All designers and developers are fueled by inspiration. The way we transform that inspiration into our masterpieces should be treated with care.
There is no problem with seeking out ideas to help us improve our work. The problem lies in becoming fixated on our inspiration and not being able to translate it into our own. I believe that even the most well-intentioned designer can cross the lines of copying without realizing it.
Even I have been guilty of this. It leads to a very embarrassing moment when it was called to my attention. After reflecting on what happened, I happened to create three rules to follow to prevent that from ever happening again.
Look For Outside Sources
There are dozens of website galleries that make perfect grounds for seeking out that next great idea. However, I believe that the real master will look to outside sources for ideas. Such as magazines, movie posters or a children’s toy. Think beyond the medium that you are designing in.
I have recently made a conscious effort to look around at the things around me and ask myself how I could apply that to my next design. I recently purchased a new car that has an incredibly user-friendly interface in the dash and steering wheel. This has provided all sorts of ideas that can be translated into a website’s user interface.