Web Design Inspiration, Not Imitation

When I was at university we were given a project to design and animate some TV idents (the five second bits in between TV shows that say "BBC 1", "HBO" or whatever). One tutor advised us to turn a TV on and see what was currently being produced. The other tutor advised us to stay away from the TV, to intentionally avoid it.

One tutor wanted us to see what an ident should do and what the latest trends were. The other dreamed that we might create something outside what had been done before.

My dream is the same as the second tutor. And my hope is that End The Echo might help.

Getting inspired

So you've been given the go-ahead on a new web design project. All you have in front of you is a blank screen or blank sheet of paper. This moment is normally both exciting and hugely daunting. And so we dive in.

At some point in this process designers often look for some inspiration. We need a little help imagining what a design might look like or what an experience might feel like.

I think at this point we have an important choice. Big gap or little gap?

A big gap vs a little gap

The space or difference between your eventual design and a web design you're looking at for inspiration is fairly small. It doesn't leave a lot of wriggle room. If you see a really nice menu or button then your own menu or button will likely look a lot like that one.

But the space between your eventual design and a photograph or piece of architecture is much bigger. It's hard for a menu to look like a sunset or cathedral. But it can still inspire.

The size of this gap is important. The gap is where the magic happens, where we create, where we put ourselves into a design. So if we have have a bigger gap it leaves more space for something new, unique, different.

It's easier to look at other websites for inspiration when we're stuck. To look at a photo, nature or a painting and see how that can inspire a site is harder.

We're lazy

Most designers sit on their bum for most of the day.

We should get out and explore more for inspiration, but we don't. We have deadlines, it looks bad if we take a walk and, well, we're a bit lazy. The best we do when it comes to exploring the world is through Google Street View.

When we're sat at a computer already it's easy to look at other sites for inspiration.

I want it to be easier to get inspired through things that aren't other websites. And my hope is that End The Echo is that place.

About Me

Hi, I'm Andy. I've been mucking around with web and print design for about ten years now. I've been paid to do it and everything. Sometimes as a freelancer sometimes as an employee. I'm the creator of The Print Handbook and run the online store with my best bud and wife Em.

We've got two fantastic little boys and two we're a bit disappointed in. Just kidding, we've just got the two. We live on the beautiful north coast of Northern Ireland.

You can find out a bit more here.

Twitter: @andybdesign

About The Print Handbook

The Print Handbook is what made this project possible.

The Print Handbook is a friendly guide for all those tricky bits in print design. It's packed full of real examples, handy tools, charts and information. It helps you produce perfect print projects. And it's now in its third edition.