Design inspiration shouldn’t just come from looking at other people’s web projects. Our panel of industry experts reveal what kind of things are currently getting their creative juices flowing …
Alright, call me a cheeseball, but this month I’ve been inspired by love. Pure, unadulterated love. I’ve spent the month focused on doing exactly what I love, turning down work that doesn’t meet my goals or make me happy. I’ve been taking better care of my physical and mental health, spending time with friends, and telling people just how much they mean to me. February hasn’t necessarily been as "productive" in terms of tasks completed or "successful" in terms of revenue generated, but I am much prouder of what I’ve done because I’ve been present in the moment and involved in what really matters to me. It has been revelatory, and though it certainly took some getting used to (we’re so accustomed to doing exactly what others expect of us!), I really hope to keep it going in the coming months.
Whitney is an independent user experience designer
It’s been almost a year now, and I’m still inspired by what’s become known as responsive design (CSS3 media queries, etc). It’s changed my whole approach to design. Every day is a new creative challenge and business opportunity and that is inspiring.
Andy Clarke is the author of Hardboiled Web Design
I’ve been inspired by books and published authors this month: we made a big purchase in the office and I got stuck in. Books seem often overlooked these days in favour of browsing core documentation or blogs, but I believe a well written book can teach you things you simply wouldn’t have known to search for, as well as providing a complete overview of a topic. Once you have these pointers, you can continue the story online. So far I’ve discovered some great new open source projects and a completely different way of coding. Read a book a month!
Mark develops mobile sites and apps for Ribot
Lately, I’m finding Sass (sass-lang.com) to be really inspiring. Which is funny, because when I first heard about it, my initial reaction was that of a Luddite, with a "Get off my lawn" type of reaction. Once I gave it a shot though (due mostly to my co-worker Wynn Netherland telling me I ought not to dismiss it without trying it) I found Sass to be a great boon to my productivity. The ability to have variables, as well as lighten/darken functions, and only having to write CSS3 things such as rounded corners and gradients once – and have the multiple browser prefixed versions (-moz, -webkit, etc) generated for me is awesome!
Nathan created the 960 Grid System and is a UX developer at Hewlett-Packard
Right now I’m being inspired by big questions about the future of the web, and technology in general. What will our online world look like in five, 10, 20 years? Will it even be recognisable? Whether it’s the much-pursued fully semantic web or a close integration between our PCs, handhelds, cars, homes, (minds...?) – every cool thing that’s going to happen online will happen in the future, and I’m inspired to be part of it.
Jonathan is a design lead at ZURB
February in Florida is a good environment for inspiration, and I’ve spent a good deal of time these last few weeks thinking about and working on many things.
Among other things, I’m getting inspired by teamwork: thanks to Instagram's new API, we've created Instagoodies; the prospects of CSS animation have led to Animatable, a new tool to make it easier; a bootstrapped startup (onceovers.com) I’ve been working on with my good friend Jeremy Hubert is about to launch; and Sidebar Creative’s travelling workshop series has kicked off in the US.
Oh, and of course the sunshine and warmth here in South Florida.
Dan is director of user experience at Sidebar Creative
HD Timelapse video (vimeo.com/channels/timelapseinhd) has been inspiring me this month. People are creating amazing visual experiences using D-SLR cameras to take still shots that are combined in post-production to create stunning HD videos. Everyday objects and scenes appear captivating. Add in some tiltshift and possibly some HDR and you get some mind-blowing results; for example, vimeo.com/17885323.
James is a front-end technical architect and Adobe Community Professional
Print design. I’ve been ranting on for ages about how we can take more influence from the world of print, but now that I’m designing 8 Faces magazine every few months, I’ve learned how to treat type with greater respect. Going to back to web-based client work after creating each issue of 8 Faces is an incredible experience. Each time, I feel like I’m looking at the web – and particularly type on the web – with new eyes. As such, I feel that I’ve learned much more from print in recent months than I have from the web.
Elliot is a designer and illustrator and the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces
I’m inspired by the rapid progress being made in the realm of web typography. Font foundries and services such as Typekit, Fontdeck and Fontspring are offering more high quality web fonts, expanding what’s possible online. Whether via available fonts, or unique implementations thereof, I believe web designers want the same level of typographic control that print designers have. At Paravel, we’ve recently created Lettering.js (letteringjs.com) to help facilitate this control. Designers have taken this simple tool and created some excellent examples of what we all have to work forward to typographically on the web.
Trent is founder of Paravel
The move from traditional web to mobile devices is moving at an alarming rate, and is something of an inspiration as we see new trends and designs appear to accommodate the transition. I’ve also been inspired by great music, chocolate cookies and my newborn son.
Matt is lead developer at Fuzzy Orange
This month I’ve been inspired by all the great articles on The 99 Percent (the99percent.com). It’s a site I used to check often but I’ve neglected to do so until recently. Speaking as someone who’s employed to be organised and efficient, the productivity tips are priceless.
I also finished reading Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson this month. Wow, I wish I had read it sooner. It’s inspired me to evaluate all our client websites and help improve their content as well as the content on our own studio site.
Rob is studio manager for creative agency Bluegg
When asked what’s inspiring me at the moment it’s very easy to think about what technologies and techniques have caught my eye. However, this month something completely different has drawn my attention. I discovered a web series called The Guild (watchtheguild.com) created by Felicia Day (feliciaday.com), which is a comedy series about how this group of gamers interact with each other online and in the real world. It’s hilarious! It’s not new (they’re on their fourth season) but I’ve just discovered it and what I find inspirational about The Guild is how it’s grown in popularity. They completed the first season through viewer donations, which has eventually lead to sponsorship from Microsoft and allowed it to grow into this huge success with millions of viewers. It’s a testament to the power of the web and the ability to reach people from all over the world with your content. The Guild has inspired me, not to create my own comedy web series, but as a reminder of why I do what I do. The ability to create something from nothing and make it a success is in all our hands.
Ryan is a product evangelist at Headscape and a freelance web designer and developer