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Category: Inspiration

This category is supposed to help you break your creativity block by exploring galleries of art, design and photography. It also features showcases of web designs (blogs, portfolios and online-shops) and design elements (navigation menus, search boxes). Different from Showcases, here you will more general and abstract ideas. The section covers galleries of beautiful photography, articles about influential artists and their styles as well as showcases of art and digital art.

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Search Results Design: Best Practices and Design Patterns

If you've been assigned to design or provide the architecture for a large e-commerce project or other information-heavy website whose success depends on content findability, it is vital that the design and layout of the search functionality for that website is considered carefully.

The search results page is the prime focus of the search experience, and can make or break a site's conversion rates. Therefore, bridging the gap between a user and the content or products they seek is a crucial factor in the success of any large website. The responsibility to design an effective search results page is best considered after a thorough examination of some of the features and functions found on search results pages from a number of popular niches.

Walmart In-Store & Online

In this article, we'll look at a number of trends and practices incorporated on a variety of websites. From this examination, we'll conclude with a summary of the best practices learned from the examples those sites have set.

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Showcase of Case Studies in Design Portfolios

Portfolio websites are critical for designers who want to get exposure for their work and attract new clients. While all portfolio sites will showcase the work of the designer, some have chosen to provide additional information about the project through case studies.

In this post we will be featuring more than 30 portfolio sites to show how they are using case studies from their own design projects to communicate with potential clients. Not all of them are referred to as "case studies" on the site, but all provide much more information than just giving a screenshot with the client's name.

Keystone Design Union

If you are considering ways to make your existing work more relevant or appealing to visitors who may be potential clients, providing case studies is one option. Take a look at the sites featured here and you may come up with some ideas of how they could be used on your own site.

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Showcase Of Music Night Clubs Web Designs

The time has come for the first showcase of music night club websites here on Smashing Magazine. We've scanned the Web up and down to find the most original and interesting online club identities. As usual, we have Flash websites and CSS eye candy. Please notice that the aim of the post was to showcase current web designs of music night clubs, so the gallery doesn't necessarily showcase most usable or most beautiful night club web designs out there.

Anzu

As we observed in the early Showcase of Fresh and Well-Designed Online Shops, the most obvious trend is the use of big bold pictures, either as backgrounds, headers or just side graphic elements thrown in the design mix. Most of them start playing music automatically (which is extremely annoying from the usability point of view), but in this case it's not weird or off-putting because they are music club websites after all.

Another trend is the use of bright, vivid colors and intense color schemes, borrowed from the clubs themselves. Also, Flash clearly dominates in such web-sites, presenting some very unconventional navigation menus and very distinctive layouts that aren't intuitive at all at the first glance.

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Horizontal Navigation Menus: Trends, Patterns And Best Practices

The horizontal navigation menu has become a mainstay in Web design. It is safe to say that nowadays most websites use some form of horizontal navigation to facilitate content browsing. The dominance of horizontal navigation over vertical (i.e. down a sidebar) is obviously due to the design and content limitations of the latter. Notably, CNN discovered those limitations before switching from vertical to horizontal a few years back.

There are, however, many styles of horizontal navigation in modern Web design. Some offer usability advantages for certain types of websites, while others are aesthetically better. In this article, we will focus on a variety of techniques and best practices to improve the usability of horizontal navigation bars, and we will note less effective styles. We'll also look at several trends that developers can choose from when working on the navigation design for their next project.

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How To Be A Samurai Designer

In this article we'll take a look at designing websites from a quite different perspective. We'll discuss some pearls of samurai wisdom from the book “Hagakure” by Yamamoto Tsunetomo and we'll learn to apply them to our Web-based, computer-bound Western life to become true samurai designers. We'll also get to know impressive examples of artworks that exhibit the samurai approach.

“Hagakure” (In the shadow of the leaves) is a collection of writings compiling the narrations of the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1719), who in his late years retired from his occupation and, as a hermit, recounted the wisdom of his warrior caste. Largely unknown for centuries, Hagakure became prominent in the 1930s and is considered today one of the most authoritative sources on the ethics of the samurai.

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Showcase of Fresh and Well-Designed Online Shops

E-Commerce websites are often thought of as typically being unattractive or poorly designed. In this post we will feature 35 appealing designs of online shops. Those featured in this post include examples from a variety of different industries and showcase several different styles of design.

Madsen Cycles

Throughout this showcase the most noticeable trend of well-designed e-commerce sites is the use of high-quality photos. Many of the sites use large images on the homepage, and product and model photography is always important for creating interest from visitors.

You may also be interested in these other posts from Smashing Magazine:

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TV Show Web Designs: Trends and Examples

Looking at websites from major industries that involve various forms of media can be interesting practice. In the past we have showcased websites from movies and from musicians on the Billboard charts, and today we'll feature the websites of more than 50 TV shows.

The websites of TV shows are intended to generate interest in the show to improve ratings, and to provide information about the show (and sometimes past episodes) for those people who are already fans of the show. To accomplish this they attempt to create an attractive, interactive website that appeals to visitors.

Californication

As you browse through the sites that are featured in this showcase, here are some of the trends that you may notice. Many, but not all, websites of TV shows are located on the networks domain. This helps to unify the websites of the various shows on the network and can even help visitors of the site to remember what network a particular show is on.

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If Famous Graphic Artists Were Web Designers…

Styles in design are described and classified in many ways. Sometimes they are given a moniker, like "Web 2.0," other times they are referred to by their appearance: grungy, minimalist, retro, big type. The people (and brands) to which modern design styles are attributed are as numerous as the styles themselves. Many designers look to a brand such as Apple as an example of great modern design because a designer's sensibility is infused into everything it does.

Even though many current styles and trends can be connected to recent design pieces, they do not originate there. So much modern design originated before computers and the Web were even a glimmer in the eye of their creators.

Article Cover

Looking back and drawing inspiration from very early graphic and print design is a current trend nowadays, but that is not the beginning of the story. As you go further back, you'll find groundbreaking design decades, even a century, ago. In this article we’ll explore inspirational paintings and artists who have influenced modern design. In reading this article, you will see some true evolution in design.

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Expand Your Development Skills With Creative Tech Projects

Even if you're an experienced Web developer, your next project doesn't have to be a website. Sometimes doing something outside of the usual Web developer's box is more fun and can even be educational. We'll try here to give you some inspiration on what to do on your next rainy day.

You can learn a lot by doing something other than building or designing a website. And if you stick with techniques that you can learn in a couple hours, you won't burden yourself either.

Nabaztag

As a Web developer, you have to constantly summon creativity and empathize with users. If you have a natural flare for design and usability, that's great. But our work can sometimes become inflexible and boring. We can lose our enthusiasm to try new things. To avoid this trap, we can strive to gain new insight by putting our common tools aside and exploring projects beyond the Web developer's usual environment.

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45 Amazing Examples of Code Generated and 3D CG Artworks

The most interesting thing we like about art is that it is independent of any medium; an artist can express himself without any limitations or restrictions by creating a wonderful and creative piece of art. A creative artist can come up with an inspirational and motivational thought and put that in their artwork in such a way that it becomes a masterpiece that dazzles our mind.

Screenshot

In this post we present some amazing examples of Code Generated, Algorithmic Abstract Artworks and CG Artworks. There are some really interesting platforms and libraries; by using them, artists can create unusual artworks. Most popular among these libraries are Flash Scripting, Generator.x, Processing (Java Based), openFrameworks (C Based) and for creating CG Art, artists are often using 3D Max, Maya, Zbrush, V Ray, Photoshop etc.

Hopefully, you’ll love them and will find them creative or inspirational. Please explore the further works of the artists linked below and also feel free to suggest other artworks in the comments to this post.

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Corporate Blog Design: Trends And Examples

With tens of millions of blogs online today, major corporations have started to recognize the value of a corporate blog for communicating with customers. However, corporate blogging is far different than the more traditional blogging that most of us encounter on a daily basis. Corporate blogging brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities that must be considered and addressed by the company in order for its users to have a positive experience.

Best Buy

In this article we’ll examine the issues that face corporate blogs, we’ll observe some current trends, and we’ll look at a large sample of blogs from companies of various sizes in a wide variety of industries.

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Unique TV Series Episodes That Inspire Creativity

Whatever creative field you are striving to excel in – whether it be graphic design, web development, blogging, or writing of another kind – inspiration can be gleaned from any creative field, even if that field is not directly related to what you personally do. As artists striving to stand out in our own niches, it is important that we notice and appreciate ground-breaking or otherwise imaginative work done in a broad range of artistic spectrums.

In this article you'll get inspiration from the area of creative writing in popular television series episodes from the past 40+ years, and we'll discuss how the creativity achieved in these particular episodes can motivate all of us, as artists, to always strive to prevent our creations from being too normal and predictable.

The artists who wrote or co-wrote the TV Series episodes that we're featuring here were accustomed to producing work in a familiar environment, in harmony with the shows' usual themes and settings. But in specific instances, those writers decided to create something unique that would long be remembered and appreciated. Some of the creativity was visual, other examples were more related to adjustments in theme, and others involved a little of both.

Let's review how these particular episodes were different from what came before, and hopefully this will inspire artists today to become motivated to similarly push their work to a new level.

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