Well-designed websites are easy to distinguish from poorly designed websites. But what is it that separates the two? Great design is driven by a concept and has a source of inspiration. By having a concept in place, the design is focused and every decision of the design is thoughtfully made. This results in a cohesive and thorough design.

The natural world is a great source of inspiration. If you think about it, design is at its best in nature – everything just fits and works together. The aesthetics of nature often recall sentiments of serenity, beauty, balance, and happiness. The lines, composition, and colors found in nature are most ideal and perfectly crafted. It’s no wonder that many designers derive their concepts from Mother Earth. Here’s a list of 15 well-designed websites that are inspired by and utilize nature.

Paula Hayes

Paula Hayes
Paula Hayes is an artist who uses flora as her primary medium. Her website enhances her work because  its design mimics a plant. The site is elegantly simple, which parallels the aesthetic of her work and the aesthetic found in nature.

Le Potager

Le Potager

This site takes you to another reality with futuristic, otherwordly plantlife. Everything in this environment pops – the plants, the animations, and the colors. I can’t read a word of French, but I was on this site for a long time because I was so captivated by the design.

Pier Angelo Miceli

pier angelo

Pier Angelo Miceli’s site effectively utilizes many textures, which makes the site visually rich despite the lack of color. He creates a surreal and interesting environment by collaging mundane, mismatched items.

Diving in Red Sea

Diving in Red Sea

Fittingly, Diving in Red Sea takes you under the sea in their website. The site is engulfed in waves of water and the body of their website is surrounded by a lush tropical reef. All of this really made me want to go diving. The floor of the seabed and the social media buttons shaped as bubbles coming from the fish are also really great elements that enhance the overall design.

Real Casual by Alexandr Gapchuk

Real Casual by Alexandr Gapchuk

Fashion designer Alexandr Gapchuk has created an immersive environment that’s highly interactive and visually interesting. Each page loads in a hazy fog, as if the site actually has an atmosphere that seems to breathe with life from all the greenery.

Rapp Collins

Rapp Collins

This site does a great job of blending organics with a hi-tech aesthetic. The navigation of the site is centered around a vine of electrical cords with flowers made of machinery that bloom at different points. A hummingbird is also provided as your companion. The design is focused and the concept is clear, resulting in a brilliant site.

lintas media group

lintas media group

The Lintas Media Group interestingly blends natural elements with origami in their dynamic website. Every page features a different life form and a new movement. The differentiation between pages made me want to click through all the pages just to see what the design entailed.

Zillu

Zillu

Web development agency, Zillu, thoughtfully designed their environment. The homepage is visually captivating (with rolling clouds and falling leaves), inviting you into their stunningly illustrated site. Each page aligns with the theme, using the landscape as the header and the soil beneath the ground as the body. There are many fun details to note on this site.

inservio

inservio

Inservio is a web solutions firm that draws on a similar illustrated aesthetic as Zillu’s site. The environment feels airy and whimsical, which can be attributed to the stylized illustration, the fun characters, and the color palette. Every page has a different scene at the footer, which made me click through all the pages.

VW Designs

VW Designs

This site is centered around the concept of a tree. At the end of each branch you’ll find a link to a different page. When clicked, the tree (made of words) falls apart, in the way leaves would fall off of a tree. Because of the sky background and other natural elements, the site is minimalist and clean.

ecoki iPhone Reader

ecoki iPhone Reader

Ecoki’s page for their iPhone reader is pleasantly placed against a scenic backdrop of a majestic mountain range. The foreground is cleverly designed so that you feel as if you’re enjoying the view from a balcony with a freshly brewed cup of tea. The simplicity of it all communicates the ease of their iPhone app.

Vita Herb

Vita Herb

Drawing from the lines, shapes, and colors found in nature, Vita Herb has developed a simple and streamlined site. Instead of using plain rectangles for their boxes, they use an elegant half-rounded box that partly resembles a leaf. Such a minor change in detail can make a site much more visually interesting.

Go Glamping

Go Glamping

Glamping is a bit of an ironic concept, where people camp in luxury. This website effectively uses design to communicate GoGlamping’s services. The site is certainly inspired by nature, but is further tailored to refinement.

HSB Oils

HSB Oils

HSB Oils has created a site that really showcases their olive oils. By setting their products in this outdoor environment, it gives a sense that their oils are extra fresh, that we’re getting it straight from the earth. The site is beautiful and elegant, which attracts me to this brand of olive oil; such is the power of design.

Tomas Oliva

Tomas Oliva

Graphic designer, Tomas Oliva, really plays up his last name in his site. Experience the introduction, and you’ll see what I mean. Each page is nicely stylized and fits with his theme of the olive and olive tree. I also really like the juxtaposition of the detailed lush plant life against the flat graphic golden background.

Conclusion

All of these sites are well designed because they are motivated by a concept and every design decision made aligned with the concept. In each of these sites, the unifying theme was nature. You can find many beautiful design elements in nature that can serve as a great source of inspiration. Look around outside and see what inspires you!

Nina Wu writes for A Small Orange.