Design Inspirations

Get design inspirations from your daily life!

Where do you get your daily design inspirations?

Candy Chen

Before I stepped into the design world, I always wondered what makes “design” attractive? Now as a new designer, my daily life changed enjoyably. The key charm I feel about design is that it makes you pay more attention to the things around you. Design inspirations can come from an ordinary magazine that you pick up at the subway station, can be a logo that you found on a soft drink, can be from an app that you use all the time, can be from a tour at a museum…

No matter what you come across, being a designer means you tend to pay more attention to your surroundings. Here are some interesting ways that I get design inspiration for my projects in daily life.

A vintage room with wooden desks and pictures on the wall.

Advertisement brochures for color inspiration

Whenever I go shopping, I’m always given some brochures. In the past, I may just take a glance and throw it away. However now, I tend to collect all those brochures and look at them when I’m stuck in my visual design. One time I found my color coordination idea through a restaurant brochure. Those well-designed brochures can be good teachers when you’re working on your color palette.

A restaurant's brochure.

A sketchbook for gathering spontaneous ideas

It is surprising that design inspiration can come from a specific time and location. I would sometimes get great ideas from dreams, so the first thing I’d do when I wake up is to draw and record those ideas in my notebook. I found that with a plain-white notebook always by your side, it’s a good way to quickly collect and express your ideas when they pop up. Just like a diary, as time goes by, you’ll be surprised how creative you are.

A cup of coffee with a notebook.

Examining your favorite apps or websites

Before being a designer, it was common for me to take things around me for granted. For example, I enjoyed many apps but never thought deeply about what makes them work so smoothly. After becoming a designer, I pay extra attention to how apps work with many questions, such as what color do they use for the logo? What shape do they use for buttons? How does the user flow work? These types of questions lead me to think more about the product and accumulate my ideas when it comes to my own design.

A hand holding a phone.

Taking pictures to develop composition

Ways to think about design can be closely related to each other. When taking pictures, we need to think about lighting, angle, posture, etc. Sometimes simply by taking pictures, I can get an idea of how my design’s composition should look like. It might be the spacing between the text and the picture or it might be a composition to address important points. Through taking pictures, I can sometimes get sudden hints of what composition I should use in my project.

A camera to take pictures.

Examining package designs

Package design can be a good resource to learn how fonts are used. It’s interesting that when you pay extra attention to all the different fonts in a package, you’ll find how similar the pattern or hierarchy used for packaging is. The way that they emphasize important things with big fonts and how the sub-content is arranged a certain way. Of course, packages also provide a good resource when you think about designing some creative custom typography for your design projects.

A white package,

These are five things that I found pretty useful for getting daily design inspiration. You should also check How to be a UI/UX designer with zero experience for more useful resources to learn design systematically.