I've been spending time looking around at websites that have won awards as well as those in the running. Below, are three websites with my notes of parts of the design that stood out to me.
Website one: Proyectos archivo - Nectar Estudio
What I like: This design is a clean and high contrast design making use of ample whitespace so the page doesn't look to cluttered. The page makes uses of just 3 colors which are black, white, and a vibrant green. The menu at the top is limited to five options plus a language option which makes since as the company is based in Spain. Link hover helps define when you've selected a menu option and portfolio makes use of two columns of pictures highlighting recent work as well as a table with links to a handful of other key projects. Overall, seems well thought out and design and usability translates well to mobile design as well.
Website two: bacter | creative infection - by elephant stone
What I think could be better: the experience is completed by the use of a basic sound that starts playing when you open the page. I personally don't know a single person who wants sound when they open a webpage that is not Youtube, Pandora, or similar service. I'm also unsure how this page translates responsively but google's developers tools did not paint an optimistic picture.
Website three: Lemon Lemon | 7UP
What I like: The imagery on this amazing. While presumably the pictures were provided by Pepsi Co. the photo on the landing page is balanced by large high contrast text explaining the product (7 up in the Dutch market) in just a few words. The menu/navigation is accessable from the right or by pressing the number 7. Throughout the site as you navigate around there are little circles in the color scheme going towards the top of the page reflecting the beverage's carbonated nature. A big interactive button labeled discover takes you directly to the product pages. The text is chosen careful, and is concise making the user experience clear, easy to use, and simple.