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GuidesUser experience (UX)12 sources of inspiration for designers

12 sources of inspiration for designers

Last updated

14 May 2023

Author

Claire Bonneau

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

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Caught in a design rut? You aren’t alone.

Creative block (similar to writer's block, just for designers and digital art creatives) is an incredibly common experience for working design professionals. Defined as the feeling of being unable to create, produce, or even think of new design concepts, a creative block can be a haunting prospect for designers with upcoming tight deadlines.

As an often unwelcome experience for a designer at any level, it is important to know that tools are available to re-spark your creative energy and reinvigorate your latest designs when you feel uninspired—and we’d love to share some of our top picks!

In this article, let us help you reignite your creativity with our list of go-to sources for inspiration for designers.

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How to find creative inspiration

Graphic design inspiration is an elusive and dynamic mistress, no matter what industry or medium you work in. 

Sometimes seeming to come naturally, flowing without effort, this experience can quickly change if you hit a creative block. When this happens, coming up with even the simplest design ideas can be excruciating (and can make you want to delete all of your work or crumple up any ideas you have started).

But, as an inevitable part of the creative process, there are some ways to spark design inspiration, even when it may feel impossible:

Chatting with teammates

Brainstorming and venting to your teammates is a great way to work through creative blocks. Your peers are likely also invested in the success of your work, making them a great resource to provide feedback, offer suggestions, and even improve your mood. 

By reaching out to your team when you are struggling to find inspiration, you will likely improve your creativity and enhance internal communication about the project, both of which are helpful in the long term.

Get offline

Sometimes, the best way to create compelling designs is to take a break. Turning your computer off, getting outside, and disconnecting from your work is an incredibly effective way of clearing the mind. This, in turn, can help you address troublesome design problems later on.

As a particularly hard strategy to implement when you have a tight upcoming deadline, setting time to decompress and get offline is crucial for sustaining your creative inspiration.

Move your body

Movement is an essential component of creativity (and your overall health). Whether you enjoy a nice walk outside, hit the gym, or play a team sport, intentional exercise away from your creative work helps to keep your mind sharp.

Whenever possible, getting in even a  few minutes of exercise can have a significantly positive impact—so get out there and move—your designs will thank you later!

Explore existing designs for ideas

You can beat creative block by exploring other high-quality design projects for inspiration. Luckily for you, we have our top picks for places to look listed in this very article!

The top 12 places to find inspiration for designers

Work through your creative block and find an unlimited supply of new ideas by checking out our top 12 graphic design inspiration resources:

Pinterest

Pinterest, a well-known vision board social media platform, is a great resource for designers of any medium. It is a diverse and easy-to-use resource that encourages its users to pin and save ideas from other creators. 

Creating a Pinterest board can be very helpful for tackling creative blocks. By scrolling and saving images that you find exciting and compelling, you are exposing yourself to new, unique, and alternative design styles that can inspire new ideas and concepts in your work. 

When you feel stuck in a design rut, we recommend checking out some of our favorite Pinterest design leaders, including Ben Grandgenett, Temi Coker, and Kristen Ashton.

Dribbble

Dribbble is a portfolio platform used by designers and creatives worldwide. As a place to create and share new design ideas, this platform is a great resource to pursue and explore for inspiration. It highlights the latest trends and changes in modern design, so we recommend using Dribbble if you feel stuck during the early stages of a creative project.

Behance

Behance is a platform designed to showcase and display work portfolios for creative professionals. Created by Adobe, users can explore Behance by selecting from various filters, including color palette, creative field, location, and more. 

This creative community hub allows users to like and leave comments on portfolio pieces. This makes it a great platform to try new mediums and get feedback from peers and other industry experts.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide, which makes it a great resource for inspiration for designers—only if you can manage the distraction it comes with. As a grid-based photo and video platform hosting personal, professional, and marketing accounts, this app has no shortage of design ideas and inspiration.

As Instagram doesn't offer a built-in option for downloading content, designers often use an Instagram downloader to save images and videos for reference and mood boards. However, it's important to respect the original creators and give credit when using their work as a source of inspiration in your own projects.

The platform has plenty of design experts to glean inspiration from. We particularly enjoy the Instagram accounts of designers Andreas M Hansen, Steven Harrington, Timothy Goodman, and Mike Perry.

Abduzeedo

Abduzeedo (also known as adbz.com) is a digital design blog and educational resource that is popular among new and veteran creatives. 

It also offers tutorials, blog posts, and galleries of new and trending design concepts and ideas. This is a must-use resource for designers looking to improve their skills and explore new sources of inspiration.

As a diverse resource covering topics like editorial design, 3D graphics and animation, typography, and more, you will for sure leave Abduzeedo with a new skill or new idea after every visit!  

Happy Hues

Happy Hues is your go-to resource for everything website design color. As an often complicated aspect of any design work, finding the right color palette is essential for successful design projects. 

Offering insights into color theory (and where to place each color in your design for the best impact), Happy Hues is a fantastic resource for improving your work's clarity and visual aesthetics.

The Component Gallery is an industry standards reference guide for current component-based user interface designs. Made to be a repository of options, designs, and concepts for different digital user interface designs, this is a must-visit website for any creative making digital web content. 

It is filled with cutting-edge design ideas and out-of-the-box options for commonly used web components, so you will definitely get plenty of design inspiration by using this resource.

Awwwards

Awwwards is a platform that celebrates and highlights the work of leading web designers and developers.

This is a great resource for anyone looking to push their design ideas to the next level, featuring annual awards and daily “site of the day” mentions to bring awareness to high-quality design work across all industries. Get inspired by the newest and latest design themes and concepts by using Awwwards during your design process. 

Typewolf

Typewolf markets itself as the place to see “What’s Trending in Type.” As a platform to collect inspiration and ideas related to typography, there is no shortage of unique and compelling fonts and type-based designs to explore on this website. 

They also offer tutorials and educational resources about improving your design typography. This is a must-use resource for digital and print designers looking to stand out.

Canva

Canva is a commonly used digital design tool offering plenty of inspiration for designers. Aside from the seemingly endless number of design templates to trial and use, Canva also has a design spotlight resource. This section highlights design options and tools that can be used for various mediums.

Canva also has plenty of educational blogs covering everything you could ever need to know about high-quality design. This makes it a great choice for learning something new and sparking creativity.

Fonts In Use

Fonts In Use is a valuable resource for showing which fonts are used in real-life print ads and design pieces. By breaking down the fonts and typography used in compelling print designs, creatives can better understand how to elevate and improve their work. 

Font choice significantly impacts the tone and clarity of any design project, so using a resource like Fonts In Use is a fantastic way to get inspiration and try something new when you are stuck in a design rut.

Outlier (by Dovetail)

Outlier offers quality content for all craft lovers, designers, and creatives. As a resource created and hosted by the team at Dovetail, Outlier shares stories, perspectives, and ideas that challenge the status quo. 

It is a powerhouse resource filled with interviews with industry leaders, designer profiles, opinion blog pieces, and more. Outlier is an accessible platform for collecting inspiration and improving your craft.

Improve the impact of your design

Design inspiration does not always come easy. We hope this article has helped to show that even though creative block is a normal experience, you can combat it by accessing helpful resources.

Use these resources to your advantage and get out there and design—you got this!

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