There are hundreds of CSS galleries on the Web and each one claims to be unique. Although everyone has already noticed that most of these galleries repeat each other showcasing the same websites. Several articles were written about how pointless most of these galleries are, how everyone is tired of viewing the same average or similarly looking sites appearing in most of their collections. “A word to the wise, css galleries are over”, asserted Devlounge; CollyLogic wrote about “the end of CSS showcases”, and Wisdump wisely concluded that “they really ended a long time ago when everyone decided they would start their own showcase”.

While I do agree with many things they mentioned in those articles, I don’t think that CSS galleries are worthless, they are source of inspiration for many designers, they do support the latest coding standards on the Web and they do encourage designers to create a better looking websites worthy of submitting to galleries and getting noticed for their artistic talent.

I’m not going to start arguments here which CSS gallery is the best one and deserves to stay while others should pack their luggage and leave the scene, what I’d like to see happening is that there will be more Galleries with a Focus on certain niche, particular topic, or at least galleries, that categorize their exhibits. I’m glad that there are already several CSS galleries that started this trend and hence stand out in the crowd. So, let’s have a round of applause for these 8 sites that provide us with a focused inspiration:

  1. light on dark – “inspiration for your darker side”: featuring only sites with a light text on a dark background.
    lightondark
  2. The Horizontal Way – “showcase of horizontal scrolling websites”. I’ve already mentioned this site’s collection in one of my past posts on Horisontal website designs
    horizontal
  3. Liquid Designs & Elastic – “the only site dedicated to fluid and elastic design with CSS”. I’ve just reviewed 16 fluid sites that display various techniques for liquid layouts.
    liquidelastic
  4. CSSclip – what’s great about this gallery is that you can browse sites by colour.
    cssclip
  5. CSS Princess – promotes sites designed by women or with a “woman touch”. The designs there are often ornate, pretty and glamorous. There’s also a helpful tag cloud to browse the collection by a number of categories
    princess
  6. Lovely Blogs – as the name suggests, this gallery is for blogs only, which is a pretty good idea, since designing a blog, in my opinion, is very different from designing a website, so it’s nice to refer to one resource to see all blogs.
    lovelyblogs
  7. Design Melt Down – Finally, a website that has the best site categorizing among all other web galleries, accompanied with an interesting commentary from the site’s author. I don’t always agree with the choices that he makes when selecting the websites for his gallery, but I like the overall approach to showcase the latest Web design trends and elements.
    designmeltdown
  8. css Zen Garden – this certainly is not your typical CSS gallery, but rather a website that demonstrates the power of CSS and the imagination and skills of web designers.
    zengarden

There was also CSSgreen.com with a collection of websites with a green colour scheme, but for some reason their site is currently being suspended, and their domain is getting redirected to some vhost.lt page.

I didn’t mention anything about those CSS galleries that target a specific geographic region or a country, although I look forward to seeing more such collections, as long as they feature sites that are indeed designed only in those countries without an occasional inclusion of foreign sites. It’s always interesting to see web design trends in other parts of the globe.

If I failed to include another gallery with a targeted compilation of beautiful web sites, please, let me know.

UPDATE: One of my readers, Avinash, has suggested another great CSS gallery that offers browsing by Categories: CSS Elite.

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10 Insightful Bits in response to “CSS Galleries With a Focused Inspiration”

  1. Wonderful collection! I already knew about CSSclip, Design Melt Down and CSS Zen Garden. Gotta visit other galleries mentioned in this list.

    By the way, I like CSS Elite a lot. :)

    - Avi

  2. ibit

    Thanks, Avi. I’ve just added CSS Elite to my post :-)

  3. You are welcome! :)

  4. I need to start taking a look at these – The CSS clip looks good, I am currently trying to learn HTML and CSS (its going very slowly). Its taking a lot getting my head round trying to think for web rather than print, I don’t think I will ever be able to work out how to design an elastic design. I have looked at CSS garden before and always found amazing how much CSS can change the same content.

  5. Vivien

    Good luck with leaning HTML/CSS, Tara. Feel free to ask me any questions you have. I might even be able to write a series of articles for Graphic designers who are switching/learning to design for Web, so your questions would help me as well :-)

    To put it simply, in order to design elastic web sites you need to specify the sizes (fonts, DIVs, etc) in relative units (em and %), not in absolute (px or pt).

  6. Thats great Vivien, thank you. I kind of understand the theory behind the elastic website, what I can’t get my head round is thinking to design one. I am so used to a static bit of paper that doesn’t move it must be hard to think of all the implications an elastic website will have on your design?

  7. Vivien

    Tara, did you check out my collection of 16 Liquid sites? They should provide you with some ideas on how to design such websites. You can also use that Firefox Firebug tool, that you’ve just installed, to see how those sites work.

  8. I have them bookmarked thanks :)

  9. Funner

    Please let us know what do you think about http://www.fantasticss.com/

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on