Sometimes, web design inspiration strikes — but not always. On many occasions, you have to actively seek encouragement and creativity. To help you gather new ideas, we’ve amassed a list of nine places to find motivation for your next website design project. Even if you aren’t actively working on a web design job, it’s worth your time to head to these locations. Grab a journal for notetaking so you remember concepts you want to try.

  1. Brochures and Magazines

The next time you’re stuck waiting for a dentist, doctor, or hairdresser, take a look at the brochures, magazines, and other publications in the waiting area. See if any spur your interest.

What do you love about a certain editorial ad’s look? Where does your eye immediately go when you see the cover of a full-color brochure? The design elements that stand out may have relevance for website development.

  1. Menus

Every restaurant has its own take on the menu. Some are very plain and simple, like one-page menus you would find in a retro diner. Other eateries have complex menus with multiple pages and menu inserts.

Does this give you inspiration for a new twist on a website design? Do you love the way photographs are used to illustrate the foods? Are there words that draw you in? Make sure to note these, or take a quick snap with your smart phone for future reference.

  1. Pinterest

Even if you aren’t in the least bit interested in this social media site for personal reasons, it’s worth heading there for design fodder. Because Pinterest is all about imagery, it can give you ideas for balancing colors, textures, and copy. Plus, you never know when a Pinterest board could trigger a completely revolutionary website concept.

  1. Art Museums

You can’t write off a trip to your local art museum on your taxes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit it. A journey to an art museum can broaden your mindset and offer you the chance to explore your creative side in more depth. It doesn’t matter what kind of art you’re exploring, either. You could get just as much out of a Renaissance masterpiece as a show depicting century-old quilts.

  1. Music

For many web designers, music is truly a source of innovation. Music not only can get you energized, but it forces your mind to think in new ways. As you’re listening to some favorite tunes, consider the imagery that the music and lyrics evoke. Can you use these images in your web designs?

  1. Nature

The natural world is filled with ideas just waiting to be discovered. A walk outside for 15 minutes won’t just clear your head. It will also help you see the symmetry and beauty in nature. Make it a point to get off your smart phone and take in the elegance of a flock of birds in flight, a running river after a downpour, or a stellar lightning show — from a safe place, of course! These activate your natural curiosity.

  1. Books

Step into a library or a used bookstore and begin to browse at will. Old books were often illustrated in ways that were artistically pleasing. Look at book covers, font types, and more. You might even want to head to the children’s book sections. Kids’ books are usually colorful and inviting — just what you’d want if you were designing certain types of websites.

  1. Online Website Galleries

There’s no lack of website galleries available online. Some are better than others, but all of them will give you deeper insights into how other websites have been designed and developed. If you find some that you especially like, and that are continuously updated, bookmark them so you can visit regularly.

  1. Website “Fails” Galleries

Learn from others’ mistakes by visiting website design “fail” galleries. Don’t just laugh at the design flaws, though. Ask yourself how you would make the websites better.

Use your visits to imagine the recommendations you would make if you were in charge of revitalizing the sites. By being analytical, you may find that you eventually become more proficient at analyzing your own designs.

Inspiration for website design is all around you. When you seek it, you’ll find it. The key is to take the first step, and always enjoy the journey.

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