5 Sources for Inspiring Interactive Design

Tue, May 22, 2012

Inspiration is a fickle beast. You never know when one unique sight or sound will touch off a spark of creativity. So when I’m starting a new interactive design project, I comb through these 5 sources of inspiration.

1. Design Galleries

One of the obvious sources for instant inspiration is the design gallery. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of web design galleries on the web so finding what you like is an easy endeavor. The only problem is riding that line between inspired by or copied. One of the things I like to do is look at only the thumbnails. Static thumbnails allow me to imagine how I would like to see it work and how I would create the interaction. Here are four of the galleries I frequent for inspiration:

2. Design Show & Tell

Interface design is always a process of refining controls and behavior until you have something that looks and also feels elegant to use. Subtle details make all the difference between a good or great interface. Design galleries typically help inspire an overall aesthetic for a site, but not a detailed look and behavior for the elements the user will be focusing on, and interacting with. My preference for finding this inspiration is in these show & tell collaborative sites:

3. Cartoons

Born with a pencil in my hand, I have dreamed since childhood of being paid to be creative. My first dream job in elementary school was to be an animator. I wanted to draw those cartoons I watched on Saturday morning. To this day I still draw inspiration from animation. Three of the works I find extremely inspiring include:

4. Music

If there is a pencil or mouse in my hand, there will be music in my ears. Music is definitely my major catalyst for creativity. My preference is typically music that is melodic, semi-complex and instrumental. Artists such as Boards of Canada, Autechre, Danger, Tycho, and Glitch Mob typically top my musical choices. Where do I find the music that moves me? Here are three internet music discovery services I use regularly:

5. Tools that Inspire

Color and texture are the basis of visual emotions. Perfecting a color scheme and texture pallet are two of the most important aspects of a design. Getting someone emotionally invested in a layout sets the tone of how your site will be perceived. Here are a few of the resources I use to inspire beautiful moodboards:

For colors, I look to:

For textures, I like:

So that’s where I turn first in the search for inspiration. What inspires you?

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