So, you’ve gone through your briefing and discovery stage, created mood-boards and wire-frames, and now you’re at the stage where you actually need to knuckle down and design something. If you’re like me, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of looking at that blank ‘page’ and thinking “where on earth do I start?”
Hopefully, you’ve already got a reasonably good idea of the overall style that you’re going to be creating (if not, then you’re probably not ready to start designing), but you just need a little nudge in the right direction.
Well never fear, help is at hand. I’m definitely an advocate for taking inspiration from all around you - books, magazines, billboards, music videos and so on - but there are also a wealth of online resources available to you and I want to share some of my favourites.
Dribbble is a ‘show-and-tell’ site for designers to share small snapshots of what they’re working on and ask for feedback. As an invite-only site (you can browse as a guest) the standard is very high. The snapshots are small, so you won’t see whole sites featured here, but you will find a multitude of fantastic user-interface elements.
If you’re a fan of sexy app icons this is the site for you - prepare to be wowed!
For pure design-related gorgeousness look no further than designspiration. designspiration features a huge and diverse selection of high quality, user-submitted images, featuring branding, typography, prints, brochures, photography... It simply oozes coolness.
siteinspire is a great website design showcase. You can browse through the sites in the directory by ‘style’, ‘type’ and ‘theme’, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
A lot of design blogs have an inspiration section, much of it grouped into themed round-ups, such as “Beautiful Ecommerce Websites”, “Outstanding Minimalist Website Designs” and so on. This can really help speed up your research process - these sites have already done a lot of the hard work for you. Some of my favourites that consistently feature fantastic content are:
On these sites you can usually subscribe to email updates, keeping you informed when new articles have been posted.
Last, but by no means least, is Twitter.
I’ve found it one of the best resources for inspiration by following other designers and web agencies - we designers seem to like sharing cool stuff we’ve found, so I always make a point of checking my time-line on a regular basis, and if I come across a fantastic piece of design I’ll tweet about it.
It’s also worth noting that many of the sites mentioned above have Twitter accounts, so they’re worth following to keep up-to-date with what’s popular on their particular network.
I hope you enjoyed my inspiration round-up and have got something out of it. Look out for more design related articles in the near future.