Design & UX

30 Inspiring Sites with Illustrated Backgrounds

By Jean-Pierre Gassin

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A well-selected background illustration can give a web design lacking a bit of color the right amount of pop, and it can convey a great deal of information about the site’s purpose and values inexplicitly as well.

The background illustration is a handy tool that can convey a sense of playfulness with a colorful cartoon or imply the values of a particular setting with a high-resolution photograph. In this article, we look at 30 websites that use this tool to great effect.


Yes Insurance



Bowtie Periods

Arbel Designs

Creative Switch

Cute Little Factory

Cool Brush Design

Deborah Cavenaugh (Portfolio)


Dean Oakly (Portfolio)






LegWork Studio

Joystick Generals

Moshi Monsters





Somos La Pera Limonera




Happy Webbies

The Many Faces of Alan Rickman

What are your favorite illustrated web designs? Let us know in the comments!

  • Chris Raymond

    A quibble: Tori’s Eye is not a website. It is a web page that simply shows Tweets.

  • Qwinki

    Amazing overview! THNX!

  • Jennifer

    I love the Many Faces of Alan Rickman!

  • Tony

    A very interesting collection of sites. Kinetic blew my mind with it’s eccentricity. A real work of art.

  • Akash

    You should include Design Kanya site too. I find it apt to be categorized under this group for inspiration.

  • Nazar

    ohh great i like this creativeswitch

  • Mark

    Beautiful sites – but it would be interesting too to know how to build such image rich sites without them being really slow.

    Does anyone have any tips on that? I’ve tried building a site with illustrated backgrounds, but the file sizes are pretty big and they take a while to load.

  • Raquel Richardson

    This is another great one:

  • michael meininger

    I really like these designs and what they bring to the table. Anything that is visually engaging and a break from the norm will allow people to spend more time on your site- which in turn helps you deliver your message.

    I did the design and layout for about 6 months back that I am pretty proud of.


  • Nicky

    Nice post!!!

    I love illustrator

  • amberd design studio

    great collection thanks for sharing

  • best kind of life

    the all examples of background illustrations loking very nice , this list is perfect in my opinion .

  • Maxence

    Hi everyone, great collection of websites. Mine is also an illustrated portfolio, could you add it to your list if you like it? thank you :)

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