How to Stay Inspired as a Web Designer

How to Stay Inspired as a Web Designer

Do you sometimes feel drained and out of ideas? Great – this means you’re a real designer. It is impossible to stay always inspired. Every designer you know loses inspiration pretty frequently and, unfortunately, it is a part of the job.

Throughout 2019, which is when I started as a UX designer, I found that to remain innovative, you must continuously keep exercising or, at least, stimulating your creative muscles. So whenever someone asks you for an idea, you will be ready to start brainstorming.

In this article, I will cover how you can remain creative for as long as possible, and what you can do to recover your inspiration.

Reconnect With the Larger Mission

I have noticed that most of the time when I feel uninspired to work on a project, it’s because I’ve lost touch with the broader mission. To solve this problem, I try to find a way to regain my motivation and to remember the thing that brought me to design for this company.

Regaining my motivation often involves spending some time to understand our users and competitors better. Casually researching users is an excellent way to remind yourself that what you are designing is not for you, but rather for someone that has a problem you intend to solve. This way, I get inspired by the humanitarian mission of the UX designer, which is to help people make use of software easier. Researching competitors, especially ones that are better than you, can provide you with a vision of what you can achieve if you continue to work hard on current and future projects.

If users don’t motivate you that much, or if your competitors fail to inspire you, always remember why you started designing in the first place. I started designing because I always loved making things and diving deep into problems. That’s why, when stuck, I remember my love for making things. I hope you discover the reason why you design – I am sure it will help you get out of the sticky non-creative mindset.

Feed Your Creativity

While the internet is flooded with design inspiration and other means to fuel creativity, it is kind of hard to find something that suits your expectations and standards. Here are some sources I think you could use when searching for design inspiration:

1. Browse Dribbble – a Classic Choice

Dribbble is an invaluable source of UI inspiration. Here you can find everything from typography ideas, colors, and layouts to animations. But as with all things, it also comes with a downside – back in the day, Dribbble used to serve the purpose of sharing your work-in-progress projects with the design community. The problem with Dribbble is that these days people tend to post things that are more likely to gather views, likes, sometimes resulting in poor quality designs.

Either way, it is still an excellent site for visual design inspiration from which you can borrow tons of beautiful UI samples. That said, remember to always take Dribbble’s designs with a grain of salt.

2. Award Your Creativity With Awwwards

Awwwards is probably the first website on my “let’s find some inspiration” list. Seriously – what can be a better source than a showcase of the world’s best web design works? The only problem that I have encountered when seeking inspiration there was that most of the time, these websites are built on super-advanced, fancy technology and make use of intricate interactions that designers love. Unfortunately, most of the techniques there won’t work if you’re designing something for a wider audience, especially folks with slower internet connections.

3. Medium – to Spark Your Thoughts

Seeking inspiration should not end with looking at visual design. A lot of great ideas and inspiring thoughts come from other sources that are not entirely visual. Medium, for example, contains a lot of great articles on literally any topic you can imagine. You can read inspiring articles about new tech, case studies from the world’s best design agencies, and thoughts from industry leaders, like Chris Do, Pablo Stanley, Ran Segall, and other great designers. As I mentioned earlier, it is essential to keep feeding your creativity. So reading an article a day from Medium might help you out.


Did you know that the more types of input your brain receives about a particular topic, the more likely you’re to remember the information? I also believe that this can be applied when seeking inspiration. That’s why alongside articles and examples, I enjoy listening to quality podcasts – they’re essential to me, and I think you should also give some of them a try. Here is a list of some design-related podcasts I listen to to inspire my work:

1. User Defenders Podcast

In this podcast, Jason Ogle, a Senior UX Designer from National CineMedia, talks about the ins and outs of UX and his experiences. He also invites guests, some of whom you’ve probably heard about. I especially enjoyed the episode with Seth Godin.

2. Design Details

If listening to designers having laidback conversations about designs that include a lot of banter and some comedy sounds like your cup of tea, then you will enjoy Design Details. It is a podcast hosted by Marshall Bock and Brian Lovin in which they talk about UX, visual design, game design, and digital products.

3. The Big Web Show

The Big Web Show is a podcast in which Jeffrey Zeldman, founder of A List Apart and author of the book Designing With Web Standards, interviews web design industry leaders and talks about content strategy, typography, user experience, front-end technology, and more.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Luckily, there are a lot of experienced designers who create visual designs, articles, and podcasts, which they share with the world, helping us learn from them. But to remain inspired, I think you should also broaden your horizons and consume content that is not design-related.

Diversifying your sources of inspiration will help you stay unbiased and give you another point of view when trying to solve a particular problem. There are plenty of things a web designer can learn from graphic design, movies, books, and other sources like traveling and getting to know different cultures. So when in need of inspiration, don’t just browse Dribbble shots – get creative and do something different. Who knows, inspiration may even come to you while taking a walk.

Originality Kills Creativity

After a long day at the office doing research, trying to brainstorm new, unique ideas, nothing’s come up. The hard work did not result in any good ideas or any ideas at all. You are feeling uninspired and thinking that maybe you are bad at design. But I think that a lack of design skills is not the problem here – I think you are trying too hard to be original.

Seeking originality in design work is what kills creativity and drains every last bit of inspiration from many designers. Save yourself the pain and suffering and start stealing others’ great ideas.

For creatives, stealing is a word that sparks a lot of emotions. Most of us think that if you’re not original or innovative, you’re probably a lousy designer. In his book Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon explains that in practice, great artists and designers are most often the ones who steal – designers who try to be original are often left out. There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas if you use them correctly.

There are two ways to steal ideas:

The first is when you find a UI layout on Dribbble or a link to a webpage. Then you take the layout and make an exact copy of it with the same images and written content. Finally, you slap your company’s logo on it and call it your own. Needless to say, that’s how NOT to do it.

The second way is to collect a lot of designs from designers and sources that you like. Analyze the designs thoroughly and pick the ideas you can borrow. Talk to your colleagues about them. Then ask “why” five times and try to answer the whys with fellow designers. Lastly, take those insights and make some sketches of your remastered idea.

You can quickly notice which of these is the wrong way. So next time, when you are looking for inspiration, don’t be afraid to borrow some ideas from others. Just do it correctly.

Final Notes

Seeking inspiration and staying inspired is something that requires you to put in quite a bit of work. You can either do it by feeding your creativity with visual, written, or audio content or analyzing the work of the designers that inspire you and maybe picking up some of their ideas as well. It’s not about where you look for inspiration – it’s about how willing you are to exercise your creativity daily by working on projects, learning, and enjoying the work you do.

The author

Aivaras B.

Web Designer @ Hostinger. Building a Unicorn through good UX.