20 Essential Inspiration Sources for Designers
20 Essential Inspiration Sources for Designers
Looking for a little design inspiration? Explore a list of the best online and offline resources for designers to find creative inspiration.
As a designer, finding design inspiration is essential to staying creative and producing high-quality work. Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting out, there will be times when you hit a creative block, and finding inspiration becomes crucial. The good news is that inspiration for designers can be found anywhere, both online and offline.
“Almost anything can be a seed for an idea; you just have to keep your eyes open to spot the things that speak to you.” — Leena Kisonen, Illustrator
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the various sources of inspiration for different design disciplines, and share valuable resources so you can stay inspired all year long:
Graphic Design Inspiration
Graphic Design Inspiration ✏️
Discover the best resources for graphic design inspiration and stay inspired with top designs and connect with other creatives in the industry.
Dribbble is a leading online platform where millions of graphic designers and creative professionals worldwide share their work and get inspired. Designers use Dribbble every day to browse through thousands of new design projects and case studies to help inspire their own work. Dribbble's user-friendly interface lets you easily search and discover all the latest design trends and styles, making it a go-to destination for designers to find inspiration and community.
2. AIGA Eye On Design
AIGA Eye On Design is an online publication by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) that provides a platform for graphic designers to stay informed about the latest design trends, news, and events. It features articles and essays by industry experts, designers, and researchers on a variety of topics related to graphic design. It also showcases some of the best design work from around the world.
Behance is a popular online platform by Adobe for creative professionals to showcase their work. Designers can browse projects by creative field, tools, or color to find inspiration that is relevant to their interests and expertise. Behance also provides the opportunity for designers to connect with other designers, leaving comments and feedback on their work, and sharing their own work with a community of like-minded professionals.
Abduzeedo is an online design blog and inspiration gallery that features a wide range of design projects, tutorials, and resources. It is a popular destination for graphic designers and creative professionals looking for inspiration, education, and community. Their blog features articles and tutorials on a variety of design topics, including graphic design, typography, web design, and more, providing a wealth of information to designers of different fields.
Social media platforms like Pinterest , a visual discovery and bookmarking tool, can be valuable resources for graphic designers looking for inspiration. You can easily create boards to curate images and designs that you find inspiring and relevant to your work. With its vast collection of images and its user-friendly interface, Pinterest can help graphic designers source inspiration for their projects quickly and easily.
By looking beyond the digital world and exposing yourself to nature, you can broaden your visual vocabulary and find new sources of inspiration in your work. From the shapes, colors, and textures found in plants, animals, and landscapes, to the patterns and symmetry of natural elements like clouds and waves, designers can find endless inspiration and design ideas in the world around them.
“Some of my biggest sources of inspiration come away from the computer. I’ve found that a change of scenery or some kind of momentary escape can be super helpful to get the creative juices flowing again.” — Patrick Moriarty, Graphic Designer
Art by iVan
Typography Inspiration ????
Typography is a crucial element of design, and there are many resources available for designers looking for inspiration. Check out a few typography and lettering favorites below.
Typewolf is an excellent resource for designers looking for typography inspiration. It offers a curated selection of typefaces and showcases their use in real-world projects, giving designers an idea of how different typefaces can be used in different contexts. Typewolf also features articles and tutorials on typography, making it a comprehensive resource for designers looking to improve their typographical skills and find inspiration. By browsing the site, you can discover new typefaces, learn about typography trends, and get ideas for incorporating typography into your own work.
8. Fonts In Use
Fonts In Use showcases real-world examples of typography, from logos and branding to print materials and packaging. Designers can browse a vast collection of typographical examples by industry, medium, and typeface, providing you with a wealth of inspiration for your own projects. By seeing how other designers and brands have used certain typefaces in their work, you can easily get ideas for how to incorporate fonts into your own designs, and learn about the different ways that typography can be used to convey a message.
9. Fonts in the Wild
Fonts in the Wild is a collection of real-world typographical examples found all over the internet. Designers love this resource because it allows them to easily see and access which fonts were used in each design. By viewing examples of typography in the real world, designers can get a better understanding of how different fonts can be used to convey a message and create an impact, making this a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their typographical skills and find inspiration!
10. Type Hunting
Type Hunting is popular Tumblr blog that features a curated collection of vintage typography designs with a personal and authentic feel. 100% of the typography content was found and photographed by Type Hunting author, Jonathan Lawrence. It now serves as a treasure trove of design inspiration for those looking to incorporate timeless design elements into their work. You can also follow their Instagram for even more recent photos of vintage typography in the wild.
11. Vintage design
Finding typography inspiration can be as simple as observing old details and relics from decades past found in the real world. Vintage signs, posters, and packaging offer a wealth of typographic inspiration and can easily be found at your local antique shop, diners, bookstores, etc. Vintage designs often feature interesting typefaces and hand-drawn elements that convey a sense of nostalgia and history.
“Design inspiration comes from junk stores, antique malls, record stores, libraries, estate sales, my nephew, dreams, nature, the city, whatever… I’m always on the lookout.” — Aaron Draplin, Graphic Designer
Art by Dustin Williams
Web Design Inspiration ????
For web designers, there are boundless inspiration resources to get creative design ideas. Check out a few of our favorite web design inspiration sources below.
Awwwards is a premier platform that celebrates and recognizes the exceptional talent and hard work of web developers, designers, and agencies from around the world. The website can be a great inspiration source for designers as it highlights the latest trends, cutting-edge design techniques, and exceptional work from the best in the industry. Designers showcase their innovative and cutting-edge web design projects, which are then judged by a panel of industry experts. The best submissions of the year receive recognition at the Awwwards conference and awards ceremony.
13. Internet Gems
Brought to you by the community ilovecreatives, Internet Gems is a collection of curated websites and emails highlighted for their great design. Filter web designs by platform, category, and even font used, making it easier to find exactly the inspiration you're seeking. With its simple and straightforward interface, Internet Gems provides designers with a wealth of design ideas, making it an indispensable tool for anyone in the web design industry.
Siteinspire is a curated collection of beautiful websites from around the world. The website features a wide range of styles, industries, and design approaches, allowing designers to discover new and innovative ways to approach their own projects. With over 11,000 websites in the collection, web designers can easily find the right inspiration for their specific needs, and can filter results by style, type, and industry.
15. Happy Hues
Happy Hues is a tool that serves as a real-world example of how specific colors can be used in different design projects. With Happy Hues, designers not only get color inspiration but also an idea of how and where the colors should be applied in their designs. By providing a visual example, Happy Hues makes it easier for designers to find the perfect color palettes for their web design projects.
Art by Tatiana
UI/UX Design Inspiration ????
As a UI/UX designer, finding inspiration is key to creating innovative designs. Explore a few of our favorite UX and UI design inspiration resources for new and seasoned product designers below.
“Cultivate your curiosity and be interested in something besides design. Have side projects that nurture your creativity.” — Morgane Sanglier, Product Designer @ Google
Mobbin is a website that collects the latest mobile design patterns from popular mobile applications. The website features a collection of design elements and interactions that can be used as inspiration for UI/UX designers. Mobbin's mission is to help designers keep up with the latest design trends and stay inspired. With its easy-to-use interface and constantly updated collection, it's a great resource for UI/UX designers and product designers who want to create modern, user-friendly designs that emphasize functionality.
17. Mobile Patterns
Mobile Patterns is a valuable resource for designers, developers, and product makers in the mobile design industry. It provides a library of UI/UX patterns for both iOS and Android platforms, which can serve as a source of inspiration for those looking to improve their design process. By referencing these real-world design examples on Mobile Patterns, you can gain insights into effective solutions for common mobile design challenges.
18. The Component Gallery
The Component Gallery is a website that offers a collection of interface components from real-world design system examples . It provides a resource for designers and developers to discover and learn from established design patterns and techniques! The goal of The Component Gallery is to help simplify the process of building interfaces by providing a library of pre-built components that can be easily implemented into new projects. This can save time and effort for UI/UX designers, allowing you to focus on more creative and high-level tasks.
Art by Vaishnave Senthil
Illustration Inspiration ????
Many illustrators love to find creative inspiration in nature and in everyday life. For illustrators looking for online inspiration, here are a few essential resources to elevate your creative process.
“I take a lot of photos on walks of things I like, for example, colors on buildings, nice lighting in the sky, or a dog. I also write down things people say that make me laugh; fun sketch ideas can come from that.” — Ben Tobias, Illustrator @ Google
19. Modern Illustration
Modern Illustration is an archive of print from the mid-20th century, showcasing the work of pioneering illustrators. This searchable archive is an excellent source of inspiration for new and seasoned illustrators. It offers a comprehensive history of illustration and visual language, providing a unique opportunity to learn from the work of those who came before. The images featured in the archive are from illustrator Zara Picken's own collection, many of which have not been seen by a wider audience since they were originally published. By highlighting these artifacts, Modern Illustration celebrates the art of illustration and the people behind it.
20. Procreate Folio
Procreate Folio is a website that features a collection of artwork created using the popular digital art app, Procreate. This platform is an excellent source of inspiration for digital illustrators, providing access to a diverse range of styles, techniques, and subject matter. Procreate Folio allows artists to showcase their work and connect with other artists and potential clients. With new artwork added regularly, Procreate Folio is a dynamic and ever-evolving resource for digital illustration inspiration.
Bonus: Real or Virtual Museums
Going to museums, either in real life or virtually, is a great way to gain illustration inspiration. Museums provide an opportunity to see the work of historical and contemporary artists up close and in person. By observing their techniques and approaches, illustrators can learn new ways of working and discover fresh sources of inspiration. Virtual museum tours and online exhibitions allow for easy access to a wide variety of artwork from around the world, making it possible to discover new artists and styles from the comfort of your own home!
Get your most frequently asked questions about design inspiration answered below.
What's the most effective way to use design inspiration?
The most effective way to use design inspiration is to start by identifying the specific problem or project that you are working on. Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can begin to look for inspiration that's relevant to your project.
It's always useful to draw from a diverse range of sources, including both established design patterns and more unconventional approaches. However, it's equally important to stay true to your own unique vision and style. Rather than copying what others have done, try to build on existing ideas and adapt them to your own needs.
The goal of design inspiration should be to generate new ideas and approaches that will help you create innovative and effective designs.
RELATED: Inspiration without copying: How to produce your own original work
How do designers stay inspired?
To keep inspiration flowing, designers should continue exploring new sources of inspiration, such as art, literature, and nature. Collaborating with other designers, artists, and professionals can also provide new ideas and perspectives. Taking breaks throughout the day and engaging in physical activity or meditation can help recharge and prevent creative burnout . Staying curious about the world and looking for inspiration in unexpected places can help keep ideas fresh. Also be sure to make a habit of practicing regularly, even when not working on a specific project, as this helps to keep skills sharp and creativity flowing!
Can you find creative inspiration anywhere?
Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, including nature, art, literature, music, everyday objects, and even in your own city . It's important to keep an open mind and to look for inspiration in unexpected places. By seeking out new and diverse sources of inspiration, designers can keep their creativity flowing and develop fresh and innovative ideas for their projects.
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