Website Design Inspiration: 3 Ways to Jumpstart Creativity

 Everyone needs a little design inspiration sometimes

Have you ever had an urge to draw something, design a website, or build something? Maybe you have, but you can’t seem to get started?

For Network9’s designers, inspiration is a must. We thrive on creative and beautiful design (that’s why we got into this business), and LOVE to look at great work and great art to jumpstart our own creativity. Especially if we feel stuck and need website design inspiration.

So take it from the pros: here are three easy ways we get inspired:

1.) Imitate the Greats

If you’re going to steal, steal from the greats. (We’re kidding, don’t steal.) But DO look at what you love about a piece of work you see and use it as a jumping off point.

You must have designers/artists/creatives you go crazy for. Whether it be Paula Scher (one of the best out there, noted for her creative use of typography) or Pablo Picasso (you know, the guy with the paintings), notice what you love about their stuff and imitate it—At least to start with. Don’t feel like you’re plagiarizing—everyone starts out copying their favorites, then develops their own style.

The Public Theatre by Paula Scher of Pentagram
The Public Theatre by Paula Scher of Pentagram

Once you start, you’ll be surprised how your own voice/perspective will take over. You’ll start to say things like “well yeah, I love the text she used, but what if I made my text a little smaller or a different color or tried it this way…” And the next thing you know, you’re designing. It takes time to define your own style—don’t give up!

2.) Take a Design Field Trip

This is our favorite.  Whenever Carmen goes outside, her phone is ALWAYS ready to take snapshots of the art that is everywhere in New York City. Our design for the Abyssinian Baptist Church was inspired by wall art in at the Carnegie Hall subway stop, and it is still there! It was the website design inspiration that got us started. We loved the mix of images that had the feel of a tapestry, because it reflected the diversity of their congregation.

Website-Design-Inspiration-from-a-Subway-collage

Carve out an hour or two of time to just walk. Go to a museum. Flip through a Paul Rand book. Bring your phone or camera—don’t wear your headphones or answer emails/texts. Just walk and look and take photos. Notice what inspires you. These were taken on NYC streets.

Make an inspiration board of your favorite photos when you’re done.

It’s so rare nowadays that anyone takes time to reflect, especially us busy New Yorkers. But quiet time can still be productive, especially if you use it as a way to express your creativity.

3.) Think Beyond the Visual 

Some people think good design is all about what it looks like.  But that isn’t the essence of great design. Great design isn’t about being beautiful. It’s about people having a great experience when they come into contact with it. It’s about functionality, elegance, and emotion. Great design doesn’t begin and end at “beautiful.”

So think beyond the visual for your own inspiration. Don’t just ask yourself “what will it look like”, ask yourself what it’ll feel like, smell like, taste like—even if those questions don’t seem to make sense. Ask yourself what you want other people to feel when they see your project or touch your project. Ask yourself what your project would say to people if it had a voice. Ask yourself who would  be your project’s best friend.

These questions are crazy, yes, but that’s what makes them work.

Retrain your brain

It’s about asking your brain to see your project in a different way—you’d be surprised what gets unlocked when you change perspective. Think 3-dimensionally about design and access another part of your creative brain.

We hope these ideas have set off a spark that’ll turn into a creative flame. Need a jumping off point?  Check out our “Design Inspiration” Pinterest board!

What are you waiting for?  Go out there and make something!

Have your own creative idea?  Tweet us @network9 or like us on Facebook!