20 of the Best Website Homepage Design Examples

You never get a second chance to make a first impression — that’s why your homepage is undoubtedly one of the most important web pages on your website.

For any given company, the homepage is its virtual front door. If a new visitor doesn’t like what they see, their knee-jerk reaction is to hit the “back” button.

That’s right — unfortunately, a lot of people still judge a book by its cover.

What makes a website’s homepage design brilliant instead of blah? Well, it takes more than looks alone — it also has to work well. That’s why the most brilliant homepages on this list don’t just score high in beauty, but also in brains.

Download our full collection of website homepage examples here to inspire your own homepage design. 

But before we dive into the examples, let’s dissect some of the best practices of homepage design.

What Makes a Good Website Homepage Design

All of the homepage designs shown here utilize a combination of the following elements. Not every page is perfect, but the best homepage designs get many of these right:

1) The design clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”

If you’re a well-known brand or company (i.e., Coca-Cola) you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.”

Steven Krugg sums it up best in his best-selling book, Don’t Make Me Think: If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.

2) The design resonates with the target audience.

A homepage needs to be narrowly focused — speaking to the right people in their language. The best homepages avoid “corporate gobbledygook,” and eliminate the fluff.

3) The design communicates a compelling value proposition.

When a visitor arrives on your homepage, it needs to compel them to stick around. The homepage is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors’.

4) The design is optimized for multiple devices.

All the homepages listed here are highly usable, meaning they are easy to navigate and there aren’t “flashy” objects that get in the way of browsing, such as flash banners, animations, pop-ups, or overly-complicated and unnecessary elements. Many are also mobile-optimized, which is an incredibly important must-have in today’s mobile world.

5) The design includes calls-to-action (CTAs).

Every homepage listed here effectively uses primary and secondary calls-to-action to direct visitors to the next logical step. Examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.”

Remember, the goal of the homepage is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t get overwhelmed or lost. More importantly, CTAs turn your homepage into a sales or lead-generation engine, and not just brochure-wear.

6) The design is always changing.

The best homepages aren’t always static. Some of them are constantly changing to reflect the needs, problems, and questions of their visitors. Some homepages also change from A/B testing or dynamic content.

7) The design is effective.

A well-designed page is important to building trust, communicating value, and navigating visitors to the next step. As such, these homepages effectively use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements.

Now, get ready to learn about excellent homepage design through the following 16 real-life examples.

Website Design Inspiration: 20 of the Best Homepage Designs

1) FreshBooks

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s easy to consume. There is much debate on whether short or long homepages work better. If you choose to do the latter, you need to make it easy to scroll and read — and that’s exactly what this site does. It almost acts like a story.
  • There’s great use of contrast and positioning with the primary calls-to-action — it’s clear what the company wants you to convert on when you arrive.
  • The copy used in the calls-to-action “Get Started for Free” is very compelling.
  • FreshBooks uses customer testimonials on the homepage to tell real-world stories of why to use the product.
  • The sub-headline is also great: “Join over 10 million small business owners using FreshBooks.” FreshBooks expertly employs social proof — 10 million is a big number — to compel its target audience to join their peers and try the tool.

2) Airbnb

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • It includes the destination and date search form that most visitors come looking for, right up front, guiding visitors to the logical next step.
  • The search form is “smart,” meaning it’ll auto-fill the user’s last search if they’re logged in.
  • The primary call-to-action (“Search”) contrasts with the background and stands out; but the secondary call-to-action for hosts is visible above the fold, too.
  • It offers suggestions for excursions and getaways Airbnb users can book on the same site as their lodgings to get visitors more excited about booking their trip on the site. It also shows which of these offerings are most popular among other users.

3) Mint

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s a super simple design with a strong, no-jargon headline and sub-headline.
  • The homepage gives off a secure but easy-going vibe, which is important for a product that handles financial information.
  • It also contains simple, direct, and compelling call-to-action copy: “Sign up free.” The CTA design is also brilliant — the secured lock icon hits home the safety message once again.

4) Dropbox (Business)

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Dropbox carries over its simple design and branding. It includes only what is important: A large, relevant image with supporting copy, and a “Try free for 30 days” call-to-action button
  • Dropbox’s homepage and website is the ultimate example of simplicity. It limits its use of copy and visuals and embraces whitespace.
  • Its sub-headline is simple, yet powerful: “The secure file sharing and storage solution that employees and IT admins trust.” No need to decode jargon to figure out what Dropbox really does.

5) 4 Rivers Smokehouse

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Drool. That’s what I think when I arrive at the website for 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Combined with great photography, the headline “Brisket. 18 years to master. Yours to savor.” sounds like an experience worth trying.
  • The parallax scrolling guides you on a tour through the services, menu, and people having a great time — a great use of this popular design trend.
  • The only negative? I don’t live close enough to this place. Boo.

6) Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • The headline and sub-headline appeal to the visitors’ emotional side: “Work With a Company That Gets It”; “Trust us. We’ve been there too! We’ll find jobs where you can thrive.” That value proposition is unique and compelling.
  • It’s hard to tell from the screenshot above, but the headline is on a rotating carousel that caters to specific personas, from job applicants to people searching for a therapist for their schools.
  • There are several pathways visitors can take when they arrive on the page, but the calls-to-action are positioned well, worded simply, and contrast with the rest of the page.

7) Jill Konrath

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s simple and gets straight to the point. From the headline and sub-headline, it’s clear exactly what Jill Konrath does (and how she can help your business).
  • It also gives easy access to Jill’s thought leadership materials, which is important to establishing her credibility as a keynote speaker.
  • It’s easy to subscribe to the newsletter and get in touch — two of her primary calls-to-action.
  • The pop-up subscription CTA uses social proof to get you to join her thousands of other fans.
  • It includes news outlet logos and testimonials as social proof.

8) Evernote

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Over the years, Evernote has turned from a simple note-saving app into a suite of business products. This isn’t always easy to convey on a homepage, but Evernote does a nice job packaging many potential messages into a few key benefits.
  • This homepage uses a combination of rich, muted colors in the video and its signature bright green and white highlights to make conversion paths stand out.
  • Following a simple headline (“Remember Everything”), the eye path then leads you to its call-to-action, “Sign Up For Free.”
  • Evernote also offers a one-click signup process through Google to help visitors save even more time.

9) Telerik by Progress

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Stuffy enterprise” isn’t the feeling you get when you arrive at Telerik’s website. For a company that offers many technology products, its bold colors, fun designs, and videography give off a Google-like vibe. Just one important aspect to making visitors feel welcome and letting them know they’re dealing with real people.
  • I love the simple, high-level overview of its six product offers. It’s very clear way of communicating what the company does and how people can learn more.
  • The copy is lightweight and easy to read. It speaks the language of its customers.

10) eWedding

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • For those love birds planning their big day, eWedding is a great destination to building a custom wedding website. The homepage isn’t cluttered and only includes the necessary elements to get people to starting building their websites.
  • The sub-headline “Over 800,000 wedding websites built!” is great social proof.
  • It’s included excellent product visuals, a great headline, and a call-to-action that reduces friction with the copy, “Start website.”

11) Basecamp

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • For a long time, Basecamp has had brilliant homepages, and here you can see why. It often features awesome headlines and clever cartoons.
  • The call-to-action is bold and above the fold.
  • In this example, the company chose a more blog-like homepage (or single page site approach), which provides much more information on the product.
  • The customer quote is a bold and emphatic testimonial speaking to the benefits and results of using the product.

12) charity: water

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • This isn’t your typical non-profit website. Lots of visuals, creative copy, and use of interactive web design make this stand out.
  • The animated header image is a great way to capture attention.
  • It employs great uses of video and photography, particularly in capturing emotion that causes action.

12) TechValidate

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • This homepage is beautifully designed. I particularly love the use of whitespace, contrasting colors, and customer-centric design.
  • The headline is clear and compelling, as are the calls-to-action.
  • There’s also a great information hierarchy, making it easy to scan and understand the page quickly.

13) Chipotle

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • The homepage is a great example of agility and constant change. Chipotle’s current homepage is all about the forthcoming holiday, which it uses as a unique value proposition to get you to start clicking through your site. When I think Chipotle, I don’t necessarily think about catering, but the site is a great reminder to consider different uses for the burritos you already know and love.
  • The food photography is detailed and beautiful, and it actually makes me hungry looking at it. Now that’s an effective use of visuals.

14) Medium

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • This is perhaps one of the best uses of whitespace I’ve seen. It allows Medium’s app tagline and photo to take center stage while still drawing your eye to the darker section titles on the site.
  • Medium makes it easy to sign up — on the site, or with a simple text message to your mobile phone. I’m much more responsive to a text than an email, so this is a great strategy to keep people engaged in the signup process.
  • The homepage uses social proof to get visitors to start clicking around: The “Popular on Medium” and “Staff Picks” sections let me know where to find high-quality content.

15) Digiday

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • Unlike other online news publications that inundate homepages with as many headlines and images as possible, Digiday’s first section showcases just one article. Its featured image (in this case, a scary one) is eye-catching, and the headline is just asking to be clicked now that the visitor has an idea of what they’re going to read.
  • The top of the homepage, where websites normally showcase a ton of different sections and options to click through, only has one icon to click — which leads you to a subscription page.

16) KIND Snacks

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • The bold colors produce contrast, making the words and images stand out on the page.
  • The CTA — “Shop KIND” — is clever. It urges the visitor to click to learn more while making a play on the word “kind” — implying that it’s a good choice to shop there.
  • KIND Snacks’ tagline is straight up brilliant — when I read it, the message immediately resonated and made me want to read the snack bar’s label.

17) Ahrefs

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • The color contrast between the blue, white, and orange colors is eye-catching and makes the headline and CTA pop.
  • The sub-headline and CTA are a compelling pair: To be able to start tracking and outranking competitors for free is a great offer.
  • The homepage presents a multitude of options for the visitor, but it isn’t cluttered thanks to the solid background and simple typography.

18) A24 Films

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • The film company’s homepage is made up of only trailers for its new films. We know video content is format audiences want to see more of, and this is a great strategy to showcase A24’s work in a highly engaging way.
  • At the top of the homepage, A24 immediately offers a myriad of ways to get in touch via social media and email — something I appreciate as a visitor when so many other sites bury contact information at the bottom of the page.

19) Ellevest

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Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Invest Like a Woman: Because money is power.” These headlines are powerful and make me want to learn more about the product — both as a woman, and as someone interested in making smart financial choices.
  • The images show, rather than tell, one of the company’s value propositions: a desktop site and mobile app that move with you.
  • “Get Started” is a great CTA — in fact, we use it ourselves here at HubSpot. When clicked, it takes visitors through a few simple steps to set up a profile and start investing.

20) HubSpot

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Why It’s Brilliant (If We Do Say So Ourselves)

  • The LEGO characters catch your attention (because they’re cute), then they cleverly illustrate and reinforce the messaging in the headline and sub-headline.
  • It bears another eye-catching “Get Started” CTA — with bonus microcopy detailing our free versions users can choose to upgrade in the future.
  • Throughout the homepage, our bright blue and orange color themes keep returning to draw your eye to links and CTAs.

 

30 Bold and Clean Web Designs for Inspiration

Making design choices for your website can be a daunting task. Sometimes, you’re not sure what’s going on, or what direction to take your web design. Well, that’s where Betterment comes in. We don’t want you to get overwhelmed (or be without inspiration), so for this post.

But what makes bold and clean so special, you might ask?

The interwebs are a big place, and it can be easy for your site to blend in and get lost, unless you’ve purposefully designed it to stand out. Bold, clean designs draw attention and make browsing easy for users. Bold makes a statement, while cluttered, mundane websites make users bounce before you’ve even had the chance to tell them what you’re all about. Clean design also helps the right things stand out (like your CTA) and minimizes distractions. Check out the picks below, and let me know what you think.

Here are 30 bold and clean web designs for your inspiration.

30 Sites to Inspire You

1

Everlane

With a “back to basics” theme, Everlane (or, as I’d call it, Everlasting Awesomeness) is cutting out the fluff with a clean design and bold font.

2

Catscarf

This site features a big photograph of a pretty suave-looking cat wearing a cat scarf (yeah, you read that right — cat scarves for sale). We see the über chic name of the featured scarf and a perfectly placed CTA just below. What do users do? They shop. When do they shop? RIGHT MEOW!

3

THISISPAPER

Like Catscarf, THISISPAPER also features a great full-size image that draws your eye right to the CTA. Buy a copy? Don’t mind if I do!

4

Falve

A carousel of color-rich, full-page images with a clean, simple, sans serif font welcomes you on the homepage and implores you to stay.

5

Brave People

Check out the Brave People page, and you’re greeted with brave design. Bold, big photography and parallax design are complemented nicely by the mouseover effect on the photos of the team.

6

Intersection

Intersection’s site puts you on the street of a big city, looking up at a skyscraper — and directly at the site menu.

7

You know what else is bold? Working with us.

Do you love tackling fun & challenging design projects? Get a huge thrill out of solving complex business problems for smart, ambitious clients with innovative design? Do you find your happy place while savoring the perfect cup of coffee in the morning? Weird, so do we! We’re hiring for a senior UX/UI Designer just like you. See what it’s like to work with us

8

Harry’s

With another carousel, Harry’s cycles through high quality images with sans serif fonts. Each slide bears a smart description of their razors and accessories.

9

GC Watches

GC Watches is presenting you with a timeless design: clear copy next to bold images.

10

Squarespace

Interactive graphics? Yes, please! Squarespace takes the bold image up a notch with animation.

11

Jun Lu

This design company knows what they’re doing. A neutral, gray background lets the product images take center stage.

12

Jonathan Decosta

One word: grayscale. This site shows just how bold black-and-white can be.

13

Escape Committee

Red is a power color, and Escape Committee boldly embraces it as their accent color.

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14

Wondersauce

Opposites attract for Wondersauce, a digital development company that uses a clean, white font on a natural woodgrain background.

15

Nixon

Nixon splits its site with bilateral symmetry, with one side for each sex. Grayscale photos of a man and a woman facing the simple, three-option menu directs users right where they need to go.

16

IWC Schaffhausen

IWC Schaffhausen offers visitors a window into nature from the computer to introduce visitors to the aquatimer collection; it’s an unexpected and refreshingly clean design for a watch manufacturer.

17

Doug Aitken: The Source

A brief intro flashes photographs across the screen with soft, pulsating music. After the intro, video interviews continue with each creative individual in his project. A bold choice; as we recently discussed, video can be tricky.

18

Spotify

Scroll beyond the hook & promise, and you’ll hit a design explosion. Big, high definition photographs dominate the page, which is complete with parallax scrolling and a clear CTA.

19

Britney Spears

It’s Britney, bitch. But in all seriousness, the design team nails it with a high quality image and just Britney’s name. Because she needs no introduction.

20

Google Glass

The Google Glass rolls through striking full-page images of different people wearing Google Glass in different situations for a simple-yet-bold design choice.

21

Shaun White

The snowboarder’s site greets you with an excellent action shot of him in the clouds. If you’re into snowboarding, this picture is definitely going to capture your attention.

22

Jack Daniels

Once you get past the age verification, the black-and-white branding is carried throughout the home page, which greets you with a carousel featuring different varieties of the whiskey.

23

Crop the Block

Crop the Block truly showcases their filmmaking cred with a great selection of stunning video clips and exquisitely paired typography.

24

Symbolset

A color-changing background with animated white type make this site one-of-a-kind.

Home“>
25

Whiteboard

Whiteboard packs a punch with their single-page design, bold contrasts, and mouseover effects.

26

Liberio

Liberio declares simplicity with flat design. The site delivers with inviting graphics on a muted gold background. The warm, happy graphics of people, representative of three potential groups of product users, blink and smile at you, which is a nice touch.

27

Dropbox

Sometimes less is more. Dropbox makes a clean entrance on their homepage with a white background and blue illustration.

28

Simone Marcarino

Hey, his page title says it, and I agree: smashing design. Marcarino uses bold colors with a minimalist honeycomb design combined with a striking mouseover effect.

29

Cambridge Healthcare

Healthcare providers rarely have websites with nice design, but Cambridge does. The vital info is showcased within a monochromatic blue color scheme.

30

Pulse

With the home page horizontally divided by color and content, Pulse provides bold contrast with simple, clean graphics.

31

Dropify

Warm, bright, exciting colors make the hero area of this single-page design really pop. Further down the page, the bright colors are contrasted with a simple, white background.

So, what’s going on?

You may have noticed a commonality among many of the designs — high quality images, along with white, non-serif font on a color background. While that design trend demands attention, those aren’t the only design routes you can take. Bold, clean and visually exciting web design can come in many formats from videos to static graphics, grayscale to bold color, and full-page photo backgrounds to sliders. Bold comes in a variety of flavors, and it’s up to you to pick the bold flavor that works for your project.

Hopefully, you’ve got a lot of inspiration and have an idea of how you’ll embolden your next site design. Let me know what you thought of these choices — and what you think about bold, clean design. We love your feedback!

50 Beautiful Examples of Minimalism in Modern Web Design

All designers have different interpretations of what minimal web design truly is, but most would agree that the purpose of an effective minimally designed web page is to layout the content in such a way that no single element distracts attention from the visual hierarchy. And the key to achieving minimal distraction is to initially have a well-structured backbone focused on the comparative space relation between the fundamental elements of the web page.

Although, minimal design does seem to have evolved ever so slightly over the last few years, especially within web design. Trends, techniques, and user expectations have changed and quite remarkably this has resulted in alterations to the look and feel of what we would typically define as a minimal site.

Those boundaries that had previously existed between all mainstream web design trends have become blurry, resulting in a blend of styles, where only the best parts of each have been wisely selected to create a whole new minimal style. This is the modern web.

This gallery features 50 minimally designed sites that have not only stripped away all non-essential elements, but have also successfully absorbed other popular modern design trends, like over-sized typography and large imagery, simple yet effective navigation systems, long scrolling, carefully selected interactive elements, flat design, and all use the latest responsive techniques.

And, as you would expect from minimal web design, focus is firmly put on the content.

Another Pony

Another Pony modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Huge

Huge modern clean web design site inspiration example

Manuel Rueda

Manuel Rueda modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Bedow

Bedow modern clean web design site inspiration example

Adam Andrascik

Adam Andrascik modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Electric Bodies

Electric Bodies modern clean web design site inspiration example

MmD

MmD modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Reducing the Obvious

Reducing the Obvious modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Jorge Riera

Jorge Riera modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Design Co.Mission

Design Co.Mission modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Socialis

Socialis modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Jonathan da Costa

Jonathan da Costa modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Intersection

Intersection modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Tim Brack

Tim Brack modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Hatch Inc

Hatch Inc modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Trois Oiseaux

Trois Oiseaux modern minimal web design site inspiration example

McChillin

McChillin modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Cory Gibbons

Cory Gibbons modern minimal web design site inspiration example

AYR

AYR modern minimal design web site inspiration example

BKKR

BKKR modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Pieternel Vermoortel

Pieternel Vermoortel modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Lexican

Lexican modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Arne Meister

Arne Meister modern minimal design web site inspiration example

Mike Kus

Mike Kus modern minimal web design site inspiration example

Brault & Barnes Design

Brault Barnes Design modern minimal design web site inspiration example

NewVision

NewVision modern clean web design site inspiration example

Sang Han

Sang Han modern minimal design web site inspiration example

The Mobile Index

The Mobile Index modern clean web design site inspiration example

Kerem Suer

homepage of Kerem Suer inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Daniel Benneworth-Gray

inspiration Daniel Benneworth-Gray example modern minimalist web design

More Air

homepage of More Air inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Ale De Carvalho

inspiration Ale De Carvalho example modern minimalist web design

Another Pony

homepage of Another Pony inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Control Films

inspiration Control Films example modern minimalist web design

Andrew McCarthy

homepage of Andrew McCarthy inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Yaron Schoen

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Scytale

homepage of Scytale inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Gavin Potenza

inspiration Gavin Potenza example modern minimalist web design

Kyle Thacker

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Neue Yorke

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Hatch Inc

homepage of Hatch Inc inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Jim Ramsden

inspiration Jim Ramsden example modern minimalist web design

Ada Blackjack Shop

homepage of Ada Blackjack Shop inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Oak Street Bootmakers

inspiration Oak Street Bootmakers example modern minimalist web design

Refryed Design

inspiration Refryed Design example modern minimalist web design

Alistair Lane

homepage of Alistair Lane inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

CO OP

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John Sparrow

homepage of John Sparrow inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Shadow

inspiration Shadow example modern minimalist web design

Northbound Design

homepage of Northbound Design inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

ECC Lighting & Furniture

inspiration ECC Lighting & Furniture example modern minimalist web design

Cedric Vella

homepage of Cedric Vella inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Maier & Maier Photography

inspiration Maier & Maier Photography example modern minimalist web design

Clocksmiths

homepage Clocksmiths inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Belancio

inspiration Belancio example modern minimalist web design

Jean-Maxime Brais

inspiration Jean-Maxime Brais example modern minimalist web design

Sketchin

homepage of Sketchin inspirational example of modern minimalism in web design

Dumbo Townhouses

inspiration Dumbo Townhouses example modern minimalist web design

If you would like to take things further, take a look at the Ultra-Minimal web design trend.

15 Award-Winning Websites With Beautiful (And Functional) Designs

Every once in a while, I’ll come across a site that really makes me stop and think. A site that pushes the boundaries of what is known to be possible on the web. Whether it be the design aesthetic, usability, interactivity, sound design, or value that the site provides, we all know what it’s like to stumble across a masterpiece.

15 of the Best Website Designs to Inspire You

1) Feed

Not only is Feed an interesting concept, but it also has a stunning execution that challenges our understanding of what is possible on the web. Through a creative blend of animation and video, the site immerses the user into a very engaging experience. As an atypical site, it contains several unique usability elements as well, including a navigation that doubles as a scroll progress bar.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_4.50.49_PM.pngFeatured by Awwwards

2) ETQ

ETQ takes a very minimalistic approach to ecommerce with their stripped-down site with big, compelling visuals of their product. Simple, flat, color-based backgrounds accompanied by strong typography help to keep the focus on exactly what the user came there to see: shoes.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.16.53_PM.pngFeatured by Awwwards

3) Mikiya Kobayashi

Mikiya is a Product Designer with a minimalistic portfolio that showcases his work through strong photography and subtle animations. His full site was originally created in Japanese and then translated into English, helping demonstrate the international scalability of his design.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.26.55_PM.pngFeatured by Awwwards

4) The History of Climate Change

Follow the footsteps of Luc Jacquet as Wild-Touch takes you along this visual and educational journey about the history of global climate change. A mixture of historical media and unique animations help tell the story. 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-12_at_11.51.41_AM.pngFeatured by Awwwards

5) Virgin America

In a world where airline websites are known to be riddled with major usability issues, Virgin America has one of the best websites that pushes usability, accessibility, and responsive design forward. In fact, it’s been named as the first truly responsive airline website, a new precedent in the industry.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.38.01_PM.pngFeatured by UX Awards

6) World of SWISS

Another airline?! What is happening?! Yep, SWISS airlines built an incredibly immersive site that tells their story and describes what it’s like to fly with them — and they simply did too great of a job to be ignored. Strong visuals and animations introduce the user to different sections of the site that are packed with information beyond the usual sales and marketing pitch that is so common today.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.48.31_PM.pngFeatured by The Webby Awards

7) L.A. Times

While news sites aren’t exactly known for having the nicest designs or being the easiest to use, the Los Angeles Times site has been updated with a simple, newspaper-like design that’s easy to read and navigate.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.53.05_PM.pngFeatured by The Webby Awards

8) Minimums

Minimums takes a very bold approach to the way that they display their content, leveraging a grid-based website design, big typography, and full-width, high-quality images. Their site serves as a really nice example for how to properly execute a grid structure while still maintaining a nice visual hierarchy in the design.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_5.59.54_PM.pngFeatured by SiteInspire

9) Guillaume Tomasi

As a Photographer in Montreal, Guillaume Tomasi has built a portfolio that’s truly fit to house his unique and awe-inspiring photography. His surreal photo style is juxtaposed by his simple, flat, empty, and minimalistic portfolio design that places all of the focus on the work itself. His unique series navigation coupled with art-gallery-inspired work introductions and perfect scrolling interactions yield an experience reminiscent of that of a real gallery.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-11_at_4.56.41_PM.pngFeatured by SiteInspire

10) Killing Kennedy

Tons of media outlets covered the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, but because of its website design, National Geographic was able to stand out. Using parallax scrolling to display a blend of video, audio, and historical facts, the user is immersed in the story and duality of John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald’s lives.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_6.05.23_PM.pngFeatured by Think with Google

11) Big Cartel

Despite being a relatively large company, Big Cartel creates a very simple, straightforward, and compelling experience by leading with a creative headline, a video, and … pretty much nothing else. Simple navigation and nice examples of sites created with their platform helps to serve as supporting content that tells the rest of the story.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_6.16.10_PM.pngFeatured by BestWebsiteGallery

12) Beagle

Beagle does an exceptional job of visually and progressively telling the story of their product in a simple and easy-to-digest way. This is a major challenge for many startups, especially when they’re introducing new concepts to existing markets. People want to know, “What is your product? How does it work? Why do I care?” Beagle answers all those questions while simultaneously showing off their product and compelling the user to purchase. Plus, they’re one of few sites that actually implemented “scroll hijacking” correctly. 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-11_at_5.30.07_PM.pngFeatured by BestWebsiteGallery

13) Woven Magazine

Woven is an online publication that celebrates artists, craftsmen, and makers alike. To me, they represent a confirmation that publications can (and should) have beautiful, engaging sites with easy-to-read content. Free of distractions like pop-ups and obtrusive ads, this site all about the experience of the content itself.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-11_at_5.44.09_PM.pngFeatured by BestWebsiteGallery

14) Inside Abbey Road

Google knocked it out of the park with this highly interactive site, which allows users to step into the Abbey Road Studios. Brilliant sound design, navigation mechanics, and visuals mixed with the usual “Google flair” all help draw visitors in to this well-made site.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_6.20.06_PM.pngFeatured by FWA

15) JOHO’s Bean

The website for JOHO’s Bean has incredible imagery, interactivity, story telling, visual design, and most of all, sound engineering. These all come together to create a compelling, emotional, and engaging site that tells the story of a coffee bean’s journey. 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-11_at_5.23.01_PM.pngFeatured by FWA

What websites do you admire — and why? Let us know in the comments. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 

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