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11 Ways to Get Inspired - See What Best Designers Do

05
Aug
2009

Inspiration is the fuel for our designer's minds and bodies - although some would say it actually is coffee :) If our inspiration stream dries out, things are slowing down, we don't know how to start, how to continue and how to finish the tasks we are working on. Our mind gets distracted very fast and we just can not focus on what is needed. Or we are just trying to put the colors, shapes and letters to the right place and just feel that it doesn't feel the right way.

So what can we do? We always have two choices - to give up, or not to give up and get inspired. I want to share with you a way how I get inspired when my inspiration stream feels dried. And as a bonus, on the end of this article you will find out, what some of the best designers do to get inspired.

Video

Watch some inspirational movies, trailers, short videos. Watch some awesome Typography motion videos

Books

Read at least one of many great design/development books. Read biography of inspiring people who changed their world and stories of successful businesses

Blogs

Get inspired by reading some great design related blogs. You will find many great design resources, reviews, showcases of great designs, design tutorials and much more.

Twitter

Twitter can be a great source of inspiration with thousands of links tweeted every hour. Search for hashtags #inspiration #inspired #design #webdesign on twitter.com search

Nature

Nature is amazingly beautiful. I was on holiday in Switzerland recently, and seeing the nature there was one of the most beautiful views I ever seen. It was amazing to see all the mountains and colors from the plane. Go to mountains or beach, look at the flowers, watch the animals and bugs and you will get inspired. You will (almost) never go wrong with a color scheme created from nature. Take a look at some inspiring color schemes created from nature.

Art Gallery

Go to gallery or a museum and see the art of great artists, that inspired people for hundreds of years. Learn about their background, find out more about the artist. Study their techniques. Try to feel the atmosphere of the paintings.

CSS Galleries

CSS showcase galleries are always a great source of inspiration. Look at the best designs from all around the globe, see the work of world's best designers and get inspired

Sleep/Rest

Sleep, go out for a walk, watch people in the streets, get some fresh air, play some sport. Seriously, tired body and tired mind is like a barrier for your inspiration stream. Staying awake till 4am, trying to make that design, then sleeping for 3 hrs and getting back to your desk will not make it. Also make sure you drink enough water every day.

Music

Music is powerful. It can get you in the right mood. As a musician, music plays important role in my life. I love listening to a smooth jazz or funky-drum'n'base when designing. It helps me to get away from the world around me and to focus on the task.

God

For thousands artists, musicians, writers scientists and designers, God and their faith has been the source of Inspiration. If you are a christian, you belive that God, as the creator of the entire universe is the ultimate source of inspiration. His unconditional love is the core motivation for millions of people around the globe.

Learn from the Rockstars

I have asked few designers the same question: "What inspires you, where do you find inspiration?" See what their answers looked like:

Calvin Lee @Mayhemstudios - "I look at other great designers work. Also get inspired by life, friends & family. Most of my inspiration comes from non-design activities"

Misty Belardo @mistygirlph - "When writing > its music that inspires me. Gets me in the zone, helps clear my mind. In designing > I just let it flow I have my sketchpad and pencil and just draw away and see where it takes me"

Cheth @cheth - "I try to find inspiration in whatever i see, be it a tv commercial, or something in my office, or just watching others work and later i sketch it down for design inspiration :) the easiest and effective way for designers.  Also music - it is the best inspiration to keep you creative"

Chris Spooner @chrisspooner - "I'm often inspired after a good session of browsing through my RSS feeds, there's stacks of awesome work and useful content"

Brian K. McDaniel @bkmacdaddy - "Music is ALWAYS big for me. I am always looking at showcases & roundups to get ideas also. I usually try to look at designs that are completely outside the genre of what I'm going to create, rather than the same style. I always try to nudge the client outside of their respective box. Nature, interior design, artwork - all these inspire me."

April @OneLuvGurl - "As a fan of minimalism, I find myself inspired by the everyday simple things that we tend to overlook. A small flower in a patch of weeds, a song stripped bare so one focuses on the words and emotion. I believe that too much distracts and takes away from the message in whatever you do. If you can find beauty in simplicity, that in itself is inspiring."

Brandon Cox @brandonacox: "I'm inspired by the 175 feeds I read, by my daughter's crayon art, and by certain motivating Scriptures. My big 3."

Richard Darell @minervity - "Well, as weird as it may seem I actually get all my inspiration from the kind of impact the current project will have on my knowledge in specific areas. As a strive to always become a better designer / developer I always set high expectations on my work. And by always trying to learn I can make sure that my work always leave my hands without me feeling like I haven't done my very best. However, inspiration for also comes from situations in life where I have felt calm and at piece. Being a freelance designer / developer is always stressful so any time I find myself in a relaxed situation I always get hugely inspired for some reason. It almost always leads to some sort of creative output. :) I have a specific route that I walk when I am stressed to get myself to sort it out. It's a residential area by a lake that is one of Swedens most beautiful residential area and I always take a long walk by the water when things bubble up to become too stressful. :)"

Grace Smith @gracesmith - "It’s hard to pinpoint one exact thing that inspires me, it’s a combination of my whole environment as well as the people around me. I try not to rely too much on online resources for inspiration, as it's too easy to 'recycle' ideas this way. I should mention that I’m hugely into photography at the moment, having just purchased my first DSLR recently and find nature to be truly inspiring."

About the author

Jozef Toth's picture

CEO of Mogdesign.eu - Drupal design and development firm. Designer, blogger, christian, husband, father...
http://about.me/jojototh

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59 comments so far

Brian McDaniel's picture

Thanks so much for including me in your list of designers! I am flattered to be in such great company! Great article and love the various resources you provided. Bookmarking this page now!

misty belardo's picture

Bookmarked this post. So many good ideas here to get not just designers inspired. You are right with so many distractions around, it is always good to find ways to bring us back into the zone.

Thank you so much for including me as part of your roster of designers I am honored to be part of the list.

Brandon Cox's picture

You just can't underestimate the warm fuzzies I get when I see my name somewhere beneath the word "Rockstars!" Awesome article, and thanks for sticking my name under there!

Grace Smith's picture

I'm with you Brandon, it's an amazing feeling to be called a 'rockstar' in your niche, definitely gives you the warm fuzzies!

Thanks Jojo for asking me to participate to this fab article, i'm the same as Misty, i find Music to be so inspiring, i can't work without it :-)

Daniel's picture

Yep, nice list, also bookmarked this post.

ping to you ;)

Cam's picture

this list is INSANE. well thought out and needed article. fresh!

Josh Cleland's picture

Great post. I love all the resources. I'm working on a similar post about getting out of a creativity slump/rut.

OneLuvGurl's picture

Great list of ways to get inspired! Love seeing that so many are inspired by music.

Thanks for including me as well! :)

Sharon (crave2create)'s picture

Thank you so much for the work you put into making this article. Im really gaining a lot from it.

Brooke E Walton's picture

Great post! Kudos for being brave enough to include God and faith as a source of inspiration, don't see that often at all.

Kadu WD's picture

Very Good!!

Kate's picture

Oh, so nice article. Reading it already inspired me. :)

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Nice work, your awsome content have forced me to to leave some positive feedback

Claire Richardson's picture

i love the smell of fresh air in the morning. it is so rejuvenation.`'.

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I love all the resources..

Buck Teeth :'s picture

i like instrumental music because of its very relaxing nature'`:

ATX Power Supply 's picture

the morning fresh air is the best, i have asthma and i love to get some fresh air -";

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Excellent tips. I always get my inspiration from music :)

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