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Design Inspiration: 10 Sites With Beautiful Abstract Imagery

Designers can let their creativity reign when using abstract imagery in a website design. Whether in the form of a photo or an illustration, abstract imagery creates a visual identity that portrays an attitude and personality of a brand that is more memorable than realistic photography might. For example, decorative artistry on a web page or an illustrated mascot to represent a brand creates a unique image that viewers can hold on to.

Conversely, realistic photography has the ability to send a clearer message or demonstrate a more realistic depiction of a tangible product. More often used in websites that seek to convey an image of professionalism and reliability, photos dictate the viewer’s perspective by drawing them into a virtual reality, rather than engaging their imagination. A detailed photo of a product or a slice-of-life situation can promote the confidence that users have when using a brand.

In comparing photos and illustrations, your solution for which imagery style to use will ultimately depend on your branding and marketing goals. This decision is extremely important in communicating your message through your web design.

Abstract Imagery

Through characters, personal branding and photo compilations, vector¬†illustrations and abstract photography are trending and work very well for a web project meant to engage and inspire imagination, and to connect to an audience on a more personal level. Many designers use this type of imagery on their portfolio sites to demonstrate their personalities and skills. It does not work well on sites that strive to promote a reputation of strict professionalism, like an airline or bank, because it can cause confusion and uneasiness when imagery doesn’t line up with a company’s purpose.


Realistic photography is a great solution for sites that need to show their relevance to real life. Whether used as a background, texture, or a navigational photo layout, high quality, detailed photos of a product or a scene in which the product is used instills a confidence and trust in the brand. This works because the imagery communicates and demonstrates a clear message. Realistic photos cannot, however, effectively describe an abstract concept or idea in the same way that an illustration can.

Here is a compilation of websites that do a stellar job at implementing abstract imagery to contribute to their goals. Use them as inspiration in your own work with creative imagery.

1. Rob Sheridan

2. Adventure Drop

3. Douglas Menezes

4. Ethan Gardner

5. Web Designer Wall

6. Oakley

7. Pixel Pimps

8. Racket

9. As Architecture

10. Jon Tremaine

While there may not be a must-follow formula for choosing an imagery style for your design, this guideline and collection of examples of how abstract imagery can be used beautifully and effectively should help you decide if this style is right for your project.

Remember to keep in mind the wants and needs of your audience, the goals of your brand and website, and evaluate whether abstract imagery will contribute to these objectives. Then get creative!

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