Design inspiration is almost an industry unto itself. Why? Because we all need to be inspired. If you sit down to design anything in the same frame of mind that you’re in when performing tedious chores, your design will reflect that. Self-discipline and the principles of good design will take you a long way; but a single moment of inspiration can make the difference between a good design, and a great one.

Inspiration is everywhere, but it can be hard to know where to start. For this reason, we asked a few of our favorite designers what inspires them. Here’s what they had to say.

Check out Some Junk

If the inspiration won’t come to you, then you have to go find it. Take a walk, hit up a flea market, or a thrift store. Maybe even visit a junkyard.

It works for Aaron Draplin:

“But really I love going into like dead places, junk drawers and estate sales and antique malls and going junkin’ and finding dead stuff and making new life out of it. It might just be color, type, design, whatever, but I can find such great beauties in one afternoon of dead stuff. It’s really interesting to me.”


Shamelessly Appropriate Ideas

When you get back from your walk, take a look at what other designers have done. Obviously, copying something pixel-for-pixel is a horrible idea. There is, however, a lot to be said for stealing from the masters by taking elements and ideas, then using them in new ways.

Faris Yakob, co-founder of Genius Steals, advocates for this approach with some interesting observations:

“Originality is a nonsensical concept invented by romantic poets in the 18th century…”

“Ideas are new combinations of things. So in order to produce new ideas we should explore some old ideas first. Art is a great model for this theory: every new idea is an expression of the entire body, simply building upon previous pieces, influences and movements.”

Surround Yourself with Good Work

If your research into other people’s design doesn’t give you what you need, don’t just close your browser tabs and forget it all. Good design can be a fantastic source of inspiration, without taking any ideas directly from it – even in the browser.

Ohad Aviv of Chrome web design extension Muzli says:

“Consuming design content is a major building block of acquiring that toolbox that makes you a better designer, regardless of how good you are. If you are closed in a bubble, which a lot of designers are, you might be doing some good stuff but you are going to get left behind. It’s difficult to grow artistically if you don’t see enough good things around you.”


Back to Print

Not all the good design content is online. A lot of it is on paper. Yeah, paper. You remember that stuff, right? It’s not just for bills. Don’t take my word for it, though. Matteo Bologna uses books as his primary source of inspiration.

“My sources of inspiration are mostly books (on paper). Or if I’m doing a specific research for a project, anything online that is targeted to that particular assignment.”

Embrace Mondays

Inspiration also comes in the form of days according to Andreas Anderskou of creative digital agency Hello Monday.

“We believe in not taking the Monday gloominess too seriously and approaching it with a more welcoming attitude. Since creativity is hindered when overworked, after a little break from the weekend Mondays are actually some of our best days. Our approach to Mondays includes an emphasis on positivity. After all, it is our company’s namesake.“


Hadar Talyosef is the Community Designer at Webydo, a code-free web design platform that empowers professional designers to create and manage pixel-perfect, responsive websites.

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.