Even if you always design websites from scratch, it’s wise to take a look at the many inspirational ways that other designers have made templates their own. For instance, many of the available WordPress templates are impressive, to begin with, but they take on new life with the right touch.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most intriguing examples.
- Greenwich Library
Most government related websites are flat, boring and stuck in the design trends of at least five years ago. Fortunately, Greenwich Library has broken free of this mold, which makes their offering an inspiration for any designer who is tasked with updating a government run site. The responsive design loads quickly, provides key information in a highly visible location and includes a slick interface that makes navigating the site easy for anyone. It’s also a nice touch that the header photograph changes with the seasons.
- Travel Portland
Travel sites have to walk a fine line between being visually appealing and helpful. After all, the most beautiful design in the world isn’t going to boost tourism revenue if the site doesn’t provide basic details.
Fortunately, the team behind the custom Travel Portland template was able to capture the city’s unique vibe without making the website difficult for people to use. In fact, this responsive design has a clearly indicated and highly intuitive menu. Tying this into font choices that showcase some of Portland’s personality was a great choice that all travel website designers should take note of.
- The Ink Tank
This website is flat-out gorgeous! Until The Ink Tank came along, it would have been odd to think it was possible to become totally transfixed by the header of an ink website. This design makes it possible, though, and it’s quite simply entrancing to watch as the purple ink fills the box and then swirls and dances across the screen. As if this wasn’t eye-catching enough, the stunningly crafted “From Quill to Cartridge” page makes it exciting to learn about the history of ink. The Ink Tank is by far one of the inspiring sites to use WordPress, and it makes it clear that the sky is the limit for this popular website and blogging platform.
What happens when you put together a team of graphic designers who also love high-quality books? A bookstore named Mendo, followed by one of the slickest websites on the Internet. With the tagline of “a candy store for book aficionados,” you know that this isn’t going to be the typical online book buying experience.
Mendo creates their own books, and they also carefully cultivate books from other publishers. This attention to detail and beauty is felt throughout their entire site, which has such a fun transition from page to page that it’s tempting to keep clicking around long after the necessary information has been found.
- Epic Adventures
Reading may be fundamental, but the allure of technology is definitely stronger for most of today’s youngsters. The good news is that meeting kids at their level has always been a great way to encourage learning and personal growth. Therefore, why not use technology to get them turned on to reading?
This is the concept behind the Epic Adventures digital and print books, and the website is virtually certain to captivate the intended audience. The images look like they come from a book, but there’s an important difference: they move. As kids work their way down the site, they see an octopus with three blinking eyes, a meteorite storm threatening dinosaurs and the promise of Epic Adventures in summer 2017. As an added bonus, this is one of the few sites designed for children that’s impressive enough to catch the eye of adults.
- Jess Marks Photography
Picking the right wedding photographer requires more than choosing a budget and looking at reviews. You also need to make sure the photographer in question has a personality and style that will mesh well with yours. This is the main focus of the Jess Marks Photography website, and its whimsical build makes it clear right away what personality you can expect.
This particular site eschews the popular responsive style for a quirkier setup that takes advantage of plug-ins. Everything from the colors to the font choices help an engaged couple quickly determine whether or not Jess Marks Photography is a good fit, which makes the fun design a big success!
- Ghost Horses
Speaking of personality, it’s hard not to smile while looking through designer Ghost Horses’ WordPress site. Almost everything on the website can be altered by the visitor, including the introductory tagline of “Ghost Horses Makes Really Excellent Websites.” If you click on the arrows, you can get new results that are positive or negative, and you can also change who the tagline is referring to. Unsurprisingly, playing with this feature will teach you a lot about the designer’s personal interests and political beliefs.
As you work your way down the homepage, you’ll be able to interact with almost every feature. This is a fun way to keep people engaged, and it also helps show off what the designer can do with WordPress. This is ultimately what potential clients want to see, and Ghost Horses doesn’t disappoint.
As you can see, there truly is no limit to what you can accomplish with WordPress designs. All of these sites are using the same platform, but their differences make it clear that the designers behind them have gone far beyond the typical WordPress templates.
Done with designing? Optimize!
Now, you have to consider the fact that some of these templates can get pretty bad load times since they have tons of CSS elements and animations. You must make sure that your website is fast enough to handle it and there are a few things you should consider. As we mentioned in this article, you have to optimize web fonts, improve animation performance and most importantly, get a good WP hosting provider.
- You should do your research and figure out which provider is the best for you. Start with this WP host comparison.
- Don’t forget to make sure your WP site loads fast. Educate yourself on best practices to speed up your WP website. You’re going to lose visitors if your site loads slow!
- Finally, beef up your WordPress security through plugins and security measured. Enrolling on a CDN will also provide a layer of defense, whilst boosting the load speed even further.
If you need inspiration for your next project, be sure to look through these websites to get a better feel for the flexibility and versatility of the platform. Anyone who still thinks that WordPress is just for blogging is clearly way behind the times.
Bonus: If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy this article about 9 graphic design trends to be aware of in 2017