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We’ve all been there… staring at a blank page and nothing is coming to mind.  Call it writer’s block, designer’s block, creative block, whatever you like; the idea factory has closed up shop and moved elsewhere.  Inspiration can be a tricky thing, striking when you least expect it and absent when you most need it.  Here are a few out-of-the-box sources to explore when inspiration is hard to come by.

Fashion

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The fashion world has a long history of inspiring designs.  What colors are designers featuring in their new Spring lines?  Are the lines of a garment clean or frilly?  Is the fabric heavy brocade or light cotton?  Fashion inspiration can be drawn from the pages of a magazine like Vogue or from people you pass everyday on the street.  Use those colors, lines and textures in your next design.  Above is an example of one of the hot colors for this year; Pantone’s Radiant Orchid (albeit a lighter wash of this shade).

Photography

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Blast your brain with random images!  Use Google images to seek out varied photographs.  Type in a general word into the search engine, add the word “photo” and hit search.  Google is a good resource, but for my inspiration, Pinterest is better.  You can search millions of pins and create your own “Design Inspiration” board.  Houzz is also a great resource with an abundance of home interior shots.  If the electronic world is not for you, large format “coffee-table” books are a great resource for design inspiration.  They can often be picked up relatively inexpensively at used book stores.

Travel/Nature

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Exploring new places and getting outside in nature is a great way to be inspired, especially if you’re feeling stagnant.  Many people think traveling and enjoying the natural environment involves a long flight away from home, but it can be as simple as exploring a nearby park or going golfing.  Get out there with your sketchbook or your camera and see what transpires!

Music

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Listening to music can be a great way to get through a creative block.  Are you designing for a nursery?  Try some lullabies.  Designing for garage storage?  Grunge rock might fit the bill.  Pandora is my go-to app for music.  You can create your own station or explore any of the pre-existing Pandora stations.  Want to go old school?  Grab your boom box and rock out!

If these suggestions still don’t break down your wall, it’s time to step away and do something else.  Phone a friend, take a nap or watch some YouTube videos!

What inspires you?  We’d love to hear how you get the creative juices flowing…