Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

There are many places to look, both online and off. The important thing is to not limit yourself to just one source of inspiration.

Online Design Galleries

Many new designers begin looking for design inspiration from online galleries.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with online design galleries, they do seem to showcase similar sites. One gallery finds a design they like and before long there are dozens of other galleries showcasing the same design.

Another problem I find with online galleries is that they often showcase designs that follow a certain trend. Trends are fine, but when everyone is following a trend, where’s the innovation? Where’s the variety?

The online galleries that are the best places to look are ones like Creattica that showcase more than just website and logo designs. Creattica, for example, features designs in categories like business cards, skateboard and snowboard art, posters, motion graphics, book covers, icons, tshirt design, and more.

However diverse they may seem, you should not limit yourself to just online design galleries.

Photo Galleries

Many designers find inspiration in photographs. It’s no wonder that many turn to Flickr to jump start their creative juices.

Flickr is very handy for finding new and interesting color schemes.

There is also the very useful Compfight, which allows you to search Flickr. What makes this stand out is that is displays just the images in the search results. Plus it loads a tons of photos on each page, which means you don’t have to spend all day browsing through your results and clicking ‘Next’.

Of course, you can also find inspiration offline.

Books and Magazines

I’m a big fan of finding new ideas in magazines. In a recent guest post for Inspired Magazine, I discussed the benefits and advantages of seeking design inspiration from magazines.

Just a few of the advantages include becoming a better designer, improving your typography chops, and finding interesting a new layout ideas.

As I mentioned in my Inspired Magazine article, if you want better results, get out of your comfort zone. This can be done by looking in magazines that deal with other subjects (other than graphics, web design, or technology).

Books and book covers are also great places to look for new design ideas.

The Book Cover Archive is a great place to start online for your search of great book covers. But you might want to just get out and go to the library. There you will find even more unique designs to infuse your brain.

Product Design

You can also get out of your element and find inspiration in product designs from around the world.

In order for their products to stand out of the shelves, companies spend a lot of time on finding unique way of displaying their products.

Sites like The Dieline showcase these unique product designs.

Want an offline solution? Go to the grocery store. Go to a mall. Walk down the isles and see which products grab your attention first. Then try to determine why? It’s a good exercise and it can help you come up with new ideas to use in your next design.

The Real Test

The real test of any form of inspiration is the results you get.

Everyone thinks differently, learns differently, and are affected by what they see, hear and experience differently. So if you’re stuck in a rut or you just want a change of pace, try different means of getting inspired.

Some of the best results come from getting out of your comfort zone, so get crazy and have some fun!

Image Credits: Bewildered Man by Primusoid. Light Bulb Isolated on White by Nikolay Okhitin. Royalty-free photography from Shutterstock.

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