As I stare at a blank document, Searching for ways in which I can deliver this message, I am reminded how elusive inspiration can be. Part of the reason that inspiration often eludes us is that there is no one reliable path to it, and many of our best ideas come to us when we least expect them, and often from unlikely sources. This creates obvious problems for those of us that make our living generating ideas. Unlike others, we cannot not simply shelf our project and move on with life. It is our life.
When one becomes frustrated with a design, it is tempting to visit websites that showcase other peoples’ creations. While this can help spark creativity, it can also become a crutch. Designers should be problem-solvers, not slaves to current trends. The inspiration we’re looking for can be found in other places than these online portfolios.
Clothing designer Ralph Lauren has said that he has drawn much inspiration from automobile design. At a glance, cars and clothing seem impossibly incomparable. Examining the two more closely reveals some common traits such as color, contrast, and curves.
Lauren is a success, in part, because he does not make rigid distinctions between the aesthetics of his industry and the designs that influence other fields. Good design is good design. The contours of an attractive consumer electronic appliance can influence interior design, the vibrant colors of foods can help inspire a corporate logo, and a brilliant piece of contemporary architecture may help inform the design of a website. Web design, being the relatively new medium that it is, is very versatile and easily borrows many different design cues from other mediums. This is evident from the wide variety of creative approaches that can be found on the web.
Finding inspiration doesn’t have to be hard, if the search for it is not limited to a small scope of sources. Borrowing the successes from other mediums helps explore new solutions to design problems. Let your work be indirectly inspired, and open up new possibilities for your ideas.