I think that everyone would agree, that in order to create a truly special design you need some sort of inspiration. As an former art student, I had to came up with one brilliant idea for my art piece every semester, and that was pretty hard, since no one ever talked about the inspiration itself. So I figured, why not to talk about it?
So lets start with this.
What is inspiration ?
If we take the first meaning and analyse it a bit, it comes to our attention that in order to get inspiration you need something or someone. We can work with that.
I don’t like to wait for that special moment, when inspiration strikes me. I like to be in control of my workflow, meaning I like to be an active participant in search of an inspiration rather than dormant creator waiting for it’s muse. So what do I do :
How to find inspiration?
I don’t like to wait for that special moment, when inspiration strikes me. I like to be in control of my workflow, meaning I like to be an active participant in search of an inspiration rather than dormant creator waiting for it’s muse. So this is where I start :
1. Include the search of inspiration into your process
Stress will never help you. In order to come up with something great, you need to be able to give yourself time to look for ideas,do your research, and find your inspiration. Personally, I like to give myself more time than I actually need in order to be less stressed about the deadline.
2. Don’t just think – actually do something
Some ideas may appear good in your head or on paper, while they are not so great when executed. But this is a part of the process. For example every time I need to make a logo, I know for sure, that the first ideas will not be great, but I need to execute them in order to come up with better ones. That is the part of the process.
3. Take a break
If you don;t come up with something great, and you’ve been searching for a while, usually what you need is to take a break. Do something completely unrelated. Do the dished, walk the dog, take a walk or anything that will give you some sort of distance. Brains are a strange thing, and sometimes things need to soak into it in order to generate something good.
4. Never underestimate a conversation
Sometimes what you need is to talk with someone about your project, your ideas. You would not believe how impactful a conversation can be. It can lead you to an epiphany or an idea you would never come up with yourself.
5. Research the project
When you have a certain project to work on, do your research. Take a deep look at the competitors websites and try using them without any preexisting opinions. Really try. What do you like, what you don’t like? What could be done better?
6. Really listen to the brand
A brand is a really important part of any project. So really dig deep into it. What is the audience, what does the brand says, what’s it’s mission, vision, values, what do they stand for, what is their voice?
7. Bad design – good inspiration
I love to be inspired by bad design. It motivates me to do something better. Especially when clients come to me with something they currently have, and I see how bad it is, I instantly can say at least 5 ways to make it better. I rub my hands and can’t be more exited to get to work.
Where to look for inspiration?
I am not the expert on finding ideas for anything other than web design and branding (okay, also interior, gardening, food and fashion), so I will share my go to websites for exactly that field of inspiration.
Dribbble is my go to place to find inspiration. I really love Dribbble for the quality of the designs people output there. I also love their color scheme feature (if you click on the filters, you can chose a color from a palette, and they will show you the results according to your chosen color).
This one is solely web design and development, but boy oh boy, there are some amazing things out there.
Behance has more than Dribbble, but the quality, purely because anyone can upload their works are not as great. Though that does not mean you can’t find gems in there too. It’s still design focused and still great to find some inspiration.
Pinterest for me is a social platform, that I would never be able to give up. It has a great algorithm that gives you amazing feed according to your interests, and also I love that by clicking on one picture you can discover a lot of similar things by scrolling to the bottom. Pinterest might be less focused on design, but I can dig inspiration from all sorts of fields, not only web design.
When I get tired of conventional websites, I like to go out of the box and visit this website for inspiration. It is usually the worst UX wise, though great for getting your creative juices flowing.
Surprisingly, yes. I like to google things before I create them, and that lead me to some great ideas. Most of the time, before you start your process, give Wiki a try, dig deeper, learn about history.
This one is pretty much like pinterest (even the design looks like a cheap version of pinterest), but it can give you an idea you would not search for.
8. Site Inspire
This one is similar to Awwward, though you might give it a try too.
What to do with extra ideas?
Never underestimate any idea, even if it is not related to the particular project. You might need it one day, or maybe you might want to explore the idea further. I personally like to separate my ideas into two different categories : concrete and abstract.
Concrete : they are usually based on some sort of technology, something I discovered that I was not aware of. Like this. I usually like to pin them to my secret board on Pinterest.
Abstract : might be triggered by something I’ve seen, but as I learned, looking at the trigger does not help to remember the idea, so I like to write/draw them down into my notebook to be sure I remember the idea and not the trigger.
After working so many years in this particular field, I can come up with inspiration really fast, but it takes time to practice your inspiration muscle. So give yourself time, try out your ideas, never give up and be a fricking champ.