Get Your Creativity Flowing with these 5 Unconventional Sources of Design Inspiration

“Every great design begins with an even better story.” – Lorinda Mamo. 

It’s true. Take a look at any work of art, sculpture, building, or product, and with a little bit of digging, you’ll uncover an interesting story behind it. Design inspiration comes from a variety of places – nature, history, culture, or science. The beauty is in the process as well – taking cues from these various sources and weaving them together to create something tangible and beautiful. 

Writers aren’t the only ones with something like writer’s block. Designers get stuck too. It’s not surprising for creative professionals to have a process or a list of dependable sources of inspiration. Some like to travel or visit museums, while others simply like taking walks. Whatever the case, the right kind of inspiration is hiding somewhere in plain sight. 

However, we wondered if there are places that haven’t been explored yet. Sure enough, we found a couple of places that’ll likely have something great. Here are some of the best sources we discovered. 

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

1. Fiction

LTD - Listicle - Unconventional Sources of Design Inspiration

People read fiction because it allows them to enter a world totally different from the one we live in. Fiction, notably science fiction or fantasy, transports us to places that defy the rules of physics, culture, or any traditional laws that govern how we think and behave. This allows us to let go of some of the inhibitions that prevent us from conjuring solutions beyond a certain limit. When we read or watch content that is completely fictional and holds no regard for science or anything of the sort, we’re inspired to think of interesting solutions. Those self-adjusting shoes you saw in back-to-the-future 2? Nike made it possible! All you have to do is imagine. 

2. Antique Stores

LTD - Listicle - Unconventional Sources of Design Inspiration

These treasure troves of hidden gems contain relics of the past and variety of designs you won’t find today. Even if you’re not looking to be inspired, it’s exploring an antique store is a fun experience. You’ll find items of all shapes and sizes, each with a story waiting to be told. All sorts of ephemera; old designs, products of different shapes and sizes, typography and more can be found. Each of these can possibly open your mind to new ideas and design themes. 

3. Listening to Music

A good playlist can do wonders for your mood and focus. Listening to music while working is often associated with productivity, but it can be great for your creativity too.  Music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning, leading experts to believe it might have an impact on creativity as well. One experiment proved that listening to certain types of music improved divergent thinking in test subjects. This may be associated with mood as well – researcher Barbara Fredrickson stated that happiness is a positive emotion, and a state of happiness leads us broaden our mindset and enhances the desire to explore and play. 

4. Food

LTD - Listicle - Unconventional Sources of Design Inspiration

Cooking is both a science and an art. It’s a beautiful process involving a creative mix of various ingredients in the right proportions to create something satisfying and long-lasting. According to one Harvard study, cooking helps the mind disconnect from constrained thinking loops and opens up space to find new approaches to solve problems from a different perspective.

5. Meditation

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Not unconventional, but worth mentioning. Learning to be still and tuning out distractions that possibly cloud your mind can do wonders for your mood and productivity. Give yourself a calm five minutes everyday to simply breathe, and you’ll be surprised by how much your mind improves.

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Date added:

4 May, 2022

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