Design & UX
By Rachel Alexander

10 Highly Interactive, Beautifully Illustrated Web Designs

By Rachel Alexander

Thousands of today’s websites share a very similar look and feel. Apart from unique logos and color schemes, many of these “standard” websites are largely indistinguishable from their peers. Because of the uniformity found on the web, adding some illustrated elements to your design is a great opportunity make it stand out from the crowd. Today, I’d like to share with you ten unique, fantastic websites that incorporate illustrated images into the design. Some do this with simple PNG and JPEG files, while others use Flash in order to make the page interactive. I hope you enjoy the list.

Alex Buga

This is one of the most original personal websites I have ever seen. Every area of the website can be viewed by interacting with the objects on the home page. Alternatively, you can navigate the site by clicking on the AB logo at the top left corner of the design to make a traditional navigation menu appear. From the clock on the wall that tells the actual time to the music player that lets you play around with beats and sounds, Alex Buga’s website is a fun website to visit and a great example of what he can do.



Arguably the cutest website on the web, Meomi has an interactive design that will make anyone smile. Whenever you scroll over the outside of the design (that is powered by Flash), something happens. For example, the little animal on the right side of the page will play his banjo, and the nearby piano will play piano music.


At the bottom of the Pieoneers design is an illustrated ice cream character smiling on the moon while sitting aboard a spaceship with a fruit-filled pie on top. I have no idea what the connection is between space and ice cream, but the design highly creative and definitely unique.

The Great Bearded Reef

The Great Bearded Reef is a sharp design that was created for the self-proclaimed “bearded one” Josh Willis in order to apply for the position of “Island Caretaker” in Australia.

Hugs For Monsters

Hugs For Monsters is the homepage of designer and illustrator Joe Lifrier. The top of each page has a unique colorful drawing that showcases his unique style of illustrations.

Deborah Cavenaugh

Deborah Cavenaugh’s homepage looks more like a painting than a web design. The colorful aspects blend into the content area, most notably with the painted search button in the top right corner.

Somos La Pera Limonera

A fantastic illustration of three designers sitting under a pear tree.

The Many Faces Of

A hilarious website that looks at the many faces of Lenonardo Dicaprio, the Goonies, John Cusack, and Alan Rickman. Each section contains a large illustration in the header, as well as illustrated images throughout the content area.

K4 Laboratory

The K4 Lab website has been featured on many design lists over the last few years (and rightly so). It remains as a great example of how Flash can complement a website design rather than hinder it.


Platin features a colorful, interactive Flash-based illustration that was used to promote a new apartment block. The transitions from one section to another are beautiful.

Which illustrated design is your favorite? Do you think it’s generally better to have an unconventional design, or do you think most projects are better suited for more standard, familiar layouts? Would you design a creative layout with Flash, or would you favor other technologies?

  • Michael

    I didn’t look at all of these sites, but I did look at Platin because the review piqued my interest. I can’t think of a better way to drive people away from your site than to make them sit through all that animation. It was cute at first, and then painful. A+ for concept and design, D- for usability.

  • These are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    Nowadays, with CSS3 animation and HTML5, a lot of clients and users expect animation with websites. I think it’s evolution and nurtured exposure which is cool, because this is what differentiated web from print. Useful, playful interaction!

  • Tim

    My front page ( incorporates a slightly playful 3D-based image that graphically represents the variety of services I offer. But it’s an accordion, not something where you hit an image element and have things whirl and twirl… I’m kind of ambivalent about some of it.

    For personal sites and certain commercial sites of particular kinds of products, okay, but for most of my clients, you have to be careful about not coming across as frivolous.

    Used judiciously, though, it’s a great idea.

  • My favorite is Meomi. It’s just so much fun to play with. Show’s there’s a less serious side to the web, although there was obviously some serious work putting it together. Great job.

  • i love to steal Alex Buga :)

    nice works and superb designing

  • I realized that most of the sites you have mentioned here are Flash interactive. That cuts out those who either dont have the latest flash player installed or just plain dont like flash.
    Deborah’s site looks a bit too cluttered for a wordpress site, and a bit too noisy to convey the impression of fine art. The background should be either fixed or should cover the page till the bottom, without which it looks VERY blank below the initial artwork atop the page. As a design example, there could better choices!
    Suggest: jQuery driven interaction over flash, clearer sites over cliuttered, clean graphics over cartoonish appearances would be more suitable (IN MY OPINION)

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