Every morning when I sit down at my desk I follow the same routine. Coffee. Email. Social Media. Inspiration sites. We’re creatures of habit and it’s rare that I deviate from these four things before I get stuck into the project I’m currently working on. But this hasn’t always been the case. There was a time when inspiration sites (my personal favourites being Pinterest, Dribbble and Behance) scared me and I used to steer clear of them to avoid being demotivated. Silly right? But it’s something a lot of designers suffer from – looking at others work and thinking “man, how did they do that? I’ll never be that good.”
A common misconception when viewing others work is that they’ve come up with it from scratch. They’ve sat down with a blank sheet of paper and created this beautiful piece of work but in 99% of cases this just isn’t the case. You can guarantee that they’ve been inspired by others, have taken elements from their designs and put their little twist on them to include within their work.
The poster above (designed by Mark Malazarte) features a famous quote from Jim Jarmusch and it’s one I like to live by. “Nothing is original” he says, and he’s right. Most designs are an amalgamation of ideas and concepts that were already out there and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not cheating, it makes sense.
All of the work I’ve created is usually formed of bit’s and pieces I’ve seen elsewhere and have put my spin on. If I like something I try to look closely at it and work out the processes that will have been followed to get to that end result. I then try to work out whether I have the skills in my arsenal to do those things and if I don’t, I find a tutorial to help me get them. This is how most designers improve. They see something they like and want to be able to recreate, they replicate it or learn how to do it then lock that skill away for future projects.
So don’t be put off by other designers work, be inspired by it. Treat it as a gauntlet that has been thrown down at your feet. Learn from it and try to create something even better – what have you got to lose?
To see what I’ve been inspired by recently, check out my Pinterest boards and feel free to link to yours in the comments below.