As a web designer, it’s easy to get into a rut. As different styles and trends come and go, it can seem like all of your clients and peers want the exact same websites. For a creative mind like yourself, this can be frustrating. How are you supposed to grow as a designer when every website you’re designing is simply based on another website that someone else designed?
When you reach the realization that every website you design is nothing more than a tweaked copy of another website, it becomes apparent that something must change. In order to pave your path and create your own style, you have to begin thinking outside the box.
4 Offline Sources Worth Studying
As a web designer, thinking outside the box doesn’t mean finding new websites and designers to follow. It means powering off your laptop, shutting off your phone, and finding inspiration in offline sources.
To get you started, we’ve provided a list of some of the top offline sources of web design inspiration. Use these as a starting point in your own journey towards developing a unique and untainted style.
1. Nature and Landscaping
What better way to become inspired than by spending some time in nature? Getting out of the office and breathing some fresh air can be incredibly powerful. But you don’t have to travel to some exotic location or magnificent hiking trail to be inspired. Sometimes the landscaping in your own neighborhood can be enough to invigorate your senses.
Look around at outdoor living spaces, porch and patio designs, flowerbeds, hardscape features, lighting, and DIY décor. Homeowners take pride in their landscaping and a lot of creativity comes out. Next time you’re taking a walk – maybe you should literally stop and smell the roses.
2. Architecture and Interior Design
Architecture and interior design are excellent sources of inspiration. You can glean a lot of value from new trends, vintage styles, and the ways different rooms flow into one another. While web design and interior design may seem far apart from one another, they are actually quite similar. Both require you to work within a confined space – one physical and the other virtual – and turn a blank canvas into an attractive destination that people connect with.
When studying architecture and home design, pay careful attention to color schemes, textures, and layouts. Take pictures and make notes. You never know when a seemingly small idea may set you in an entirely new direction. Architectural Digest has a good slideshow on the biggest trends for 2016. Check them out here.
3. Art Galleries
When was the last time you visited an art gallery? Walking through a gallery is quite therapeutic and inspiring. Even if you don’t relate to the art medium being displayed, you can find a lot of value in the pieces you’re viewing.
As you meander through art galleries, think about the colors and textures being used. What sort of stories do the colors tell and how can you translate that meaning over into the digital world? You may be surprised by how much you learn.
One of the most underrated art forms is the modern vehicle. Whether it’s a truck, racecar, motorcycle, or tractor, vehicles are absolutely stunning pieces of art. Each year, manufacturers come out with new designs and models. They are constantly innovating, and there are plenty of lessons you can learn from this approach to creativity.
Think Outside the Box
So much of the web design industry involves regurgitation and stylistic mimicking. If you want to be satisfied in your work, then you need to begin developing your own design style. And in your pursuit of inspiration, you may find these four offline sources worth your time.