Are you stuck in a design rut? Do you have a serious case of designer’s block?
Don’t worry–it happens to all of us. Sometimes, despite multiple trips to Starbucks and hours of cat videos, the creative inspiration just isn’t flowing.
If this sounds like you, don’t despair. Whether you do graphic design, web design, or a little bit of both, there are many places you can start looking for inspiration.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few helpful tips for digging yourself out of a creative rut. Then we’ll list 8 great websites for digital design inspiration.
Finding Inspiration: Quick Tips
Do you feel like you’re designing the same website over and over again? If so, keep these helpful thoughts in mind.
1. Research New Trends
Don’t get us wrong–there were some great WordPress trends in 2013. But this is 2018, and times are changing.
Do you know the most popular themes, templates, and designs for this year? If you’re still hanging onto that template from 5 years ago, it’s time to do some research and see what’s trending right now.
2. Keep Creative Resources Handy
While staying on top of new trends is important, this doesn’t mean you have to ditch anything older than last week.
If you already have a list of websites, books, or other resources that help you feel inspired, keep them close by. This can help you through the early phases of brainstorming and prototyping.
3. Don’t Overthink
You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?
It’s easy to fall into the habit of second-guessing ourselves. Some days we may hate every single thing we create on the screen.
On those days, spend some time looking over your past work or researching new design trends. You’re sure to realize that your current project is on par with other designers’ work.
4. Boost Your Creativity
Sometimes you can find inspiration in the most unexpected places–even when you’re not actively looking for inspiration.
It also helps to stimulate your creativity in areas other than design. Listen to a different type of music, visit a new art exhibit, or sit down and admire the sunset.
You might be amazed by what comes to mind!
5. Stay Motivated
Are you having one of those days when it’s just not happening? Take a (quick) break and peruse other websites.
Analyze what works and what doesn’t. Make a list of features you like and dislike. What would you change about the site if you could?
Returning to your current project with this fresh perspective will give you the motivation you need to keep going.
Most outsiders don’t realize how solitary design work can be. After the initial discussion with the client, you may spend days or even weeks working by yourself.
If you stumble upon an inspirational website or a fresh idea, don’t keep it to yourself. Call up your creative team (or the client) and hash it out. This could generate fresh excitement and a new direction for the project.
5 Places for Digital Design Inspiration
We’ve talked a lot about looking at other websites for inspiration. Where exactly do you go to find these sites?
Here are 5 websites guaranteed to make those creative juices flow.
1. Web Design Inspiration
Even if the name isn’t that original, the content certainly is. Web Design Inspiration is a one-stop shop for anyone who appreciates beautifully designed websites.
You can filter the results by industry, website type, design style, even color palette. There’s also hours’ worth of demo videos to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how these sites were made.
2. Template Monster
Before you scoff at the idea of a site with pre-made templates, hear us out. If you’re struggling to come up with an original layout, the designs at Template Monster could give you the inspiration you’re looking for.
Filter the templates by industry, platform, color, and other features. By looking at many different layouts in a short period of time, you’ll gain some fresh perspective for your current project.
3. Responsive Design
Are you looking for inspiration for a mobile site–or trying to make an existing site more mobile friendly?
Check out the aptly named Responsive Design, a site dedicated to responsive design development and strategy. They feature flexible images and grids as well as media queries to get your creative juices flowing.
What looks like a typo is actually a website dedicated to rewarding well-designed sites. If you want to stay on top of the very latest trends in web design, Awwwards is the place to go.
They give out awards for design, innovation, and creativity to designers, developers, and web agencies. Each site is hand-picked by web experts based on content, usability, and design features.
If you’re looking for artistic inspiration in general–not just web design–check out Behance. This site is designed for professional artists, by professional artists.
It’s a treasure trove of inspiration spanning all creative communities. Looking for the latest UX/UI trends in Europe? The latest typography trends in Korea? The best copywriting from North America?
Behance lists all that and more. You can filter the results to narrow in on what you’re looking for. You can even search the “most appreciated” websites in a given area to study regional trends in creativity.
Looking for Inspiration? Now You Found It
Creative block is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. All you have to do is go looking for inspiration in the right places.
Bookmark this post and refer back to it on those days when coffee and cat videos aren’t enough.
And if you haven’t already, check out our post on the best design tools of 2018 to make sure you’re staying on top of your game.