Motivation Monday: Finding Design Inspiration

One of my least favorite feelings in the world is when I feel a design deadline approaching at the speed of light, and my creativity seems to have miraculously… disappeared. Over the last decade I have been designing, I have had this happen to me several times – often on my most important deadlines, of course. I have learned that the best way to handle a design slump can be to search for design inspiration. Often all it takes to kick my design senses into gear is to look at a plethora of design concepts, projects and motivational quotes, and suddenly my mindset will kick back into gear.

I am fairly confident I am not the only one who has experienced a design slump. Thus, if you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to check out the following places I go for inspiration:

Anti-Slump Action I: Sift through Pinterest
As many of you already know, Pinterest is an excellent tool for all sorts of inspiration. DIY gifting? Check. Quick and Easy Appetizer? Check. Yes, I confess, Pinterest can be a girl’s best friend. That said, there is also a place on Pinterest for guys (woodworking, anyone?) – and there is definitely a spot for designers. In fact, I have made amazing design revelations via Pinterest just by searching simple keyword phrases such as ‘web design inspiration.’ The big picture sky view of designs provides a unique perspective for looking at imagery. The best part? If you can’t seem to find the design style you are looking for, you could always just look for an inspirational quote to keep the morale high.

Anti-Slump Action II: Check out showcase sites
My favorite design showcase site is The Best Designs, but there are a ton more to choose from. Showcase sites don’t have to revolve around web design either, Behance, Dribbble and Awwwards all explore various facets of design inspiration.

Anti-Slump Action III: Get away from your computer
Sure, this advice is not all that helpful for anyone on a timeline, however if you are in the fortunate position of having some extra time on your hands, get out of the office! Go embrace your inner foodie, nature-lover, or escapist. Go for a hike, eat snails, or go for a long drive. Sometimes the best inspiration is that which is around you, and that inspiration is often what is most taken for granted by creatives. Come back with a clear brain full of new memories, smells, ideas, and tastes. Embrace those new concepts in your designs.

Anti-Slump Action IV: Start from Scratch
Sometimes the hardest part in design is taking something you have started and bringing it to where you want it to be. Often I find myself with an amazing idea that I just can’t quite bring to fruition in my design. When this happens, I find myself best guided by completely scrapping this concept and exploring a brand new direction. Yes, that hurts to do. However, I tend to find that once I get started in a new, fresh, direction, I am able to come back to the original concept, and pull elements in gradually. It doesn’t always work, but it can often do the trick – and it is usually worth a try.

Do you have any creative slump strategies that seem to work outside of these tips?

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