As a designer, I think we all have experienced the hard time of finding new ideas and inspirations. That’s why I’ve chosen to talk about this topic in my presentation at the FOWD conference. In this post, I want to do a recap of my slides – Finding Inspiration From Your Environment. Read on to find out how my work habits and environment influence my design.

Working at Home = Killing Your Creativity

My work habits and environment have a big influence on my work. So, I’m going to talk about my work environment first. Being a freelancer, I get the freedom to work anywhere I want as long as there is internet connection. Most freelancers would prefer to work at home or in a small/shared office. Personally, I find it very boring working at home. To think about it, how can you find new ideas if you are constantly facing your work and computer. Yes, you can browse the web or CSS gallery sites such as Best Web Gallery to find inspiration. But since my work is web design, I prefer to find inspiration offline (this way I can avoid being overly inspired by other websites).

My Office = Starbucks

Starbucks office

To keep my creative juices flowing, I like to take my laptop and work out of my home or office. My favorite places are coffee shops such as Starbucks and book stores. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you setup a home office at Starbucks like this photo. I only use a tiny table that is enough room for my laptop.

You may wonder: isn’t that annoying when people bump into you? Actually, I like that sort of distraction. I like to see fresh faces walk in and out. Sometimes I even get inspired by the clothes they wear or the tattoos on their skin. If I need a break or design feedbacks, I will talk to the Starbucks employees or the regular customers. For design feedbacks, I like to ask non-designers because they often give me comments from a different perspective.

I like to see fresh people and things around me, so I don’t go to the same location all the time. I hop around, sometime 2 to 3 different locations in one day.

Book Stores

The other place I like to go to is book stores such as Chapters or Indigo. Book stores are like a massive inspirational depot filled with a wide range of books, magazines, gift products, posters, and print ads. Whenever I have a brain block, I like to walk around the book store and scan the magazines, book covers, and post cards.

Shopping Mall

Shopping center is another inspirational depot. You can get inspired by so many things – from clothing to print ads, from window display to mall decoration, etc. By looking at the fashion design, you can tell what are the current trends. I look at the fashion trends and adapt it in my design. For example, when I was designing Web Designer Wall, I noticed a lot of apparels were designed with floral patterns, so I adapted it into my design.

Art Supply Stores

Although I don’t create traditional art nor need art supply any more, but I go to art supply stores from time to time to check out the craft papers. Below are some nice art papers I found in an art supply store.

Art Galleries

To find new art styles and trends, I visit comtemporary and private art galleries. Sometimes I may even spot inspiring street art while walking on the street in downtown Toronto.

Inspired by Nature

Now I would like to present to you two of my latest illustrations: Abstract Phoenix and Peacock. I will show you where I drew inspiration from and how I incorporated them into my design.

#1: Phoenix Illustration

I started this illustration by drawing a basic shape of the phoenix in an abstract form. As I moved along, I added many elements that you can find in nature: DNA helix, dandelion, tree leave and butterfly wing patterns.

#2: Abstract Peacock

This illustration entitled Abstract Peacock because the main idea was inspired by the peacock’s back and feathers. If you take a closer look at the illustration, you may find elements like: flower petals, rooster feathers, snake tail, and fireworks.

How to Avoid Copying

It happens sometime: You get inspired by something, become too focused on it and ended up creating something that is too similar to the original source. So, how can you avoid being a copycat? I have two techniques which work really well for me:

  1. Zoom into the subject and pick up the details.

  2. Mix and match different sources.

1. Look Into The Details

For example: let’s say you want to create something that is related to the octopus. You can:

  • Zoom in and focus on the tentacles.
  • Use the shape of the sucker to form a tentacle.
  • Create in abstract form.
  • Zoom in further and focus on the suckers.
  • Manipulate the sucker in different forms.
  • Form a shape with shapes.
  • Design a pattern with the shape.

2. Mix and Match

The following example shows how I gathered different design patterns and create my own pattern. I zoom in and find the partial patterns that I like and then put them together to form a new pattern.


Next time you are outside, try to pay more attention to you environment, you may find a lot of interesting things that you can incorporate into your design. I don’t purposely go around to find inspiration. The places I mentioned in this article are part of my life and daily routine. I always have my iPhone or camera handy. Whenever I see something nice, I will take a photo to document it. Hope you find this post useful. Enjoy your life and design more beautiful things!


Mar 16, 2009 at 3:39 am

nice share, life is the fuel!

Mar 16, 2009 at 3:47 am

Great, GREAT article. I can’t express how much I agree with this. Outside influences are the key to original design. One of my main tools for design is the camera on my phone. If I see anything from a pattern on some wallpaper, the colours of a car, a pillow, can of beans. Whatever, I snap it.

Inspiration is everywhere we go, you just have to open your eyes to it.

Matthias König
Mar 16, 2009 at 3:49 am

I always take my iPhone with me when i go outside – the camera is even fast enough (startup and take photos) when you are in a train, car or taxi – really useful!

David Hellmann
Mar 16, 2009 at 3:50 am

Great Post. Interesting tipps. thanks.

Mar 16, 2009 at 4:21 am

learning to see is the hardest part.
but nice having a *bucks-office:)

Mar 16, 2009 at 4:22 am

Got inspirite and create smth own. Nice post. I travel a lot and as web designer I find plenty idea from my trips. Now in India :-) Take care!

Mar 16, 2009 at 4:37 am

Very nice article. Thanks for sharing those :)

Mar 16, 2009 at 5:00 am

I know exactly how difficult it is to gain the inspiration for design or writing, when it seems there is nothing around to inspire you. It is refreshing to see how other people gain their ideas from other places. I love the images of zooming into patterns to create something new. Have you ever thought of just doodling? This can create other patterns that can often make interesting backgrounds.

Michal Ráchela
Mar 16, 2009 at 5:08 am

I work at the coffee house too… I can strongly recommend.
Very nice article. I just love this one

Can't speak english
Mar 16, 2009 at 5:14 am

thx nick i got much inspiration**********

Andy Fox
Mar 16, 2009 at 5:25 am

Great post! I often find it hard as working in an office, I don’t feel I have those opportunities doing 9 – 5 so I always try and pick things up going back and fourth from work but I’d love to have a flexibility to go out and sit wherever I like and soak it up.

Mar 16, 2009 at 6:26 am

Your post is poetry. It’s not jus for design, it’s for living.

Mar 16, 2009 at 7:09 am

First: Great Post.

I’m feeling the same way like you regarding working at home. It is often so boring to sit always in the same room with the same things around you. It does so good to your creativity, when you are out of your office. You can pick up inspiration on every street corner.

Best Regards

Jeff McKeand
Mar 16, 2009 at 7:38 am

Fabulous. I get bogged down at home as well, and find it incredibly difficult to be creative at times. Good to know everyone struggles with this… I’m sitting at Starbucks right now, and I immediately shifted my eyes around the room looking for inspiration! Great!

Mar 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

That’s the beauty of being a freelancer isn’t it? Having the time, freedom, flexibility and control to be able to do whatever we need to find that inspiration. Thanks for sharing your FOWD presentation.

Wade Jackman
Mar 16, 2009 at 8:16 am

Excellent post. This is something we all struggle with from time to time. I find the best place to work is a dynamic environment. The frequent changes welcome more inspiration. I like Rittenhouse park, near where I live. Tons of interesting people and its bordered by many beautiful buildings. The wifi reception is not so great though.

Balakumar Muthu
Mar 16, 2009 at 9:05 am

Awesome post:). For design inspiration, I read children magazines, comics and also watch cartoon movies!

Mar 16, 2009 at 9:07 am

I personally would not try to go to Starbucks for a place to work, I happen to be a very distracted person… BOOK STORES are a great source for ideas!

Good post.

Andrea Shaw
Mar 16, 2009 at 9:17 am

great post! I totally hear you on working somewhere like Starbucks or a bookstore- I find working from home completely distracting and working in an office completely uninspiring (although necessary at times!) And I love the ideas you gave on finding inspiration from all sorts of random places/things. Good work. :)

Raymond Selda
Mar 16, 2009 at 9:32 am

Now this article got me thinking on buying myself a laptop! hahaha. Very inspirational article Nick. I’ve been looking for this kind of article for a long time now. I’m originally a programmer but I’ve decided to study and learn web design as well. I love your advice on how to avoid copying a design.

Again thank you so much for this one.

Mar 16, 2009 at 9:36 am

Book store ! +1

Mar 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

wow! I love the post. Thanks for sharing coz I really don’t pay attention to my surrounding in applying to my field. I’ve never thought about this kind of idea. hehehe :D I only inspire design from anime.

Mar 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

Hi :)
Working in coffees has been quite a nightmare for me. In Switzerland we don’t have yet many bars with stable wi-fi connexions so I often lost hours walking from coffee to coffee to find the right one.
Then, you have to get the few places in the bar that have electricity near your table to connect the laptop, which isn’t always easy.
Also, in Switzerland, smoke isn’t prohibited yet in coffees…
And mostly, the people chattering around made my concentration hard to find :) Though I appreciate being able to navigate for fun in coffees, working is pretty hard for me in those conditions!
I feel pretty inspired at home, in my comfort zone. I know I can get myelf a threat, coffee or nap at anytime.
I also often invite friends to work with me, which is the most inspiring to me. Having my friends working around is relaxing and reassuring :)
In Paris, they have natural parks with wi-fi. This is something I would definitely love to try!
Thanks for your article!

Elizabeth K. Barone
Mar 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

I am definitely a journal person, and I enjoy decorating my own journals because store-bought ones are so generic. Recently, when trying to come up with a new design for an already existing website, I turned to a journal I had created in the past. I am using it as my inspiration for a scrapbook-like design, using the same colors and similar objects randomly placed on the pages (such as movie or concert tickets, scraps of artwork, etc).

I like turning to more classic forms of design and art for inspiration, and I’m hoping to further hone my eye for that kind of inspiration. This was a great read, and was definitely helpful. Thanks for sharing your keynotes with us!

Mar 16, 2009 at 10:52 am

This post may really inspire me to get back to my roots. When I was in school I had that sort of routine. I went to Starbucks or Barnes and Nobles whenever I had designing to do. Nowadays I work for a company, so I’m always designing in an office. It’s so hard to come up with new ideas and it’s definitely not as fun. And it’s also definitely hard to be creative and not copy things because I’m constantly having to try and find inspiration online because I’m confined to the same four walls everyday. I’ve definitely been to the Best Web Gallery more than once.

Mar 16, 2009 at 10:57 am

Thank you for good tips.

Ricardo Lu
Mar 16, 2009 at 11:04 am

really great!
Thank you!

Chase Campbell
Mar 16, 2009 at 11:36 am

I think another good place is a college campus. I’m well removed from college but have Stanford University close by and will occasionally set up shop there. Very inspiring. Maybe check and see if you have a University near by.

DKumar M.
Mar 16, 2009 at 11:40 am

Nice tips nick…. i like the Starbucks idea….!!

Crazy Xhtml
Mar 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Yes, i agree with you!!! Need always change working place, because home is boring for working and new ideas!

Maybe need change home sometimes ;) ????

Len Ramirez
Mar 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm


What I like best about your site is that you keep it real. None of your comments or ideas are outrageous or unobtainable. That’s why I keep coming here for inspiration. Just the open look and feel to your site gives me ideas.

I found museums and landmarks provide me with ideas. I bring a digital camera and take photos of details that I find or see. It helps me become a better photographer as well!

Keep them coming and thanks for sharing!

João Henrique -Designer from Brazil
Mar 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm


Mar 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Great post! I created one similar awhile back as a guest blog on, although you’ve added some interesting details and ideas from what I had laid out. I really love the zooming in idea to focus on the details. I plan to try that out soon.

Jacob Lower
Mar 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Yeah great idea, but I live in Italy, there’s no free wireless, not even a nice spot where to sit and do your job. :S I think I’d need a trip in north europe at least.. :P

Nice article, as always

Mar 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm

You are a wonderful illustrator. Thank you for sharing you thoughts and insights into your process.

Mar 17, 2009 at 12:33 am

This is definitely where I’m coming from, great article! :)

Mar 17, 2009 at 12:47 am

Que bien está este artículo, pero lamentablemente en mi país aún es inseguro cargar mi laptop en lugares públicos je je, pero tomaré en cuenta estos tips.
ps. Eres un gran diseñador xD

Beni Ismail
Mar 17, 2009 at 1:58 am

Wow, I also do the same thing when I looking for inspiration. I just adding one more spot, go see your neighbourhood, backyard, or nature surround you and you will found a lot of little things that can insipre you

Mar 17, 2009 at 3:50 am

hey, i thought the best place to work was at home…

you’re great..

Daniel Eckermann
Mar 17, 2009 at 4:28 am

Great article!

Sandie Sørensen (Denmark)
Mar 17, 2009 at 4:34 am

Great article! You gave me more that i bargained for! :)
Acctually my boyfriend and I havee decided to move to the countryside. We both work in creative areas. He’s grown up in the Big City and he’s affraid, that he will get no inspiration living in the Country…

Do you know of any brilliant dfesigners that live in the country (small cities – I’m talking Denmark so: VERY small cities!)
Do you have any idea to how to keep being inspired in nature-sorrounding all day long…?

Mar 17, 2009 at 5:32 am

Aha… Offline inspiration. Time to get out in the sun. It wont be easy :P

Mar 17, 2009 at 5:42 am

cool!!! i love this post.

Mar 17, 2009 at 6:18 am

Brilliant stuff as usual Nick. I think going to a coffee shop to work is a brilliant idea. But I do really enjoy working at home, but it´s sometimes hard to find inspirration there that is true. While browsing the css galleries is great there is a real danger of becoming a copy cat. I ran into trouble in this area a few days ago, I´m almost set on never looking at other web sites again, only use the environment and other sources of inspiration. But I have to keep up with the trends maybe, I dont know though. Might be best to start your own trend. :)

Thanks again.

Razmig Youssef
Mar 17, 2009 at 6:57 am

Well i wont hid it i really liked the way you wrote this article. i always do this i even be inspired by people faces, stuff on the desk, maybe socks drawer :)
keep going
Mar 17, 2009 at 7:31 am

nice stuff and guideline

menu design gallery showcase:

Mar 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

Really nice this post!!! I needed a post like this! ;)

Antoine Olbrechts
Mar 17, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Heh, I like the concept ;-)
I often work “outside” with my MacBook Pro on events: I either work on my laptop or meet customers elswhere than an office…

Mar 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm

It’s always nice to see how other people work and find inspiration. Speaking from someone stuck in an office for most of every day it is nice to see some of my fellow designers are out and about. It isn’t a must I don’t think as I can get plenty of inspiration online and in my free time but working in a public place is definitely a nice idea if you can get the opportunity. Of course – the greatest inspiration in the world can be found right here on SM :)

Thanks – keep the posts coming SM

Mar 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I just moved into a new 2 bedroom apartment because I needed my own office. Working out of the living room was becoming quite distracting. However, I now understand that the television and the view from the balcony were not necessarily all bad. Having no distractions at all is almost as bad as having too many distractions. I think I’ll take my laptop and work from the pool today!

Mar 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

“Next time you are outside, try to pay more attention to you environment …”
I will.
We need changes, our mind needs changes, changes are good. Regards.

Nefesh Bleu
Mar 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for this post and even for the last sentence: Enjoy your life and design more beautiful things! I’d liked to print this phrase in some T-shirts. At least, I’d like to do some posters about it.

Thanks again. Great post. Great blog.

Sklep Zoologiczny
Mar 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Thanks man!

Shekeira Couture Web Design
Mar 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Thank you so much for this!

Mar 17, 2009 at 8:47 pm

This is EXACTLY what I needed today. Thank you.

Mar 17, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for sharing.

Mar 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much for this, it’s always hard to stay fresh and sometimes it’s nice to hear what others do to make the juices flow.

Chris B. Kerndter
Mar 18, 2009 at 2:36 am

Thank you for this article, very inspiring …. now I know what I am missing :-)

Mar 18, 2009 at 2:54 am

Thank you very much for sharing your skills. I think the way you get inspired is very useful, and I’ve learned from that.

Mar 18, 2009 at 6:03 am

Such a great post, all the more reason for me to save up for that Macbook I’ve got my eye on!

Mar 18, 2009 at 7:04 am


Good thing you have shared… 10/10

Everyone’s so inspired including me. There will be a time soon, you will find all the designers in coffee shops, malls, etc working on their lappies. and it will be a virtual office!! Lol. And I can imagine staff chucking all the designers out of their shops.

But meanwhile we can save up electricity, internet cost, space costs, etc. Thanks to The Beautiful malls, coffee shops. AND A BIG THANKS TO YOU FOR GUIDING US TOWARDS THE PATH OF ENDLESS CREATIVITY!!

Bless you!

Mar 18, 2009 at 7:59 am

Fantastic tutorial! thanks!!!

Mar 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

wonderful! you are indeed enjoying your work. you are a master at your work it seems. my problem: i don’t have much of a creative side. but would like to dwell into it if i’m able to inspire myself. thanks for this article. need to visit a mall now! :D

Mar 18, 2009 at 8:31 am

I´ve taken this advice to heart today. Here I am working at a local coffee shop:

Mar 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

I never comment here, but now it’s different! THIS ARTICLE IS AWESOME!!!
Thanks for sharing this…

Paulo (brazil) :D

freelance web designer london
Mar 18, 2009 at 8:51 am

wow man, I LOVED This Article. rich of advices, i am freelancer and i am working from home all of the time,
you were right about it , it is a killer.


Mar 18, 2009 at 11:32 am

An amazing article dude! Wow! You are a true inspiration to me!


Mar 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Thank you for inspiration article

Mar 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Great post!
.. think I’ll head to my local art supply store now.
Thank you.

Mar 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm

This is a great post, I completely agree that one will never get a great, fresh idea if its the wall and computer monitor that’s all they’re facing, Really loved the Look into the Details bit…

Mar 18, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Thanks for sharing such an informative article. Would love to see more.

Mar 19, 2009 at 12:55 am

Thank you for your sharing. I very agree that in the nature we could found much of the beautiful. But most of time I can’t find the time to go out and the places where I went always a lot of people.

Mar 19, 2009 at 2:48 am

Very inspiring article! Keep them coming :)

Mar 19, 2009 at 9:33 am

Thanks for posting this! Now that it’s warmer I can definitely go outside and exploring new places for inspiration.

Thiago Cavalcanti
Mar 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

This is just what I do!
I’ll point my friends who say I’m crazy, for not doing most of my work at home, here!

Mar 19, 2009 at 11:34 am

This is a great post, thank you! I found your blog fairly recently – I love your design. :)

Mar 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Great post. Next time I will make a new design for my hompage. Your tuturials are so useful for me. :-) Sorry for my bad english. Greetings Henna

Mar 20, 2009 at 12:24 am

great post, thanks for sharing!

Ven Francis
Mar 20, 2009 at 2:03 am

This is such a great post. I found it really helpful for beginners who are having a hard time doing a design. True, that artists are having this problem generating some designs because they sometimes found their designs dull and redundant.

I would like to share this community of really talented artist if you allow me. It is called, The Expressionist. Here’s their site

Thank you so much once again Mr NL :) keep the helpful post comming

More power!

Mar 20, 2009 at 5:28 am

Excellent advice. I definately spend too much time clicking through the internet trying to find inspiration.

Mar 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Thanks, this has inspired me :)

Mar 21, 2009 at 12:58 am

Great post, much more detail than mine from over a year ago. One place I love to go is the library – especially into some of the older books sections.

I do like the nature idea – I am lucky to live close to the mountains, and while it is difficult, if not impossible to get any Internet there, it makes for some great take aways.

Sam White
Mar 21, 2009 at 1:38 am

I just love when you say “My Office = Starbucks” I wish I could say that someday too :p

Mar 21, 2009 at 4:28 am

Woow! Really great articles! Thanks a lot :)
U guys successfuly read my mind..I’m just looking for some new place to find some inspirations besides that bunch of web/css galleries..hahaha..
well, actually i want to link this articles to my facebook, so my friends will easily find this cool article but there is no fb icon in your ‘add to’ section..could u put that small icon for me? ^o^

Miss Blossom
Mar 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Great article – I see a lot of designers who are so influenced by the interent it all gets regurgitated over and over again. I get a lot of inspiration from confectionery, lingerie and vintage fabrics and papers and collect old magazines from the 60’s. The local charity store has lots of great stuff too.
Thanks again for making the community richer.

Mar 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Thanks! Nice article. You reminded me to schedule day at cafe where a friend wants me to meet her for lunch too.

Mar 22, 2009 at 11:10 am


Gui Salum
Mar 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I tried the starbucks thing (although it wasn’t really starbucks since we don’t have starbucks over in my city – Florianópolis – Brazil) and it worked really well. Thank you for the advice!!

Mar 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Awesome post!!!!!
It really inspired me to get more inspiration from the world outside my computer screen… It is so easy to get trapped into running around the same idea’s in your head, and that results in boring work!!!

so thanks for helping to make my work more interesting :)

p.s. love your website, think your a genius!!

Crystal Rose
Mar 23, 2009 at 8:07 am

I get inspiration sometimes from junk mail… I have a folder where I collect random stuff I’ve picked up over the years, sometimes when I’m in need of inspiration I’ll dump out the folder and go from there.

I love my laptop and I do the same as you when I work from home sometimes I just have to leave to get some work done. I don’t like the coffee at Starbucks but sometime I go there to get some work done or a Tim Horton’s too. Also I find it helps me that I’ve got my office arranged that the window is right behind my screen and I can watch everything going on on my street.

Tyler Thompson
Mar 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm

The best inspiration I have ever gotten for web design has come from things that have absolutely no relation to the medium. Nature, traditional print design principals and 40-70’s advertising. Great post, thanks.

Andrew Philpott
Mar 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Great post. These tips should be really handy. I totally know what you mean about how working at home can hamper creativity. Luckily, there’s a great design agency pretty close by my house that lets me work there when I need to.

Mar 25, 2009 at 5:19 am

Great post, got some new ideas to try out next time the inspiration well runs dry!

Mar 25, 2009 at 6:02 am

awesome article, great tips&tricks, really inspirational and valuable website!!
I found your “wall” few days ago surfing and seeking for some CSS tips.
I can tell right now – I’m going to stop buy regularly, greetings from Poland :)

Mar 25, 2009 at 8:08 am

awesome..i’ll love these.

Mar 25, 2009 at 9:01 am

Looking at your websites and all the tute and post really inspired me to do web design, cheers :D

Mar 25, 2009 at 11:16 am

Only trouble for getting web design inspiration is getting outdoors in Glasgow! It’s pretty much raining all the time here. On the plus side we have tons of arts related shops and a fantastic art college. If only there were time to do all of it…

Mar 26, 2009 at 12:14 am

Hi, Greate post with fancy inspiration I never seen. Thanks

Mar 27, 2009 at 8:34 am

this is sooo true , I’m inspired now :)
thanks a lot

SOS Media Web Design
Mar 29, 2009 at 11:55 am

Right now I live in Boulder and there are so many great coffee shops and tea shops here, all bristling with creative energy. I typically make a round of 2 or 3 places per day. Plus, there is a spice shop called Savory which imports the most amazing spices from all over the world. I wander through and smell the amazing aromas of 5 different types of cinnamon or 8 different paprikas, and soon my creative mind is reset and ready for some more web design.

Mar 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm

i’m very like this article… i’ve inspirated by you… thanks ^_^v

Mar 30, 2009 at 2:54 am

Nice. As a new to web designing and graphic design, i really had a hard time coming up with a great concept for my design concept. I hope I could read more on improving designs for beginners like me.

Mar 30, 2009 at 5:11 am

Thank you very much.. I came across this post when I was really feeling stuck in my design.. It was right time to read it. I sometimes overwhelmed. My design starts getting all the same.. Thank you very much your great tips..

Mar 30, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I really enjoy your website, tutorials and inspiration. I have been designing for over 15 years now and started freelancing 3 years ago. I started renting office space last July just to get out of the house. Your coffee shop solution is an interesting one I will have to try. How do you find the time to do your work and also share all this great content? What does a typical day look like for you? YOU are an inspiration. Thanks!

Mar 31, 2009 at 1:24 am

Love you website and work! Thanks for making the internet a better place!

Mar 31, 2009 at 4:18 am

Inspiring! I just started my freelance for the past 3 months and just recently had the worst design block (so far). Glad I read this now, you’re a lifesaver, thanks. :)

Alain Boudreau
Mar 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Hi, I want to share my inspiration tips too. I find many idea in movies, all kind of movies. Another place where I find inspiration is my friends! Yes most of my ideas come from a share of opinions and concept. Talk about your work, share and don’t forget to listen. Of course, like in everything keep what you like, don’t about the rest, but keep it in mind as it can always serve you in an other project. I hope this help!

Mar 31, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Thanks, I needed that.
It’s nice too see what other web designers get inspired from.
Looking at web galleries can get overwhelming.
This summer’s number one expense…laptop to go outside the house with.

Apr 2, 2009 at 8:16 am

Great article, great inspiration.

Apr 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Geez. I find myself in a inspiration block for around a month.
After my last work, i cannot think of anything good enough to my next work.. And this is frustration.. Playing a game, go to mall, hand around with friends. go out with my gf, nothing that usually inspired me is working anymore… Because i get inspired when i get excited with something.. So, i got excited with the PSP i bought. And studying ways to make a custom theme, i got an inspiration from dot hack game and then, i made a very nice theme, almost perfect to the original.. I know that’s only copycat.. But i got excited and could make something i though i wasn’t capable of. Same with my last website layout. (If anyone want to check it out and give me feedback, its nvm the language :P)

But right now this block is making me stressed and this blocks even more the creativity… With this article, i’ll try notice things around me that i never notice and maybe, get a lil’ more inspiration do try design something good as you always do.

Thanks for this post Nick.

om ipit
Apr 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

perfect article…

Apr 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm

perfect article…

Apr 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thats good ide, thanks for inspire me. sometimes i,ll try the same way.
thats great!

Apr 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

ahaha, love the “My Office = Starbucks” section.. thanks for the article, sometimes I really need to read this kind of things to reactivate my brain ;)

Apr 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

nice job ! im glad this website is really helped. i need that for my assignment, thanks for inspire me alot. it really good information ! keep that up hard more:)

Apr 7, 2009 at 3:01 am

Nice post, nice website, I too find it difficult to find inspiration, i try to look for inspiration on other websites, however at the moment I’ve been looking at books. I do agree with your post, but some web designers are in offices, do you have suggestions of getting inspiration within a workplace?

Apr 7, 2009 at 10:19 am

ahh inspiration, what is an artist without an inspiration, I think we can get inspiration anywhere we go, just let’s it flow…

Apr 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

Hehe, I should probably take in account some of these as I find myself often in the likes of home designing or programming. Certainly great tips, will keep these in mind when thinking about working.

Lil' Peekr
Apr 8, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Super awesome post! Thanks…

Apr 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

thanks for posting such a great article…it reminded me to pay attention to the smaller details, and to try and identify what specific elements of things are the ones that draw me to something…
something I read once said that a good way to train your mind to be able to critique your own work, as well as others, is to practice using all the proper words associated with design/art elements (balance, contrast, proximity, etc, etc). That way your brain will get used to breaking an image into it’s component parts, and you will become better at identifying what exact detail you either like or dislike instead of just thinking ‘hmmmm, something just isn’t quite right…..’
anyway, thanks again for sharing your ideas and helping to inspire.

Apr 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm

This is very informative, but I can be inspiried anywhere, even at home. I just need my laptop and lots of quite time. Excellent post again, Anna :)

Apr 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Nice tips man, actually im always wanna do that thing, find an idea in some interesting places. Mmmm and ill waiting for your next tips

Apr 13, 2009 at 8:36 am

Wonderful way to get inspiration, for sure is a great way for this difficult thing

Apr 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I personally love reading my History of Graphic Design text book for inspiration. There’s about 2 pages of web design in the whole book but I find so much more valuable inspiration from the classic designers. Good design transcends the media it’s created in. It also forces me to look for obscure elements that might not easily lend themselves to website design.

Web Design Quote
Apr 14, 2009 at 2:15 am

Great job, i loved it. I’ll be looking things in a different way next time I’m out. :)
Thanks for posting.
Keep up the good work.

The Graduate
Apr 14, 2009 at 9:16 am

Very very cool post, it gives me reassurance that competent designers can get “designers block” every now and then, I cant tell you the amount of time I’ve needed to look at my surroundings and other things to get inspiration and though to myself “Man I must be a crap designer!”

This page shall be recommended to all of my designer friends, Cheers!

Adam Davis
Apr 14, 2009 at 9:23 am

Great post…I guess I need to upgrade my laptop now.

Apr 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Thanks! awesome post but What about to smoke some weed?

Apr 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Starbucks? How about a local coffee shop instead. They’re not nearly as bland, tend to be much more creative, and you support the local business scene instead of the global corporate scene.

Apr 23, 2009 at 6:18 am

honest and open article, we all find inspiration in different ways, I knew a guy who got inspiration from looking in a fridge

photo retouching
Apr 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Great post but you wont see me dead in a starbucks. Money hungry slave drivers, I suffer for the employees whenever I see them. I do agree on the bookshop though, wall to wall inspiration and ideas!

Apr 25, 2009 at 6:44 am

Great Post!!!

Finding new ideas and inspirations form environment.

It’s a good idea.


web design studio
Apr 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I find most of my inspiration in the bathroom. I think most of my best work came from the toilet…Seriously.

Great post thank you. Very helpful man.

Apr 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm

adorei o post muito interessante e construtivo faço a maior parte de tudo isso menos pela seção de estar saindo toda hora atrás de inspiração mas contudo que comentou aqui será muito bem usado agradeço pela atenção valeu

Apr 30, 2009 at 4:45 am

As a budding designer, I think looking at other designers, agency work and artists helps a lot. One of my favourite designers is Identity Withheld . I also love the surrealist and collage movement. My aim isn’t to copy or take away key elements of their work at all. I’m just interested in their use of colour and how they use type etc. Sometimes, that inspires me to be bolder in my designs and to push the boundaries a bit more. Also, seeing a kick ass design fuels me to make one of my own and to step my game up.

Just me!
Apr 30, 2009 at 6:26 am

This is one of the best post I have seen ever. This will open the eyes of a lot of people like me. As a designer I used the same technique but not with so much detail. I have to add Thanks for share this with the world.

Graphic Design Melbourne
May 1, 2009 at 4:38 am

Great post & awesome tips.
One of the things I tend to do when I come across a mental blank is that I just leave it be. In the past I used to push myself to come up with some ideas, not wanting to fail I guess or let myself down. But I have learnt the hard way that creativity comes and goes. Otherwise you will end up with a design that looks very forced and jeopardises the design’s integrity.

So my tip is, if it doesn’t come to you now; it will eventually… when the time is right.

T2081 Indonesian
May 1, 2009 at 8:32 am

awesome post, its true i thought as my self who sometime met bore situation and i prefer to smoke some weed and get liquor if stuck of idea,and your ideas are great to find inspiration very very two thumbs up…thx

Alex Peterson
May 4, 2009 at 4:55 am

Super post. I find the best place for inspiration is simply away from my screen. I’d recommend anyone to just get away and do something completely random – see an exhibition, sit in the park, appreciate some architecture or visit a landmark. Spend some quality time with one’s own thoughts and relax. When you get back to your keyboard you’ll be brimming with new and exciting ideas. Works everytime!

May 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

good talking!

Sam Ng
May 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Great thoughts…. I need to make a change!

João Henrique -Designer from Brazil
May 6, 2009 at 10:55 am


João Henrique -Designer from Brazil
May 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

Very cool!

May 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

I think that this is one of the best web sites to enjoy the design into the life, or the life into design ;) good job and greetings from Spain

May 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Liked the article alot, inspiring yourself is sometimes the hardest part of the job.

I find that it isn’t things that inspire me, it’s people, what they say and the perpectives they have can sometimes be the best inspiration.

May 22, 2009 at 3:13 am


Murid Rahhal
May 29, 2009 at 1:32 am

Getting inspired when you are not working on a project can be very difficult. You see thousands of objects everyday and you don’t really pay much attention to them. When you start on a new project, you’re back to square one. My suggestion is: Whenever you have a new project, take you’re camera and go out, especially in the places indicated in this great article, and don’t LOOK for inspiration, let it come to you… when you see something that can be useful for your current project, take pictures. Then go home, put all the pictures you took around your screen, and start working!

Jul 27, 2009 at 7:54 am

this is awesome!

actually it makes me wanna go out of the office and walk straight into the next coffee shop right now!

thank you! :-D

Dai Hoang
Aug 1, 2009 at 11:43 am

Thank you for advicing to how to get inspiration.i have same several ideas with you.
Follow me in addition,According to felling of each other to get it..,ideas derived from new thinking,knowgled,practice,experience,constanly refresh yourself…..
Hope my artice is useful to all of you,thank you for reading.

Adeel Raza
Aug 8, 2009 at 5:33 am

Great post! Most if it is true, especially the nature! My personal favourite place to get design inspiration is Inspire Mix.

Aug 8, 2009 at 5:50 am

Thanks Thanks What’s the problem here? Google could bury the meager profit number from even the biggest media conglomerates.

Aug 8, 2009 at 5:56 am

these are awesome!
thanks for putting in the effort to get this list together

Aug 8, 2009 at 6:27 am

Thank =)=)=) you webdesignerwall Thanks

cool fashion
Sep 4, 2009 at 4:25 am

Inspiring yourself is sometimes the hardest part of the job. Thanks

Sep 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Inspiration will come after hard work.

Oct 3, 2009 at 8:55 am

you rock!

ur designs are so cool n so orig.

panel radyatör
Oct 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

oh my god i will cry i am baby i have never seen this

Oct 31, 2009 at 5:11 am

Great post! Most if it is true, especially the nature!

Nov 5, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Great ideas
time to have a cup of coffee outside…

Nov 13, 2009 at 3:46 am

Oh no!! the coffee place, you’re one of those coffee place people, and you’re trying to drag everyone down with you…..

Nov 15, 2009 at 8:13 am

you give me a lesson!thanks!

Dec 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Really great insight. Especially where you talk about how to re-see inspirational pieces so that you don’t copy. And I agree, I think we buy too much into the idea that work happens in one place, a studio, an office, or any set workplace. It truly is good to go outside and be in the world. I also find inspiration in science magazines and National Geographic.

panel radyatör
Dec 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

nice tutorial i will translate

Saiful Amri
Jan 5, 2010 at 3:30 am

I agree with you, inpirations are outside :D

Jan 6, 2010 at 1:46 am


zonguldak halı yıkama
Mar 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm

wonderful article

bursa psikolog
Mar 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

perfect article tahnks

Apr 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

thank you, this article really helped me with my “inspiration block”
great article!!!

Web Design
Apr 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Very interesting read…great ideas to get creative juices flowing thanks

web design
Jul 23, 2010 at 3:36 am

Super awesome post! Thanks…

Tina Liu
Aug 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hey I love this website! Everything is so useful! Can you write about how you got started to become a web developer? What school did you go to, which courses did you take etc?

Sep 14, 2010 at 4:14 am

please could i print one of your images ona tee not for sale but may want to later

Oct 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

so true. design doesn’t start in front of my desk, it’s right out there! sometimes i find myself starring at people or collecting cool stuff from the floor in trains. :) that’s what i love about design, it’s just everywhere.

Nov 21, 2010 at 4:41 pm

i really was impressed by the 2 designs with peacock and Pheonix.This is art!

Dec 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

Wonderful tips. You have shared always creative things and it’s good for us. Thanks for it.

Los Angeles Web Design

Henry Peise
Dec 24, 2010 at 8:35 pm

As iphone 4 white 3GS has something of non-update to the iPhone range, but there are finally decent alternatives in the smartphone market, with the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S leading the Android fight right to Apple’s door.

Juno Mindoes
Dec 25, 2010 at 3:09 am

People die for iphone 4 white is understandable, isn’t it? The reason is quite simple, We all want to be differnt!

Jan 15, 2011 at 4:22 am

Hey this is a great post. I’m going to email this to my buddies.

Doubter Thomas
Feb 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

GIVE ME A JOB!! Some thing’s happen ahead of times. like before you find a job you go through a process, I am learning about family history, so I start buying beads, looking a quilts- going to the flee market and storing up on tobacco pipes.
That’s when I’m not stuck using an oversized-INHALER scuba looking oxygen tank, and talking through my Tracie who’s under the bridge to terabethia.
let me help you partner

Feb 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hello, I have searched the internet for inspirations and ideas, and so i have come across your website. I am currently studying at college and i would just love to say how creative you are and how much it has inspired me to be more motivated in my college work. As you have showed some of your methods to your work, this has inspired me more to explore more of my surrounds, i live in a small town with only so much to adventure. but today reading your website you have in a way encouraged me to know my career pathway, thank you :)

Apr 20, 2011 at 5:00 am

amazing work

Jun 2, 2011 at 12:38 am

many many thanks…
how stupid I am by wasting my time and my power (always work late at night)..
this short tips make me feel fresh again…
hmm how stupid I am…

anyway thanks a lot… it really shorten my time

(sorry for english, its not my native language, even I’m not using google translate :) )

Yvonne Poo Schwartz
Jun 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I’m so surprise! This is exactly my creative process and maybe is just how Graphic Designers think but I founded so curious. I have never known someone describing my exact same places and ways to get inspiration from. I feel like I must be doing something right then!

Jun 15, 2011 at 10:55 am

Great post! Bookmarked this one

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

And then he handed you the thirty-five 45

Aug 26, 2011 at 1:23 am

Great article. I just cannot go along through everything, but you actually include some fascinating views.

Sep 14, 2011 at 5:17 am

Great article and tutorials I found on this blog. I do some what you explained here. But still I found it useful. Here further I will improve my observation skills to come out with new designs like you.

Sep 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

It is really helping me..thank you soo much..

Lisa Noble
Oct 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

Great article. You have given me a new way to look at things for inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing. I can see ways that I can add more creativity to what I do.

Marc Volker Dickmann
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

You give me good ideas thanks a lot.
ps. Im also a freelancer webdesigner :)

eddy sarwono
Dec 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

this is relly helpfull.. keren banget bang.. (indonesian language).

Maggie Rombs
Apr 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hey not to go off topic but can anyone give me overview of. New York Car Insurance Reform 295 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007 (646) 351-0824 They can be down the block with me. I was wondering if they were a good insurance agency. I need to find coverage, it is regulations you know, but I have to have a good price price plus I want friendly service.

Carla@Online Employment
May 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

I often leave my home and engage with others to get some fresh ideas for my work at home site. I definitely can relate when you stated that working at home is killing your creativity.

May 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

Starbucks is my main hideout spot as well. I found this information very useful.

May 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm – I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are not right. I am assurde. I suggest it to discuss.

Jun 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

This is amazing! Thanks for the insightful tips on finding inspiration. The example pictures are great. You’ve inspired me to take pictures at stores and places I go to for design ideas.

Tracey Schmieder
Jun 20, 2012 at 4:55 am

Thanks for a very informative blog. What else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a mission that I’m just now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

Will Parsons
Jun 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

Great tips and inspiration to keep things fresh, especially with avoiding copying! I also agree that from home kills creativity. I’m so used to doing anything BUT work from home, so the disciplinary aspect is difficult.

Hendra Permana
Aug 25, 2012 at 12:06 am

Nice share, thanks for your many inspiration…

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:19 am

i really like your thoughts
thank you for sharing your thoughts

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