When you land on Whipping Post‘s homepage, the rustic brown images of carefully crafted leather products soothe the senses like whiskey warms the belly.

The site, full of guitar accessories and vintage messenger bags from Atlanta-based former musician Ryan Barr, was designed by Brad Miller – an Ottawa-based designer who founded his firm Out of the Sandbox to develop themes for Shopify’s ecommerce platform. When Miller entered Whipping Post’s web page into Shopify’s first ever Ecommerce Design Awards, all three judges agreed that its design was breathtaking.

Those judges include Tina Roth Eisenberg, a well-known graphic designer and creator of the much-loved design blog swissmiss, and designer, author and publisher Jeffrey Zeldman who founded A List Apart magazine as well as Happy Cog. Those two design gurus and serial entrepreneurs worked alongside Shopify’s Chief Design Officer Daniel Weinand to judge the hundreds of contest entrants.

The goal was simple: to celebrate the talent of designers that create and customize themes for Shopify’s platform. And Miller’s entry deserved to be recognized, according to the judges. “Whipping Post is a beauty of an ecommercey store: a clean, well-balanced site, beautifully echoing the design of their products,” said Roth Eisenberg.

“The Whipping Post site feels thoughtful and intentional: Strong photography, tasteful typography, appropriate white space, as well a beautifully balanced color palette. An ecommerce site should first and foremost celebrate and elevate the products. Whipping Post does that,” she said. Miller will take home a $5,000 Apple gift card as a result of his first place designation.

Shopifys Design Awards highlight beautiful online shops

Screenshot of GREATS Brand homepage.

In second place, GREATS Brand’s site makes your vision explode with shoes and hardwood. That site is thanks to Wondersauce, a digital design and development agency based in New York.

“GREATS shows off big images in a catalog grid style fashion,” said judge Weinand. “The crisp photography gives me a good sense of the texture and quality. I am immediately drawn in, clicking through handsome footwear, only to see it all beautifully deconstructed on a very focused product page.”

Shopifys Design Awards highlight beautiful online shops

Screenshot of Goodwin + Goodwin’s homepage.

Goodwin + Goodwin – a custom signage shop based in the U.K. – took third place, with its site designed by Paul Goodwin.

“When your product epitomizes beauty and elegance of design, your website and shopping cart had better demonstrate those same virtues,” Zeldman said. “Fortunately, the browsing and shopping experience at Goodwin + Goodwin’s website lives up to the high bar set by the company’s product line… A beautiful site. And an effective one. I got lost shopping when I was supposed to be judging.”

The two runners-up each received $500 Apple gift cards. All winners will be added to Shopify’s Experts database, where merchants can search for designers, developers, marketers or photographers to help customize their shop.

Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to easily sell online, at their retail location, and everywhere in between. Shopify offers a professional online storefront, a payment solution to accept credit cards, and the Shopify POS application to power retail sales. Shopify currently powers over 60,000 retailers in 100 different countries, including: Tesla Motors, Gatorade, Forbes, Amnesty International, Encyclopedia Britannica, CrossFit, and many more.

Find out who received honourable mentions on Shopify’s post announcing the winners.

About Bogdan Rancea

Bogdan Rancea has written 142 post on GraphicSwing.