A goal of most designers is to make their projects stand out in some way. With millions of websites online and more being added everyday, creating something unique is increasingly difficult. Each designer has a different approach. Here is a look at 6 things you can do to make your site standout.
1. Large Background Images
One of the easiest ways to create a unique design that is sure to stand out is to use a large background image. The images can enhance the layout of the page and make it more complete and visually appealing. With CSS, the background image is simple to add, and it can drastically change the look of an otherwise routine website.
Web Designer Wall is a well-known site that makes good use of a large background image. The site/blog uses a fairly standard two-column theme layout, but the background image gives the site a look that is anything but standard.
For more designs that feature large background images, see Fadtastic’s Big, Bold Backgrounds.
2. Unique Layouts
Most websites use one of a handful of common layouts. By thinking outside of the box and creating something a bit more unique, you can certainly standout from the crowd. The layout of the site is a big factor in usability and effectiveness, so be sure that whatever you come up with still works for you and for the user.
MelissaHie.com effectively uses a unique layout to differentiate from other sites. The site is really just one large page, and the navigation leads you from one section of the page to another. When you click on a link you will slide to the next section until you eventually arrive back at the start.
To see more examples of creative layouts, see 20 Websites With Unique Layouts.
3. Creative Navigation
The navigation of a website plays a large role in the appearance and the usability of the website. From an appearance perspective, navigation gives the designer a great opportunity to be creative and introduce other elements and rollovers into the design. The look and attractiveness of navigation should never overtake the need for usability, but even with a usable and accessible navigation scheme there is plenty of room for creativity.
BenHulse.com features a creative navigation menu that uses color to interact with the large image on the homepage. The picture includes 7 rows of color on the floor. The 7 navigational links are lined up above the rows of color on the floor, and upon hovering over a link an underline appears that matches the corresponding row of color on the floor. It’s a creative way to make the nav bar different, and it even enhances the effect of color on the design.
By using a minimalistic style you can stand out by not trying too hard to standout. I an effective minimalistic design does not simply lack substance, it achieves balance and attractiveness without the need for excessive design elements.
Finch uses a minimalistic approach to creative an attractive website that is different from most competitors because it is free of clutter and it doesn’t rely on a lot of images and pictures to achieve the look.
For more sites that use minimalism effectively, see 25 Beautiful, Minimalistic Website Design.
5. Improved Logo or Branding
The look of a website can be enhanced or held back by the quality and effectives of the logo and/or branding that is used. A very effective logo can greatly improve the look of a site and help it to stand out from the competition. Many websites don’t have quality logos, so this provides the opportunity to stand out.
To see some examples of great logos, see 15 Wonderfully Simple Logo Designs.
6. Horizontal Layout
If you really want to stand out, one sure way to accomplish this is by using a horizontal layout. Obviously, most visitors are used to scrolling vertically, so horizontal layouts are kind of a love-it-or-hate-it style. The Horizontal Way is a showcase gallery of horizontal designs, and appropriately it uses a horizontal layout itself. There is no vertical scrolling necessary, just left to write, similar to a book.
For more examples of horizontal layouts you can view the gallery at The Horizontal Way.