Finding Inspiration as a Designer
So you’ve just landed a client that wants you to redesign their entire website. This is pretty great because you’re probably going to make a lot of money being the sole designer on a project this size. You’ve met with the client already, signed their non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and you’re ready to get started. After rushing home, you flop down into your comfy computer chair, fire up Photoshop and Illustrator, and are ready to blow their minds away.
After passionately clicking away after hours and hours of staring at your screen, your eyes are itchy and red, and you’ve lost track of how much time has actually passed. You lean back in your chair to take a look at what you’ve done only to see an empty canvas document with an infinite backlog of undo options. After all this time, you just can’t seem to get inspired by a good design.
Unfortunately, great design doesn’t just happen overnight. Sometimes we get stuck and need that spark of inspiration and creativity to get the ball rolling for us. Thankfully not all hope is lost. We’re going to share with you some great tips and advice to help you get out of your design funk and start creating amazing designs for yourself and your clients.
Inspiration is Everywhere
You don’t have to look for inspiration, inspiration will find you! I promise I didn’t get that out of a fortune cookie. While it sounds cliché, it’s the truth. Inspiration is all around us, in everywhere we go, and in everything we do. Just open your eyes and look around you. As web designers, we’re constantly looking to create new designs that our clients will love. So how do we come up with something new and fresh?
As web designers, our main platform is the web. There are millions of websites out there but not all of them have a good design mind you. However, a lot of them do if we know where to look. See what other websites in the niche you’re designing for look like. What information can you gather from them? What can you do differently to come up with a better design and concept?
Great design and inspiration often come from simply asking the hard questions or the questions that no one else thought to ask. There are also great places like dribbble.com where you can go to browse work from fellow designers. Places like this are treasure troves for finding your inspiration.
Inspiration Doesn’t Mean Copying
It’s one thing to get inspired by someone’s design, it’s another to totally copy someone else’s. Most designers look at the work of other designers and adapt things to create an original design. In fact, some designers take certain aspects of multiple designs and combine them all into something totally new and original. There isn’t anything wrong with this, and it’s actually encouraged in many design communities.
The problem comes in when you completely copy someone else’s design and show it off as your own. It’s not cool and just shows your lack of originality. When looking for inspiration for your new web design, you’re trying to find “inspiration”, not a design you can pick up and call your own when it’s not.
You want to be the best designer that you can be, not that someone else can. Make the effort to grow as a designer and come up with your own designs, and if you need to check out other designs for inspiration, there’s nothing wrong with that.
You’re Trying Too Hard
If we could easily manufacture inspiration and ideas, then no one would have to brainstorm or get inspired in the first place. One of the main obstacles to getting inspiration for a new design is ourselves. You can’t force inspiration, it’s something that happens naturally. When you try to force it, you’re just making matters worse and adding needless stress on yourself.
Now, this shouldn’t give you the excuse to not try at all and be lazy. I’ve heard stories of some designers that take months off from work just to find their inspiration. Sure everyone is different and inspiration comes to us in its own way, but months off is honestly just excessive. Don’t try too hard to make inspiration happen, just think differently about a situation or concept. Eventually, you’re get inspired and come up with something that works.
Finding inspiration doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it to be. Sure we get stuck sometimes and it seems like we’ll never come up with something that works, but that’s usually temporary. Great inspiration often comes at times when we least expect it to. Be patient and try to look at things in a new light.
Creativity and experimentation often result in unexpected inspiration. Do yourself a favour and don’t stress too much about it. There are tons of places to find inspiration from, just open your eyes and let the inspiration find you.