5 Unusual Places to Find Web Design Inspiration

Person sitting on hill

Trying to find fresh web design inspiration may have you feeling like a super sleuth with no flashlight. Well look no more. These five unlikely places are proven havens for mining creative ideas. 

Where do you go for new ideas when you’re pounding out web project after web project? If you’re like a lot of web designers, you look to your go-to, safe and dependable bag of tricks to get the job done. But if want to put a fresh spin on your upcoming projects, consider these tips:

Take in the City

Wherever it is that you call “home,” the urban core nearest you is bound to provide that creative shot in the arm you need to reimagine your design work. Cultural landmarks come in many shapes, sizes and architectural varieties. Explore the way different buildings’ outlines intersect, how textures add dimension to the view, and how city planners plot a strategic grid or illuminate a skyline. Then take these observations back to your own grid.

Create New Neural Pathways

It’s obviously no secret that as a web designer you spend a substantial part of your day in front of a screen ­– and in many cases, multiple screens. But recent studies show that doing the same tasks at our desks for extended periods isn’t great for our bodies or minds. Going on a short 20-minute walk, however, can light up other areas of your brain and amp up the potential for devising more creative solutions.

Feeling stuck? Go for an afternoon stroll, get alone with your thoughts and ponder all the visual stimulation in the world around you. Potential muses abound. Your job is noticing a special oak tree, a hibiscus flower or even the pattern of raindrops on a car windshield. Remember these qualities when you return to the office and pick up your stylus.

Rock the Runway

Most (if not all) major style trends start in the high-fashion world and trickle down to other industries. You see fashion’s influence on everything from home decor and textiles to graphic, industrial and web design. The next time you’re in the throes of a challenging web design endeavor, find a color cue or pattern that piques your interest by browsing fashion blogs or perusing the latest issue of VogueHarper’s Bazaar or W Magazine. A fresh perspective can do wonders for the next pixel you have planned.

Follow Austin Kleon’s Advice

Creative guru Austin Kleon delves into the importance of inspiration in his book Steal Like an Artist. Of course, the idea of “stealing” is very tongue-in-cheek, as he’s really driving home why soaking up inspiration from others is critical to your own creative development and success. So try it. Find your web design inspiration by re-examining the work of the art icons or design masters who first motivated you to pursue a creative career.

Ramp up Your Freelance Work

Diversify your portfolio. Taking on freelance work can help you be more creative at your day job (if you have one). You can take insights from one and apply it to the other. In a similar vein, if you’re a full-time freelancer, you are also at risk for falling into a rut, particularly if you constantly pursue the same kind of projects.

Keep your work vibrant by partnering with a new client in a different industry. Deviating from your norm is often a recipe for new insights and challenges. It’s easy to get bogged down in one brand or way of thinking; by branching out you can grow your design skills in unexpected ways.

Think about your wellspring for creativity. If it’s gone a little dry, consider tapping a new source for web design inspiration ­– one that’s outside the confines of your typical day-to-day experience.

Where do you find web design inspiration?

Related post: A Year of Creative Habits: Everyday Creativity Exercises

Tags: Creativity