Top 10 Sites for Designers: June 2016 Edition

This month’s Top 10 Sites for Designers shows you what happens when you let the least mature person in the room take the reins. From a mesmerizing journey into space exploration to educational resources that blend music and design, this edition is a wealth of website inspiration, tools and learning experiences. I recommend hitching up your headphones and diving in.

website inspiration for designers

1. DADA | dada.nyc

“DADA is the place where visual people draw together”—or so says the site’s Twitter account. But it’s more than that. Here, you can share visual conversations with other artists and creative. Make a drawing, and anyone in the world can reply with another drawing. It’s a spectacular way to connect, inspire creativity, and explore the way minds work together.

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2. In Space We Trust | inspacewetrust.org

I’m a sucker for space. (Space camp? Every summer of my childhood. Those free NASA posters released not too long ago? On my wall.) But this? This is next-level website inspiration. It’s a video-game-infographic-interactive-typographically-awesome timeline of landmark happenings in the world of space exploration. Even if you don’t swoon over Sputnik or moon over the moon like I do, check out this graphic masterpiece. You’ll learn something and come away dreaming of the design work. Plus, you can download some of the imagery as wallpapers.

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3. Pharrell Williams | pharrellwilliams.com

Those of you who attended HOW Design Live 2016 remember the incredible blend of music, culture, design and community that’s wholly entwined with Pharrell Williams’ work. You’ll find the same vibe on his website, which not only features a uniquely-tiled user interface, smooth animations and—naturally—great music, but also invites a sense of community and creativity. You can create a “fan card,” each of which represents a fan’s favorite project from the worlds of music, TV & film, social good, art & design, and fashion.

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4. Visual Center | javier.xyz/visual-center

This one is just what it sounds like: You use it to find the visual center of a given photo. For instance, the shot below shows the visual center of the blanket-bundled pug dog photo I selected (because it’s adorable). It also tells you how to line up the element center and the visual center of the photo.

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Also, here’s a larger version of that photo so you can absorb just how cute it is.

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Learn how to optimize websites and web content for better discoverability in SEO Strategies for Designers, a quick course for creatives and bloggers.


5. Green Honey | muyueh.com/greenhoney

This intriguing little project is both fun and educational. Based on his talk “Green Honey,” data visualization pro Muyueh Lee used Wikipedia to analyze and visualize the way color associations and work in different languages—specifically English and Chinese.

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6. VHS Retrominder | retrominder.tv

Ready for a blast from the past? The VHS Retrominder is an in-browser game that tests your knowledge of VHS-era films. Highly recommended for ‘80s and ‘90s kids. Works best in Google Chrome.

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7. Atlas of Potential Nations | emblemmatic.org/atlas

This strange and interesting tool creates computationally designed, entirely hypothetical nations, complete with flags. The creators themselves are likely to explain it better than I can:

With “Atlas of potential nations,” we aim to understand the mechanics behind the branding of nations. The group of nations’ symbols — name, heraldry, flag, map etc. — is quintessential to a nation’s branding and its sparked nationalism. Ironically though, each nation uses similar elements within their symbols to stand apart from others. All flags use — among other things — primary colors, abstract forms and iconic shapes. These are specific visual elements to make a flag ‘look like a flag.’ Similar to letters being a system to construct words, these visual elements build a system to construct flags. Emblemmatic uses statistical methods (markov chains) to understand and use these systems. We aim to computationally construct new not-yet-existent symbols to represent an endless stream of new potential nations. What defines a “Nation” as a branded and nationalistic entity when a new nation-brand is so easily made?

atlas-potential-nations

The flag generator isn’t particularly adept at creating aesthetically pleasing or balanced flags (see the star-ringed wheat of The Tongaritories or the curiously-layered dragon of Montemania I generated below), but then, as it turns out, neither are the nation states of the world.

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Theoretical flag of The Tongaritories download (1)

Theoretical flag of Montemania


Learn how to create websites that meet your clients needs and expectations while freeing up your creativity in Paul Boag’s online workshop, Principles of Client Centric Web Design.


8. DONGURI | don-guri.com

Design consulting firm DONGURI created this lovely, illustrative, animated website design, complete with insightful case studies, fantastic imagery and exceptional typography.

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 9. The Evolution of Musical Taste | polygraph.cool/history

Part interactive infographic, part musical journey, this site takes you through every top 5 song from 1958-2016 to show how music tastes evolved over time. Don’t miss studio Polygraph’s other awesome projects, like NBA Comebacks, Film Dialogue and Rappers Sorted by the Size of Their Vocabulary.

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10. Waaark | waaark.com

Waaark is a web design studio based in France. Its web design includes lovely typography, slick animated elements and transitions, and interesting slideshow effects—great website inspiration for those looking to implement out-of-the-box features.

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MDS_DiveIntoDesignHistory-500Related Resources: 

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