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21 websites designers love that can spark ideas for non-designers

Sept 12, 2017Web design


If you want to keep up-to-date on business as an entrepreneur, you go to inc.com.

What if you want to keep up-to-date on design, where do you go? Especially if you're not a designer?

Here is a list of our favorite websites compiled by our studio, Birsel + Seck. These are the links we go to for inspiration, information and to remind ourselves of the power of design. They're not limited to design websites and are in fact intentionally eclectic to give us a holistic, big picture view.

If you want to innovate you need to be innovative in terms of your research. This is what I learned from Jim Long, who was the director of research at Herman Miller. In that spirit, I hope these links will provide you with a new perspective for your next research endeavor:

1. Core77: Premier design website. I have a soft spot for Core77 because the founders, Eric Ludlum and Stuart Constantine, launched it in a windowless studio next to mine in Pratt Engineering basement in 1995.

2. Kickstarter: Gives us an idea of what people like enough to support with their money and other ideas being put out into the world.

3. Futurism: Future of everything which means a lot of Elon Musk, robots and AI.

4. Fast.Co Design: Design meets business.

5. Scientific American: Science made relevant (most of the time).

6. Pinterest: Pictionary for anything and everything, but as importantly today's version of mood boards (much better than cutting and pasting pictures on Foamcore).

7. Behance: For reviewing design talent. Just click to open a portfolio.

8. Awwwards: Best visually clean websites.

9. Death To Stock: A great site for beautiful photographs sent monthly right to your desk.

10. Design Clever: A very simple, highly visual site for inspiration on everything design, from graphics and packaging to product to interiors.

11-15. Dezeen, DesignMilk, Designboom, The Dieline and Mocoloco are the must-view, classic, beautiful design websites.

16. Brainpickings: Maria Popova's incredible brain. She calls it "the inventory of the meaningful life." Every Sunday.

17. Pew Research Center: To keep up to date with statistics in a very diverse set of subjects--politics, social media, social trends, technology.

18. Medium: A lot of different contributors on a lot of different subjects, including but not limited to design and design thinking, with 3-4 minute reads.

19-20. Quartz and Quartz Africa: Curated to give us a wide perspective on daily news in a short amount of time. I especially like the section, "While You Were Sleeping."

21. Radio Garden: Design muse comes to music. Here is a world map with radios from all over the world. Turn the world and click on a radio on the other side of the world. Currently listening to FIP in France.

And when your eyes are glazing over from too much websurfing, visit Rafaël Rozendaal, a visual artist whose websites attract 50 million visits a year. Matisse's paper cut-outs meets Escher. Hypnotizing, simple and surreal.

This list is subjective and incomplete. Still, if you're not a designer, you now have a long, rich list to dive into to keep up to speed about design and the other things that inspire us. And if you are a designer, hope there are some new finds here for you too.

What are your favorites? Help us discover.

My special thanks to Yuka Hiyoshi, our favorite visual researcher who now works at Steelcase, and our wonderful team at Birsel + Seck: Bibi Seck, Seda Evis, Leah Caplan, Selin Sonmez and our intern Meltem Parlak, for helping compile this list.

By Ayse Birsel

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