8 Obvious Ways to Find Design Inspiration

By Raymond Stone on March 7, 2019

This article is also on Medium.

1. Look around you.

Just about everything in the world we interact with exists due to design, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Look at any given object, consider why it exists, and then consider the fact that many needed products will remain uninvented until designers or engineers rescue them from the abstract of imagination.

2. Read bad reviews.

Sometimes users will tell you directly what a product needs or does not need.

3. Examine your interests.

If a gold mine of ideas exists, that gold mine will sit within your canon of interests. For example, Disney and Batman interest me, which leads me to wonder: how do I currently access that entertainment and how can I build a more ideal way to access that entertainment?

4. Listen to those around you.

Listen to trigger phrases such as “I wish” or “Who designed this?”

5. Exercise.

No, seriously. Not only does exercise do the body good, it can stimulate creative thought. Often our most creative ideas come in the midst of activities that demand limited mental application. Science backs this up. Have you ever wondered why your best ideas pop into your head while you're on the toilet, in the shower, or out for a jog?

6. Watch documentaries.

Put together a playlist that includes design and tech industry leaders, whether focused on individuals (e.g. Steve Jobs) or focused on organizations (e.g. Google). Watch history documentaries to understand how design affects culture as a whole.

7. Look at other creative work in your field.

Go to websites where designers and artists build portfolios and upload their work. Behance, Dribbble, DeviantArt, and Etsy immediately come to mind. Do not neglect work outside of your field. Go to museums, visit galleries, interact with public art, and take walks through historic parts of town.

8. Create boards.

Whether you use Pinterest or you have a folder on your desktop to dump artifacts that interest you, find a way to save everything that catches your eye. Upon revisiting those artifacts you may have came up with the perfect project idea for one of them since your last visit to the board.

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Author
Raymond Stone
BA in Art Practice, UC Berkeley
User Experience Designer

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