As a web designer, it’s easy to get so caught up in the web design industry that you spend all of your time focusing on what other designers are doing. But what if your best sources of inspiration aren’t online at all? What if they’re all around you in the physical world?

Break the Mold and Discover Creativity

Even for the most successful and talented web designers, creativity can feel elusive at times. But the problem isn’t typically an internal one. In most cases, it’s a direct byproduct of putting yourself in an environment that’s deprived of inspiration.

Instead of constantly browsing other web design portfolios and “best of” lists, you should put yourself in situations where you’re forced to experience new things and think outside of the box. In doing so, you’ll push yourself to process thoughts differently, reach new conclusions, and generate innovative designs that are unique, yet effective.

Here are some unique ways to find web design inspiration:

1. Spend Time in Nature

Few things are more inspiring than nature. If you want to purge your mind of recycled ideas and discover new creativity, try visiting beautiful places.

Artist Joanna Rentz likes to visit a place in Death Valley called Artist’s Palette where metals like iron and mica become oxidized and produce vibrant colors on an otherwise desolate landscape.

“To explore this place is to walk on an oversized artist’s palette,” Rentz writes. “Your feet crunch the colors below. Your body feels miniature, as though in one swift swoop of a paintbrush you will be whisked away into oblivion. But as your body shrinks, your mind expands. Inspiration rushes in as the surrounding becomes your muse.”

You might not be able to put such articulate words to what you experience when you’re in nature, but your brain undergoes a similar experience. The more you do it, the more poignant these experiences will become.

2. Visit Tradeshows

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s significant creativity to be found at industry tradeshows and events where businesses gather together in close quarters. It gives you a chance to see dozens of unique brands with original ideas, value statements, and flavors.

As you visit these events, pay particular attention to how the trade show booth displays are designed. Notice the use of color, texture, imagery, size, and contour. These are all elements of design that can influence your own web design inspirations.

3. Walk Through Art Galleries

Art galleries are excellent for when you want to find inspiration. They’re especially powerful when they’re contrary to your style.

Abstract art galleries are usually unique enough to get people thinking differently than they usually do. Spend time thinking about the pieces you see and let them spark new ideas.

4. Go on a Drive

Do you ever find yourself in a rut where you feel like your day consists of the same routines and the same places? Even when you get out of the office, you take the same roads and are exposed to the same environments. After a while, it all becomes so bland.

If you’re looking for a way to reinvigorate your daily experience, try going on a drive through different areas of town. Drive with no roadmap or itinerary and see where you end up. Immerse yourself in these new landscapes and draw inspiration from what you see. From nature and architecture to people and places, you’ll discover a whole new realm of creative energy that’s never been tapped.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

It’s extremely easy to get stuck in a creative rut – particularly in today’s environment. The internet acts as an echo chamber where we marinate in our own ideas and filter out the ones that don’t make us comfortable. The only way to push beyond this and enjoy an infusion of creativity is to expand your horizons and expose yourself to new things. The offline world and online worlds don’t have to be separated by clean distinctions. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the least likely of sources. Push yourself to be better and you’ll experience tremendous growth.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.