , thanks :)

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  26. 26

    Just for future reference, the cool “penguins” in the design for Branded07 are actually puffins.

    Close, but no cigar…

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  27. 27

    Arghhhh, why I’m not talented enough to create such beautiful stuff! Anyway, like it!

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  28. 28

    Poor & recycled

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  29. 29

    Why most of your articles keep repeating same designs?

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  30. 30

    Alok Jain:

    Because it’s colonthree-time! :3

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  31. 31

    All those illustrations can make any website really nice and creative, wonderful collection!

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  32. 32

    Beautiful, just beautiful

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  33. 33

    Hey, thanks for featuring our work (NewEraCapTalk)! Greetings from e1k!

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  34. 34

    Many of these won’t have universal appeal, especially of you’re already a designer or illustrator, but that’s more a matter of personal taste than anything.

    You may want to reconsider the compulsion to write a caption for every sample included as it may not be necessary to explain what’s probably quite obvious to the viewer already. Let the visuals speak for themselves.

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  35. 35

    I’d love to use some images like these for my website.
    Is there a place with ready-made ones available (preferably free :D)?
    Alternatively, are there any decent tutorials for creating images like that? I can create a simple web design but I wouldn’t know where to start with something like that without doing some tutorials first.

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  36. 36

    Nice list! I especially like the sheep wearing a rocket pack…

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  37. 37

    Gooooooood! design!

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  38. 38

    Props to the few sites listed here that actually allowed their illustrations to determine the layout of the site. All too often these days, everything is web 2.0 CMS, with graphics thrown in and around a template or theme.

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  39. 39

    I can’t help myself:
    A very clean website with some blue minimalist illustrations and really cool penguins. They aren’t penguins but are called Pufins, just so you know…

    0
  40. 40

    Wow! Some really amazing illustrations – just wish I had the time to something like this in my work!

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  41. 41

    Great post, and many really beautiful sites. Well done.

    One small point of fact – I think that the “really cool penguins”… are actually puffins. :-)

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  42. 42

    To echo another poster: -> so excellent illustration means a lot of vector-ish web 2.0 Illustrations?

    Is there any other style out there? Same thing with the grunge… the grunge pages are like web 2.0′s gothic twin sister…

    Yawn!

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  43. 43

    NOT PENGuIN, PUFFIn

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  44. 44

    Ron Evans: “grunge pages are like web 2.0’s gothic twin sister…”

    Quote of the Year…. lol

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  45. 45

    “Let the visuals speak for themselves.”

    THIS.

    /thread

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  46. 46

    Thanks for giving the Go Mediazine a shout in this list. Very greatful!

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  47. 47

    I love Smashing Magazine. I need a Smashing Magazine t-shirt.

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  48. 48

    Good to see DivVoted at the top. Have always loved that site!

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  49. 49

    Great post…!

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  50. 50

    Kool illustrations here’s one more http://www.boo-r-woo.com inspired from vimeo

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  51. 51

    Karl Francisco Fernandes

    February 22, 2009 11:38 pm

    I personally love Nick La’s n design studio… Great phoenix illustration at the top… You have to check it out…

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  52. 52

    Can it be that u always show the same sites? i mean they are good, but they are also well known. Look for some new stuff :)

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  53. 53

    Most of these are really cool illustrations, but don’t take advantage of the animation or interactive possibilities of the medium. Here’s a couple sites with cool illustrations that are more dynamic:
    http://www.thinkbrighthouse.com
    http://www.sweetwaterbrew.com
    http://www.mcbd.co.uk/

    The first two were designed by Toolbox9. The third was designed by MCBD

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  54. 54

    Petros Dimitriadis

    February 24, 2009 8:14 am

    Thank you for the add guys!

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  55. 55

    I really love most of them but K4 Laboratory impressed me

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  56. 56

    this is a complete package for a startup,but i also want to say apart of this web designing, developers should explore a software called Adobe AIR,which will turn out to be boon for developers.

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  57. 57

    There are some fantastic sites here, really inspirational.
    I love seeing illustrations used in websites, think they bring a lovely texture and feel to the screen.
    Particularly like the Starbucks site, very nice flash interface with a good use of sound.
    Adit Shukla’s landscape is pretty sweet too…
    Keep up the good work!

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  58. 58

    very beautiful collection. some of them at least :)

    check out http://myft.net, a page designed as a book with a lot of illustration!

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  59. 59

    Great Post
    I love viewing what others are up to.

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  60. 60

    Alberto Villalobos Solano

    February 25, 2009 10:32 pm

    Nice, its inspiring, cause lately i am using illustrations in my web design. even my own website has , you can wiew if you want!!

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  61. 61

    very beautiful collection.

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  62. 62

    Content Writing Advice

    February 26, 2009 8:06 am

    Great post. I personally like how Vimeo is designed, simple and clean.

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  63. 63

    Nice illustrations. What I like the most is the K4 Laboratory. It is really eye catching. I hope one day I will be able to create such beautiful and catchy header for my own blog.

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  64. 64

    Nice list!!

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  65. 65

    Bullshit. No one is W3C valid.

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  66. 67

    Nice list. I really like Marchand de Trucs.
    How about one more? Kinetic Shadows

    1
  67. 68
  68. 69

    very very cool! Thanks 4 list!

    1
  69. 70

    That’s a realy cool ressource for inspiration. Illustration in web design is so great that I wrote an article about it on my blog : graphismeo.com/ressources/illustration-webdesign-ressources-tutoriaux

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