As a designer, you are probably intimately familiar with the feelings of boredom and frustration that take over when you are at a loss for inspiration. Sometimes, it seems as if one project after another comes and goes without requiring any creative thought. On the other hand, it’s equally frustrating to encounter a project that does require a creative approach, only to find yourself unable to come up with anything new or exciting.
Here’s the thing about inspiration; It doesn’t have legs. Inspiration cannot come to you. Instead, you have to seek out inspiration, and then use it to create amazing things. To get started, check out these ten tips.
1. Find an Inspirational Design And Try to Duplicate it
Designers are visual thinkers, and great observers. We notice photographs, pictures, textures (manmade or natural), colors, advertisements, magazine covers, signs, even food packaging. The next time something stands out to you as an example of great design, capture it. Take a picture, bookmark the web page, buy the book, etc.
Then, try to recreate the design yourself. You don’t need to make a direct copy. In fact, you don’t even need to use the same medium. In fact, you should avoid doing too much research. Just dive in with your paintbrush, web design tools, charcoal pencils, whatever you want to use, and get to work.
2. Look at Some Awwward Winning Websites
The Awwward website is dedicated to the art and science of web design. It highlights designers, websites, and techniques that are trendy, exciting, and inspirational. At the same time, it also manages to be a bit controversial. Chances are, you won’t agree with all of the awards given out or the criticism some designers receive. In spite of this, you will find plenty of information and inspiration between the websites features, the articles, and the community forums.
3. Engage in Other Creative Hobbies
Out of web design inspiration? Then it’s time to exercise your creative muscles in other ways. Most designers tend to have creative hobbies outside of web design. If you do, consider picking one of those hobbies back up. Painting, sculpture, knitting, model making, sketching, it doesn’t matter. Engaging in a creative pursuit can help your brain function better, and think more creatively. If you don’t have a creative hobby, now is the perfect time to pick one up. Your local arts center or community college might have inexpensive art classes for adults if you are not sure where to begin.
4. Visit Art Museums And Galleries
Take a day trip to the nearest art museum or galleries. Bring along your notepad, and take notes on what you see. Be specific. Note how certain brush strokes create a layered effect, take pictures of textures and save them to your phone, and pay attention to the use of color. Jot down what you see that inspires you, but most importantly write down why. Then, save your notes to refer to later. If you need help or advice on taking and organizing notes, a resource such as SupremeDissertations can help. Whatever you do, don’t stick to only the sleek modern stuff that seems like it will translate onto a computer screen. Check out the primitive art, fibers, and other media as well.
5. Revisit an Old Design Project And Modernize it
If you have a repository of old design projects laying around, you’ve got a veritable playground. Go back in time, and pull one up. Then, think about what you would do if faced with the same project today. Put a new spin on it. Add new features and update the page layouts. Try to use a few new tools while you’re at it. It can be interesting to see the difference that a few years of experience can make in a signal project.
6. Get Inspiration Globally
Most web designers only work on websites that are going to be used by people within the boundaries of their own country. Even if you do work on international projects, these are usually for multinational companies, and the necessary redundancy doesn’t allow for the exploration of web design from other countries. That’s a shame, because you can find some great inspiration in websites designed in countries such as Mexico, Poland, The Netherlands, China, and Saudi Arabia. Do some exploring and discover how different cultures approach design.
7. Put Pen to Paper
You probably have all of the latest and greatest design tools available to you. That’s great! These tools help us to create top quality web pages quickly and efficiently. In spite of that, there is something special about starting a design project with nothing more than your sketchpad and a pencil. Yes, you’ll eventually turn to modern technology, but the truth is writing, sketching, and drawing actually has an effect on your brain that you cannot get by using digital tools.
8. Read Comic Books
If you’re really struggling to think outside the box, check out a few comic books and graphic novels. Pay close attention to the action lines, and the ways that panels are laid out. If you are bored with standard, grid design, you may just pick up a few new things to try. This is, of course, in addition to the inspiration you will find in the artwork and storylines.
9. Get to Know Other Web Designers
One of the best ways to find great design inspiration is to simply find some great designers. Get online and join up with other web designers. Forums like Designer Hangout, Coffee Cup, #FrontEndDevelopers are all very active. These are great places to discuss design projects, share your work, and get a bit of feedback from other people in the design field.
There you have it, ten easy to follow tips that you can use to help reignite your creativity, and find the inspiration that you need. Keep actively searching for sources of inspiration, and your creativity will be reflected in your web design projects.