September 24, 2021 8:36 am

7 surprising sources of design inspiration

Design thought is available in all styles and sizes.

It doesn’t rely in case you’re an illustrator north face logo working on a glossy magazine cowl or a image fashion designer operating on a logo mock-up to your client’s contemporary product. The right type of concept will usually assist you come up with innovative and particular ideas for your initiatives.

But every now and then you need some assist getting inspired. Luckily, there are a TON of extremely good sources for layout inspiration.

(Our personal favorite is Muzli, the ever-updating resource for layout proposal served clean.)

There are a TON of locations to get layout inspiration—and that may be overwhelming.

Well, we need to help. That’s why we talked to three expert designers to discover precisely wherein they go to get inspired.

8 places to head for layout notion (as cautioned through professional designers)
The designers we talked to:

Greg Wilson. An NYC-based picture and movement dressmaker.
Chad Michael. An award-triumphing branding, packaging, and product designer.
William Meadows. A creative director and consumer-targeted design lead for ACC New Zealand.
Between the 3 of them, they have got some a long time worth of layout enjoy and acumen—now not to say an encyclopedic expertise of the fine locations for layout idea.

You is probably surprised at how often they cross offline for idea. Big lesson: Don’t be afraid to project outdoor faraway from your laptop to get stimulated.

With that, permit’s bounce in.

1. Travel
Source: Unsplash
From William:

“I’ve carried out a whole lot of solo touring (upwards of 60 nations by myself). To me, that is about increasing my ‘visual library’ however also getting time to mission some of my deeper rooted assumptions. As a design researcher, one of the key elements is reflecting and understanding yourself. There’s no higher manner to try this than adapting your self to a new context.”

Travel exposes you to new cultures, people, and stories. It’s no surprise expert designers like William use it as a source of layout proposal as well. By immersing yourself in an area that’s some distance from domestic, you get away of your consolation area and open your eyes to new possibilities for your innovative initiatives.

Tip: Scout for last-minute flight deals and head to a metropolis you’ve never heard of or planned on touring for a weekend. Ask locals for eating place tips, take lengthy walks, and maintain your headphones in your pocket whilst you attention on those new environment.

Go deeper: How travelling for a yr modified a far off worker’s life

2. Take walks
From Greg:

“As a creative, it’s so clean to get lost in your head. For me, I move on walks or motorbike rides to clear my head and soak in my environment. I locate concept anywhere from tags and murals to bizarre cars to nature and structure.”

Sometimes the first-rate manner to get inspired creatively is to go away the office and surely move on a walk. This isn’t simply conjectured either—a 2014 look at by means of Stanford University observed that strolling boosted innovative output by means of 60%.

Tip: Think approximately how you may start incorporating aware walks during your innovative system. Force yourself to take regular stretching and movement breaks, especially on worrying days.

Go deeper: What’s your innovative ritual?

3. Hit up vintage stores and property income—or Etsy
From Chad:

“I’m constantly looking and searching for little hidden gem stones at those locations as you in no way recognize what you may locate. It is a extra non-public enjoy than doing net studies, as the gadgets you locate while hunting have maximum probably not ever been on the net, due to the fact they had been accumulating dirt in a person’s home for many years.”

Antique shops comprise a wealth of unique objects which might be certain to spark your imagination. You can discover gadgets from decades ago whole with antique typography, illustrations, and designs.

Tip: Come with a project or subject matter in mind. When you’re open to suggestion for a selected idea, you’ll discover your thoughts making all forms of connections.

From Chad:

“Etsy is a high-quality one to locate packaging pieces that the arena has forgotten approximately and that many have now not but seen. Finding notion that is antique yet new to the eyes can simply get the inspiration shifting. I usually look for vintage packaging, ephemera, and do prop attempting to find the studio’s product photoshoots.“

Etsy is a popular eCommerce platform catered to hand-crafted and artisan items. As such, it’s chock complete of amusing curios and items you may scroll via to your layout idea.

Go deeper: A while lower back, we chatted with two of Etsy’s product designers on the importance of records-driven layout at the business enterprise.

4. Chat up circle of relatives, friends, and coworkers
Source: Unsplash
From Greg:

“I am so lucky to paintings in an industry with little egos. Everyone wants to help each other and simply make dope stuff. The friends and coworkers I even have regarded are probably the maximum on the spot source of suggestion. Some humans I like include Dan Covert, Joyce N. Ho, and Irene Feleo.”

From William:

“As I’ve gotten older, I locate I really curate my friends, my media, and the social stories I ‘consume.’ This is extremely good for my tastes, however awful for my views as a design researcher. I locate one of the high-quality matters to name up for a truth take a look at is my stories developing up with my uncles consuming beer and capturing fireworks, the weird malls my mom might take me to clothes shopping as a child, the smell and experience of your grandparents’ house, and knocking over trash cans at night time with my marauding teenage pals. Those are the matters of actual, non-curated humans. The struggles and just realness of family [and friends] help make designing for human beings a truth, not simply a flowery tagline.”

There’s no denying that the human beings you surround yourself with have an plain and deep impact on who you come to be. One look at from Gallup discovered that humans with friends of their work or enterprise were seven-hundred% much more likely to be engaged of their work when compared to their friendless counterparts. That’s why any aspiring creative have to work on constructing and fostering a network of supportive people in the event that they want to locate achievement.

Tip: Don’t have pals to your enterprise? Make some. Find networking activities on your community on Meetup or Dribbble, or visit (cooler, objectively more a laugh) innovative talks like Creative Mornings or Think&Drink. Also, don’t forget about that it’s 2019 and friends don’t need to grasp IRL—industry Slack organizations are terrific ways to make connections out of your couch.

Go deeper: 5 steps to trendy mentorship

5. Motionographers
From Greg:

“Motionographer is the pass-to, cream-of-the-crop for the animation industry. Everything from stellar customer work to progressive private tasks are posted here. This vicinity has been a regular inspo page once I turned into starting out in movement layout some years in the past and it turned into precious for getting to know.”

Motionographer (pronounced like “oceanographer”) gives motion designers inspiration by means of showcasing the paintings of installed and up-and-coming motion designers, sharing helpful articles on layout, and proposing remark on enterprise topics.

Tip: Even if you’re no longer a movement dressmaker, take benefit of resources like Motionographer to expose you what different designers are working on. An inspiring mission is an inspiring assignment, after all—the medium isn’t what’s maximum critical.

Go deeper: Our 18 nice posts on animation.

6. Pinterest
From Chad:

“The intensity that Pinterest possesses is endless. It is a every day supply for me especially for the duration of the research length of a mission where you can locate tremendously particular design, example, pictures, and references. It can be pretty a rabbit hole.”

Pinterest is a unfastened social media platform that permits customers to curate pics and movies onto virtual Pinterest boards. This makes it a exquisite source of layout proposal you can use on your subsequent task. It’s also a awesome manner to create a mood board.

Tip: Build Pinterest into your studies phase. Search for key words and ideas out of your challenge and spot what the arena brings you.

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