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The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application by Cameron Chapman

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Chapter 1: Types of Inspiration

There are two basic kinds of inspiration available to web designers: direct inspiration, which consists of other website designs; and abstract inspiration, which consists of everything else. It’s important for designers to learn to use both kinds of inspiration if they want to come up with original, unique designs.

Relying solely on inspiration from other website designs can be great for solving specific site-related problems, as you can see how others have handled the same issues in a real-world environment. But if everyone just studies designs that have already been done, innovation will be slow, or even nonexistent. Looking for inspiration outside the world of web design can present you with ideas that haven’t been tried before, leading to faster innovation and better designs in the long run.

Abstract Inspiration

Abstract inspiration is often harder to find and implement effectively than direct inspiration. When you see a website design, it’s easy to draw inspiration from a header, a footer, or another part of the design. With abstract inspiration, you don’t have such concrete elements to draw from. Instead, you need to learn to look at different aspects of an image, things like color and shape, texture and pattern.

Color

The color in an abstract source of inspiration is one of the easiest things to draw from. Colors are obvious; in many cases, they’re the first thing we notice about an object or an image.

Taking a color scheme from a source ...

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