If you’ve created anything, you’ve probably come across that moment when you hit a complete blank. You’re staying at the computer screen, your mouse comfortably in your hand, but there’s nothing. That website isn’t going to build itself, so you’re going to need a little inspiration when planning your next website.
Fortunately, inspiration is all around us. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with finding it when it’s time to design a website. There is a solution to this problem. Before you become overwhelmed with frustration, take a moment to consider these ten sources of web design inspiration.
Although highly functional, a website can still be a piece of art, so why not turn to traditional forms of art for a little inspiration. Whether it’s a new color layout or a custom font imagined from your favorite painting, there is much to gain in terms of creativity from the visual arts.
When looking to art for web design inspiration, it is important to remember that art comes in many forms. In addition to paintings and sculptures, there’s also fashion, architecture, interior design, and photography. So, take a lunch break and indulge in some art. You could even try creating some art yourself to get your creative juices flowing. Once you do, you may find that there’s plenty left over for your website project.
Nature is an excellent source of inspiration for web designers because it is full of patterns, colors, and textures – details that make ordinary websites stand out. Nature is a complex system with many moving parts, like the most complex sites. By training your eye to focus on the most intricate details, such as the pattern on a bird’s wing, you may begin to notice (and create) similar complex details within your designs.
Using nature as web design inspiration has its benefits and drawbacks. One of the benefits is that it is all around us. One of the drawbacks is that it can be hard to focus on the patterns and designs present within it if you don’t have much practice. Thankfully, nature photography is a thing. Browsing a Natural Geographic magazine or something similar can work as well.
Food as creative inspiration? Sure, why not! Just like the website you are stuck on, cooking is both science and art. The process of cooking involves mixing unrelated things to create something that is useful and appealing. Does that sound familiar? If your creativity really needs a jump start, grab some ingredients and start creating.
If cooking isn’t your thing, you can still use food as a source of web design inspiration. Simply take a break from creating and start experiencing. Yes, that means eating. Enjoying a gourmet meal (slowly, taking the time to savor the experience) is not only nourishing for your body, but it can also do wonders for your creativity. Pay attention to how the food is presented, the atmosphere when it is served, and the flavors that emerge from the mixture. The restaurant is doing more than giving you food, they are providing an experience – something many web designers should be able to appreciate.
Dribbble and Etsy
The internet has gifted society with many amazing things, one of which is the website Etsy. While you may not find high-quality goods on the free-for-all crafting site, you will find some creative inspiration. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to walk away from this site without saying, “now that’s creative” at least once. The same is true for Dribbble.
How do these sites relate to web design? Simply put, creativity is creativity. Taking a break from web design to enjoy the creativity of ordinary people, or even better-crafting something of your own can inspire similar behavior in your web design work. So, go ahead, make those colored lamps you were considering, or design some custom jeans. You’d be surprised how beneficial a crafting break can be to your creativity.
Who says work can’t be fun? If you’ve hit a block, it might be time to turn on the earphones. Music is a wonderful tool for stimulating web design inspiration, and it’s perfectly fine to do while at work. There are a few ways to use music for creative inspiration. One method is listening to styles related to the project. For example, if you were creating a website for an athletic apparel company, a good workout mix might do the trick. However, if you truly want to zone in and stimulate deep thoughts, this Spotify playlist dedicated to creativity might do the trick.
Music isn’t the only form of entertainment that’s good for creativity; movies also work as well. Take a break to enjoy a good film, but use it to seek inspiration. Instead of getting caught up in the plot, pay attention to the set, visuals, and costumes. Also, look for promotional items within the film to see how they are incorporated into the larger story. Movies know how to sell and tell a story at the same time. Take note.
Other websites and creatives
As mentioned above, the internet is a great source of creative inspiration. Nearly every website can be used as a potential source of inspiration for yours. Unfortunately, because the internet is so large, finding these websites can sometimes be a chore. Thankfully, there are some that are dedicated to curating some of the most inspiring websites. Here are 5 of the best places to look for web design inspiration:
Other creatives can also be a source of inspiration – at least in terms of learning a few tricks of the trade. Artists of all types struggle with keeping their creativity fresh, and many have developed their own methods of doing so. Learn how they do it by shadowing other artists, joining networking groups, or reading this entertaining blog post.
Maybe your lack of creativity has little to do with inspiration and a lot to do with technique. If this is your situation, visiting a few design blogs may provide a few more tools for your toolbelt. Design blogs not only provide examples of up-and-coming design trends, but they also offer tutorials on how to create them. If you’re not already reading these blogs, it may be time to start.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a whole bunch of people are thinking right now, you can easily find out by combing through social media. The sheer number of opinions on social media platforms makes it a useful source for web design inspiration. Why would it be a surprise that you could gain some ideas from what everyone else is saying about a particular topic?
There are, of course, many social media platforms to choose from, but the best for website inspiration might be Pinterest and Dribbble. These sites are not only large (and host many users), but they also feature robust search functions so that you can find exactly what you are looking for. Gain visual inspiration from user interface design on an Dribbble account, or use someone’s Pinterest list to create new typography. You are sure to find something that piques your interest.
For many people, life is all about routine. Unfortunately, routine is often the killer of creativity. Break out of that routine and force yourself to think differently, and you may notice the creativity start to flow.
Because travel forces us to break out of our routines, it is also an excellent way to encourage creativity. To be clear, travel doesn’t have to be extravagant. Anything that exposes you to new people, new visuals, and new ways of doing things is enough to do the trick. For some that may mean a trip to another country, for others, it may just mean time spent on another side of town. The idea is to get out of your shell so that you can create something new.
Sometimes the hardest part of creating anything is getting started. That’s why brainstorming is a useful technique for sparking creativity and finding hidden web design inspiration. For designers, brainstorming often looks like doodles and scribbles on napkins during boring meetings. Don’t throw those away! They may be your next great idea waiting to happen.
Scribbles and doodles are often regarded as junk because the designer couldn’t figure out what to do with them – at the time. However, sometimes, when you step away from the idea and come back to it with a fresh mind, you can begin to see how it may work. Many times, the web design inspiration you were seeking was already there, you just failed to pay attention.
These ten sources of web design inspiration will help you create any website; then it becomes time to start planning. Don’t worry, Slickplan’s got you covered with plenty more articles on web planning. So, dream big, and start creating!
Written By Jenn Marie
Jenn Marie is a freelance copy writer and internet marketing strategist based out of the Seattle area. A true tech evangelist, Jenn previously helped individuals utilize the full potential of Dell, Microsoft and Amazon products. She now focuses on building authentic online presences for small businesses and entrepreneurs through her company, Jenn Marie Writing & Marketing. Find her on LinkedIn