The Web's Most Gorgeously Designed Websites

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:: By DJ Miller ::


Stagnant websites simply can't keep up in the continually evolving online world. Those that update often and experiment bravely with an eye to gorgeous, yet functional design are sure to grab visitors' attention. These top sites feature striking design elements that help them stand out at the head of the pack.

BBC – Design Across Platforms

Image via BBC.com

BBC's most recent page design features a look that's strikingly similar to what you expect in a mobile app. Don't be surprised if you're tempted to swipe your finger across your computer screen, even though you don't have a touch-screen monitor. The Web page features eye-catching images that quickly grab your attention and pull you into the stories. The site uses this same design across all platforms including tablets and smart phones.

Elysium Burns – Bold Typography

Image via elysiumburns.com

A diverse choice of eye-catching sans serif fonts gives Elysium Burns a memorable look. Article titles and site headings sit against subtle CSS image backgrounds. The simple white on charcoal color scheme really allows the shape and flow of the typography to take center stage on this page.

Disney – Highly Responsive Video Design

Image via disney.com

Responsive design is essential for any site, but creating a page that's user-friendly on any platform is more difficult for some features than others. Disney's site prominently features high-quality videos, so the challenge of their redesign was maintaining video size and quality across platforms. The result is a simple streamlined design that showcases video beautifully on any device.

Web Design Ledger – Where Serif and Sans Serif Meet

Image via webdesignledger.com

The intriguing look of Web Design Ledger combines both serif and sans serif fonts. The striking difference in font styles throughout the site effectively draws your eye to certain features, such as reader comments. Though this is an unconventional choice of typography styles, it works well in this simple text-heavy layout.

Combadi – High-Impact Images

Image via combadi.com

A growing number of sites now use large, high-impact images on their home pages to draw customers in. Though typography has its place, designs like these allow the eyes to rest a bit and take in something refreshingly different. Combadi features both a large image at the top of the page and a series of smaller images for added eye candy further down.

The Verge – Story Collage Layout

Image via theverge.com

The Verge features a story collage that highlights top features in a clean and visually pleasing way. Each headline is given ample space in its own candy colored box so the titles don't crowd each other out. Though the site has lots of content, visitors don't feel overwhelmed thanks to this simple design choice.

USA Today – Customizable Experiences for Every User

Image via usatoday.com

USA Today's design is simple and clean, making it easy to browse massive amounts of information in a short amount of time. This rigid layout is perfect for a site where readers want to navigate to items of interest as quickly as possible. One of the highlights of USA Today's site design is the viewing option, which allows readers to choose from a list or grid format. This allows for fast and easy customization to suit the tastes of each visitor.

A List Apart – Extreme Readability

Image via alistapart.com

With so many flashy and colorful design options available, it's easy to get swept away in the visual aspects of site design and forget about the finer points of readability. This is where A List Apart truly excels. The headlines, subheadings, quotes, and article body all feature clean fonts chosen with reader comfort in mind. The content itself is well-organized and flawlessly edited as well so your eye travels easily from one short digestible paragraph to the next.

Mea Cuppa Sweets & Coffee – Striking yet Simple Color Choice

Image via meacuppa.be

The stunning color choice of Mea Cuppa immediately grabs the visitor's attention. With a clean palette of black, white, and yellow, the imagery doesn't take away from the content, but rather makes the viewer want to hang around and feast on the delicious visuals for a while longer. This design proves that less is more and simplicity isn't inherently boring.

Postable – Fast Functionality

Image via Postable.com

Postable's purpose is simple. Users sign up for the free service which sends links out to their friends and family asking for updated contact information. Fittingly, the site design for this service is simple and easy to use as well. Three points clearly lay out everything the service does and a short sign up form lets you start in seconds. There's no clutter, no confusion, and no excess in this functional design.

Oliver Russell – Sleek Graphics and Simple Color Choice

Image via OliverRussell.com

Oliver Russell's page highlights his marketing services in a sleek design that speaks to his professionalism and Web expertise. The palette features bold warm oranges and yellows with a bright touch of cyan. Finding what you want is easy so visitors never get lost on this well-designed page.

University of Notre Dame – Strong Graphics and Cutting-Edge Design

Image via nd.edu

The University of Notre Dame handily broke out of the college website mold with their new design. Bold images highlight the campus in a visually enticing way that can't help but draw visitors in. A simple static toolbar at the top makes navigation easy from anywhere on the page. The responsive design looks just as striking on mobile phones as it does on a standard desktop.

Starbucks – Meeting Mobile Needs

Image via Starbucks.com

Not surprisingly, Starbucks found that a growing number of visitors were accessing the site on mobile devices. In answer to the clear need for a better mobile site, they moved to a responsive design that's equally functional across platforms. The images are simple and deliciously enticing while the functionality is everything users need, allowing visitors to find a store or check gift card balances right on their phones.

Web design is a continuously evolving field and innovation is essential for any business to stay at the top. Browsing these beautiful sites will give you plenty of inspiration for enhancing your own page design.


Author Bio:

DJ Miller is a graduate student at the University of Tampa. He is an avid gadget geek who spends most his time writing on anything tech related. His specialty is Web design and optimizing sites for mobile devices and ultrabooks. You can follow him on twitter @MillerHeWrote.

 
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21 comments

BrianL 05-09-2013 3:01 PM

I went to this article and hoping to be blown by the designs. I genuinely feel the aesthetics of our website are stronger than the image samples. You tell me.www.localtrafficbuilder.com/effective-websites.html

SteveM 05-09-2013 3:06 PM

If these are examples of what you think are "The Web's Most Gorgeously Designed Websites", I would love to see your list of badly designed site. I see nothing special, nothing to make me go WOW.

JeffW 05-09-2013 3:17 PM

These examples are not even close to some of the sites I have seen that are really well designed  It seems this article is just picking out design elements that may be great but do not make the site great.

www.rexxindustrialparts.com

ThomasC 05-09-2013 3:25 PM

As with all art forms, opining as to what constitutes "the best" is purely subjective .... as are the author's examples within this piece.

RickeyG 05-09-2013 4:47 PM

Gotta disagree with the "not so good" comments. I found this to be a great mix of well-designed sites and interesting color palettes.

MatthewH 05-09-2013 11:47 PM

To each his own, but I can't say I'm a fan of these examples.  While they are unique, I find them messy and hard to follow.  Some aspects of them are cool, but not very user friendly.  

This is the style I prefer:

www.artonicweb.com/portfolio-examples.php

RobertF 05-10-2013 3:17 AM

anyone any good ideas what I need to to to my website to improve the design,   I am not a design expert as you can see but would like some advise on the non mobile version.

www.grabit.ie

Thanks

Dave 05-10-2013 7:45 AM

I completely agree with the other comments that don't agree with this article. Nothing in this list is worthy of being considered part of the "Web's Most Gorgeously Designed Websites", unless these are the only websites on the internet. One of your choices (WDL) has plenty of examples on their own site of exceptionally beautiful web designs that completely blow these out of the water.

AlekseyB 05-10-2013 9:51 AM

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that these designs are, to put it mildly, horrible. I'm not a designer but I work with them and these are not the 10 best website designs, not even close. Hell, this page looks better than some of the websites listed.

JohnO 05-10-2013 12:53 PM

agree with the others - what a let down selection - particularly USA Today - it's the most annoying site out there!

Rafael Montilla 05-10-2013 6:11 PM

Some of them are very good design, other I do not like.

I would like you to see 2 web design, we did.

http://www.holemgroup.com

http://jaroszarch.com  (Minimalist design)

TomF 05-10-2013 6:12 PM

Wow.  Most of you came here because you are curious as to how your website compares to these examples, sad as they may be.

Don't you realize how you're being manipulated and controlled?

This is OUR internet, there is no RIGHT or WRONG!

Google doesn't count, unless of course, you decide they do.

If everyone quit playing the SEO game we'd be so much better off.

CherieY 05-11-2013 12:16 PM

We have killer custom websites too - check out the moose kissing on

http://www.kenahomes.com

or a flavor of Tommy Bahama on an older design

www.bigislandoceanfront.com

or hug a mermaid on:

http://www.livebythesea.com

Cherie Young

CherieY 05-11-2013 12:29 PM

I forgot to add a few other designs too:

www.beautifulcustommaps.com

http://www.JeffWysard.com

www.elizabethweintraub.com

http://www.AlaskaHomesTeam.com - cool map coming on this one

http://www.mncsoftware.com

Thank you for looking :)

Cherie Young

JamieT 05-16-2013 3:58 PM

I'm afraid I have to agre with the general consensus here -- these designs are pedestrian at best. It's true that good design is subjective, but bad design sticks out like a sore thumb.

These are bad designs.

ShafiF 05-16-2013 4:49 PM

The problem I see with these designs is that they seemed to be done by technical folks - people who have no knowledge of the business at hand. A design must be done by both technical and business folks. Business guys must have a big say in the design. These are amateurish at best. Any design that annoys the visitor must be redone.

GeoffV 05-17-2013 9:02 AM

I have never liked fixed-width websites since the day I first laid eyes on them back in the late 90s.  Mobile devices have forced us to deal with smaller screens but why has the design world ignored larger screens?

Pakistan Web Design 09-09-2013 8:06 AM

A good design engages and helps build trust. Specific elements like typography and big images draw attention to the eye. The proven approach in designing is not to exceed with any element which can distort the overall feel and balance of the design layout.

Pakistan Web Design 09-09-2013 8:19 AM

There is a healthy discussion over internet regarding key challenges web designers have faced the most recently. Of course, RWD is the hot trending topic. Businesses are either moving on to create mobile versions of their websites or a Responsive design- transforming existing website into responsive to make them fit for all the devices.

web design in maryland 11-07-2013 9:37 AM

a good designed website should not only look good but have the proper conversion elements. a website has only 3-4 seconds to capture a visitors attention. if your website doesnt deliver a message that clearly states the WIIFM (whats in it for me) benefit will leave. its much harder than it seems. 95% of website fail at this.

CherieY 05-14-2014 3:23 PM

There are some nice designs here, very clean.  We design heavy theme based designs, and appreciate the cleaner styles as well.  Here are a couple new designs:

http://www.kenairealestate.com

http://www,skiptheoutfit.com (our clothing optional REALTOR :)

www.beautifulcustommaps.com

http://www.cherieyoung.com

I love see new inspiration.  

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