Web Design Inspiration

Recent Tweets

“We need a layout for this page in a few hours. I don’t have the copy yet; I’m not sure everything that’s going on the page, but I need it done ASAP. Thanks.”

Does this sound familiar? As a designer this kind of thing happens A LOT, and it's not exactly the best setup to get your creative juices flowing. Luckily, I've found a few strategies that provide me with consistent sources of inspiration – even for those "hair on fire" situations.

Visual Inspiration

I’m a web designer and a front-end developer (CSS/XHTML), so naturally I take a lot of inspiration from visual sources. And, since I spend all of my time online, that usually consists of looking at other sites, design galleries, and anywhere the next tweet sends me.

However, I have also found that much of my visual inspiration comes from the print world. Since print designers don't have to worry about the same constraints that web designers do, they have a lot more flexibility with their designs. They can put just about anything anywhere and send it to the printer. Browsers aren’t as accepting. I generate a lot of ideas from the print world and with a little CSS creativity I can achieve similar results.

Audio Inspiration

The Big Web Show

Listening to other designers and developers talk about the industry and clients really fires me up. The last couple weeks I have had my headphones tuned to the Big Web Show hosted by Dan Benjamin and Jeffery Zeldman. I’ve been following Zeldman, Happy Cog and crew for a long time and I try to study everything they do. If you love design and web standards then you know that when Zeldman speaks, you listen.

Dan and Jeffrey have an unbeatable list of guests, and the show really gives me great insight into their perspectives and thought processes.

Dan has five other shows too. EE Podcast with Ryan Irelan is another one of my favorites. Ryan Irelan’s series on EE saved me hours of headaches. If you're starting out with ExpressionEngine, I highly recommend checking it out.

The audio inspiration is great because I can still sit back and design or code, but I can also learn a few things at the same time.

Literary Inspiration

I’m working on becoming a better writer, and the web is where I write, so I've been getting a lot of inspiration from reading on related topics – writing for the web, content strategy, and the concept of copy versus content.

Content Strategy for the Web

I sat down and read Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web this weekend and once again I’m fired up to go back to work. Kristina is the president at Brain Traffic and their blog is another great source when it comes to content strategy.

I was brought on to JMG as a designer, but also to help out with web standards, SEO and social media. I also do my fair share of content wrangling and as anyone who has ever worked with clients in a corporate environment knows, changing processes isn’t always the easiest thing.

The book goes into great detail on why good content is so hard to come by and what processes you need to put in place to get you there. Throughout the book, Kristina mentions numerous other great books that are now part of my future reading list.

Inspiration can really come from anywhere; you just have to be open to accept it. I find that I’m most open when I’m learning about the things I love – design, development, writing and the Internet.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

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