Offline Sources for Design Inspiration
Web designers have plenty of online resources available for design inspiration. There’s no shortage of CSS galleries out there to help you by displaying some creative and high-quality work, but offline sources of inspiration can provide new perspectives and encourage you to stretch your boundaries further than you have before. Looking at other websites for inspiration can only take you so far, and sometimes you’ll enjoy taking in the design concepts used in other mediums.
Design inspiration can come from just about anywhere, and in this post we’ll take a look at a number of the best places to look. There are several links and resources included in the post to demonstrate how inspiring these sources can be and to make the post as useful as possible. However, don’t limit yourself to just visiting these links or you will be missing the point of offline inspiration. Look to some of these sources and see what you can find to be applicable to your web design projects.
Designing for print is obviously much different than designing for the web, but there is plenty of inspiration available in magazines. Magazine are often very creative and many of their design concepts can be applied to web design. Additionally, the page page layout, pictures, and advertisements throughout the magazine can be extremely helpful as well. Visit a large bookstore and check out the magazine rack. You’re sure to find something you like.
Photo from Tokyofortwo.
The website of the American Society of Magazine Editors has a collection of the 2007 best cover winners.
Another collection on the ASME website shows the top 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years.
YourCover has a list of the top 15 covers since 1960, but disappointingly the images do not link to larger versions.
CD and DVD Jackets
CD and DVD jackets design are critical to the sales of those products, so there is a great deal of effort that goes into creating the best looking product possible. As a result, you’ll see a lot of ideas and design elements that can be used in web design. There are so many stores that sell CDs and DVDs that this type of inspiration is very easy to find any time you need some new ideas.
Sleevage is a great website that is dedicated to album art. It’s very easy to search and browse through the gallery.
Inspiredology recently compiled an exhaustive list of the 99 Best Designed Album Covers.
Devlounge produced a similar list of 21 Album Covers for Inspiration.
COLOURlovers has a collection of album covers from 2007 Grammy Award winners, plus they included the color swatches used in each of the designs.
MegaSearch is a search engine for album covers. It can be a great tool if you know what you are looking for. SlothRadio, Albumart.org and FindMyCover are similar search engines. AllCDCovers has a search engine, but it also provides some other useful features such as browsing through popular searches and downloading covers.
While you’re looking around for design inspiration, why not take a short humor break and check out this collection of the worst album covers ever.
There are tons of different types of posters that can be used for inspiration. Movie posters are often a great source. Next time you’re at the theater, take a closer look at the posters that are being displayed.
Movie Poster Addict is a site dedicated to, you guessed it, movie posters.
GigPosters is a pretty cool site for music fans. It has posters from shows for an unbelievable number of bands.
Movie Poster Awards has a ton of posters that you can view.
Galleries of Posters:
Premiere created a gallery of The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever.
Billboard has a similar gallery of The 25 Best Rock Posters of All Time.
Eloquation has a nice collection of 10 movie posters.
Cinemacom has a large gallery of vintage horror and sci-fi posters through the 1940s.
Movie posters aren’t the only ones that can provide inspiration. Smashing Magazine compiled over 50 Breathtaking Typographic Posters.
FilmSchoolRejects has the Ten Best Movie Posters of 2007.
Movie Poster Addict has collected 79 Years of Best Picture Winners in Posters.
Movie Poster Addict has posters from the 2007 Key Art Award Winners.
Here is a Flickr gallery of 19th Century Circus & Magic Posters.
Not all newspapers use a boring layout and design. Some of the more creative newspaper designs can be very applicable to web design. Newspapers also have to find ways to fit a lot of content onto a page, and some of these layout techniques can be used by websites.
The best online gallery of newspaper design that I have seen is Smashing Magazine’s Award Winning Newspaper Designs.
Newseum provides quick access to todays front pages of 561 newspapers from 52 countries.
NewsDesigner.com is a blog that focuses on newspaper design.
NewsPageDesigner.com has a similar focus.
See some of the best front pages at BrassTracksDesign.
Billboards are designed to draw attention and make a quick impact, something that is also important in web design. If you live in a city, chances are you see billboards everywhere you go.
Photo from Fatty Tuna.
Billboardom is a blog that focuses on creative and funny billboards.
Bored.com has a collection of some of the most creative billboard designs you will ever see.
Occasionally you may see a business card design that stands out for some reason or another. Some of the same design concepts in business card design may be applicable to web design as well.
Faveup is a design inspiration gallery that includes business cards.
At Freelance Switch, Collis Ta’eed put together a collection of 18 Smokin’ Hot Business Card Designs .
Creative Bits has their own collection of Cool Business Card Designs.
Tutorial Blog has also gathered some Creative Business Cards.
Design News has a rather large collection of The Coolest Business Cards – Use of Cool Shapes, Textures, Creativity, and Talent.
Inspiredology has a huge gallery of Cool Business Cards.
Dzine Blog has 27 Creative Business Cards You Should’ve Seen.
Flickr has a nice gallery of business cards.
High quality photography can be one of the best sources of design inspiration. The balance and colors that make a photo beautiful may also be able to help you with web design.
The cover of a book has a similar impact on sales as the covers of CDs, DVDs, and magazines. By browsing through the shelves at a book store or a local library you’re sure to find some inspirational designs.
This Flickr gallery has a large collection of book cover designs.
Covers.fwis.com is a gallery of book covers.
If your city has an art gallery, take some time to visit and get inspiration from the art work on display. Paintings, sculptures, and other types of art can be excellent examples of design.
Some food products take advantage of very well-designed packages. In Asian culture colorful and creative packages are very common.
Published March 10th, 2008 by Steven Snell