The Influence & Inspiration of a Designer

It occurred to me that the way we are inspired and influenced could possibly be grouped into 3 ways.

1) What has gone before

The past is constantly being copied, redefined and developed. The sayings 'History repeats itself' and 'There is nothing new under the sun' are not wrong. The majority of our design styles and ideas are based upon what has gone before.

2) The present

As designers we are always aware of current trends. These trends may not always be design trends. They may be cultural trends, political trends, current design styles, marketing ideas, or simply what competitors are doing. We are all influenced by the present to some degree.

3) The future

What is going to happen, or at least what we think the future might have in store. As a loose example we could say that some designers feel that RSS feeds may be the future and so, advise clients to go for a solution in that direction. Nobody knows for sure whither this will be the case but we are influenced on what we think will be the next "big thing".

I am sure you will have perceived, dear reader, that these 3 areas are not equal in their influence - these effect us all in different ways. For example, some do not worry too much about current trends and continue in the styles they are familiar with from the past. Others are not interested at all in the past and only focus on the future. For me personally I think my influence changes from job to job and client to client - however I have found it an interesting practice to consider how heavily I am influenced on certain jobs and where these influences come from. It can help to find fault or find new ideas within a project and so I thought I'd share this technique with others. For example if I find that 80% of a project is influenced by current trends then to get a different set of ideas I may go and research some older styles. This helps create differing ideas.

Does anybody else have any ideas on how to evaluate influence?

On this theme I thought it might be helpful to share some of the websites, which have helped, and do help, inspire me personally. These are not all taken from the design industry but also from other creative sectors. These help to spark off different ideas and help to influence me whenever I need it. I have grouped them into 3 main areas, Creativity, Web and Theory - I hope you enjoy them:



Logo Pond
Pixel Logo
Good Logo
Identity Magazine

Architecture and Product

Wallpaper Magazine
NEC Design


D Q books


Pages Online


Flash Designs


CSS Designs

CSS Vault
Web Creme
Best Web Gallery
CSS Princess


Marketing and Business

Small Business Trends
B2B Marketing Trends

Tutorials and Trends

Lounge 72
Computer Love
Apple Professional
Computer Arts

Coding Help

W3 Schools

If you have any to add, or any other ideas on inspiration, please leave a comment...


Great list there Matt. You should start up a delicious account and feed it in here.

Thanks, theme very interesting