When you’re working on marketing campaigns, website designs, sales copy, or any in-house or client projects that require some creativity, having the right inspiration can make a huge difference between delivering average or above-average service.
That’s why it’s important that you have a the right resources in mind when you need a kick in the inspirational pants. In this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite fun ways and resources to get inspired for a variety of different types of projects.
1. Save digital inspiration for future reference
This one is for web designers, marketers, and copywriters in particular. If you’re mindlessly browsing the web and come across a web page design, landing page design, or brilliant piece of sales copy, save it. It doesn’t matter if it’s from your industry or if it’s the next generation of litter box systems on Kickstarter. Save it.
And I don’t just mean bookmark it on your browser for future reference. Because you never know when that design or copy is going to change. I want you to bookmark it for future reference AND screenshot the whole page. Do it using the Google Chrome browser and one of two extensions: Fireshot or Open Screenshot. Neither extension works 100% of the time, but if you have both installed, you will get the full webpage screenshot 100% of the time.
What if it’s a mobile webpage, especially a long one or one that swipes sideways, you ask? If you’ve got an iPhone and a Mac, download the latest version of Screenflow. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with your lightning cable, and record a screencast of the mobile webpage with Screenflow.
What if it’s just a social media or banner ad? You can screenshot it with the same browser tools or tools like Jing. If it’s a Facebook ad that you particularly like the functionality of, you can click the Share link below the ad and share it to your personal timeline, but instead of sharing it publicly or with friends, share it using the “Only Me” privacy option.
If you’re not a web designer, marketer, or copywriter yourself but you come across a stunning design or some fantastic copy online, save the link and screenshot the full page. Then share it with the web designers, marketers, or copywriters at your company. They’ll thank you.
2. Take a photo of anything that inspires you
Thanks to smartphones, there aren’t many times where we find ourselves without the ability to capture something that inspires us. That’s why you really have to open your eyes to anything and everything that could be inspiration.
Whether you are in immediate need of inspiration, or might need it for the future, keep your eyes out for these and similar types of inspiration:
- You might find yourself taking a photo of someone’s car because they have a great marketing message on it.
- You might find yourself taking a photo of a storefront window because you like the way they display their social and business directory logos.
- You might find yourself taking a photo a magazine cover or ad because you like the way a product or brand was featured.
- You might find yourself taking a photo of a field or flowers or fallen fall leaves because they make a perfectly natural color pallette that you could use on your next website design.
- You might find yourself taking a photo of a texture, such as tree bark or old wallpaper, that could be used as a background image.
The point is, keep your smartphone on you and leave enough empty storage space so that you can always be snapping photos of potential inspiration.
Think of this and the first suggestion as deposits into your bank of inspiration. Whenever you need inspiration, you will want to have a wealth of deposits to withdraw from. It’s never too early to start building up your savings, you can never be too wealthy, and you can never lose by sharing the wealth.
3. Use creative tools outside of your industry
Are you getting frustrated starting at a blank Google Doc, wireframe mockup, or mind map? If your digital tools aren’t working for you, then stop trying to force yourself to use those — and try some tools outside of your current toolbox.
For example, maybe you could think through an idea by drawing it out in storyboard templates made for comic book artists, like the template shown above by BlueLineArt. Maybe you could go to a scrapbooking store and buy some layout overlays for wireframing inspiration. Or maybe you need to buy an old-fashioned stenographer’s note pad or Moleskine journal, sit outside under a tree, and write out some copy by hand or dictate it into your phone and record it.
The point is not to hold your creativity hostage when you’ve wearied of the tools you feel like you have to use. If you’re stuck, run out to an art supply store or to a park and go old school to see if that brings you some inspiration.
If you’re not in a creative bind, you might want to still take some of your leisure time exploring for alternative tools to have handy, just in case — or even to hand to a frustrated colleague on your team to prevent them from banging their head against the wall when they’re creatively blocked.
Capturing creative inspiration
As you can see, there are lots of ways to save inspiration as you come across it for immediate and future reference, as well as ways to disrupt your thinking to get your creative juices flowing again.
Whether you’re saving up for a rainy day or saving yourself from pulling your hair out, these three tips will ensure that you are always inspired to do your best creative work.
Get even more creative inspiration with the Dribbble Chrome extension and others: Check out The Top Google Chrome Extensions We Love at Redbooth >>