When you’re working on a design for your new or revamped website, you can certainly use a good dose of inspiration. Fresh, creative ideas aren’t easy to come by, particularly when there are so many other sites competing with yours.
The good news is, excellent inspirations can be found all around you, in some of the most unlikely of places. If you’ve looked in all the usual places and haven’t come up with anything that grabs you, here are some terrific, non-traditional resources you can consult for solid web design.
1. The Library
Now, you probably think that looking at a sea of print for inspiration in digital design is barking up the wrong tree, but that’s not necessarily the case. “The impact that libraries can have is often forgotten now that we can find anything with a few clicks at home,” says a blog post from Green Residential, a property management and digital real estate marketing company.
“But some inspiration, like that found in books, simply can’t be replaced.” Heading to the library to read up on traditional and modern design principles could give you the boost you need to come up with an entirely startling new website.
2. Web Design Galleries
Several websites have devoted themselves to showcasing the best of the best in web design in a given year. Awwwards, Webby Awards, CSS Winner, and others are filled with site inspirations that can get your creative juices flowing and lift the mental block that’s been holding you back.
3. Design and Inspiration Blogs
Many web designers have started blogs in order to share their knowledge and help other designers flourish. These blogs not only discuss the latest trends in web design, but give you tips that can save time and show you examples of just how great web design works.
Some of the best web design blogs you might consult include Web Design Ledger, Web Designer Depot, Designerfix, and Creative Overflow. Follow a few of these blogs until you find the ones that inspire you the most.
4. Your Favorites
Everyone has a favorite website, blog, web designer, or book we turn to most often for inspiration. When you can’t find something new that sparks your creativity, stick with what works.
Look at your favorite bloggers, websites, and other publications that might have been a source of inspiration for you in the past. Identify what you love about the work, and import some of these elements into your own designs.
“Pinterest gives you the ability to create boards of multiple types of design inspiration — not just other websites,” says Emily Eldridge Holdman of PeopleKit. “Curate whatever you think could influence your design in one place, and use the description to explain what attributes inspire you.” Spending time on this social site can give you a variety of ideas that can be molded into something that approaches genius.
6. Social Media
When you’re looking for web design ideas that will set you apart in today’s market, there’s no better place to search than among those who have successfully preceded you. If you follow other creative geniuses on social media, that should give you a daily dose of design inspiration every time you open the page.
Faithfully read and study the work of your favorite designer on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and any other social site that’s relevant to your niche.
People are readily attracted to the natural world around them. Beautiful mountain landscapes, restless ocean waves, serene forest paths, and still valley lakes can excite even the most burned-out or uninspired of designers to discover new ideas and beauty that can be transformed onto the web.
Museums are full of challenging art and craft ideas that connect with what people love. People’s taste in art will tell you a lot about their taste in graphic design.
9. Magazines and Catalogs
Flip through a few magazines during your spare time. You’ll inevitably encounter breaking fashion trends, home decor, food, and gossip. You’ll also observe color schemes, text that sells, and other design tactics that grab people hook, line, and sinker. Design features in print can be just as effective in the digital arena if approached in the right way.
Have you thought about subscribing to the newsletters of your favorite designers and bloggers? You’ll find out which design features and color schemes they use to appeal to the viewer and motivate conversions. Identifying some of the sources of inspiration and creativity that go into these newsletters can give your digital design a helpful boost.
11. Fashion Shows
Design and good taste are totally interconnected. By looking at what people are wearing and using to decorate their homes, you’ll be able to get a feel for what they like to see in other facets of life, including a good website.
Some of these creative outlets might strike you as a little strange for the purpose of online graphic design, but creativity is creativity, whether it comes in print or digital format.