Creativity can be a big challenge at a time when new ideas are published across the web every second of every day. Website design used to be a wide-open playing field, where original concepts were just that: original with virtually no chance of replication.

5 Avenues for Web Design Inspiration
But it’s getting harder to devise unique concepts for your website in this crowded and competitive arena. That doesn’t mean you should give up hope, however.

You simply must turn to the right sources for inspiration when you seek to design something new. Often, that means stepping away from the web.

“Thanks to the explosion of the Internet and the many websites and blogs available, it’s easy to forget about the inspiration around you,” says an article on design posted by the property management company Green Residential. “But through a blend of both online and physical venues, you’ll be able to find plenty of inspiration.”

The article primarily refers to ideas for home design, but the same inspiration-boosting principles can be applied across the entire web design world. You have plenty of places to look for original notions. Here are some.

1. The City

An inspirational city doesn’t have to be large. Spending some time in any urban region can help you develop an innovative design for your website.

Spend some time exploring the buildings and city grid structure. Drive outside the city limits to view the skyline, or look at aerial pictures online.

Then take your observations back to the grid of your own website. You might not use any of the design elements you saw in the city directly on your site, but you might find some of that urban vibe turning up in your layouts.

2. The Runway

Design trends are fairly ubiquitous. Fads you see on the fashion runway will often generate echoes in the styles you see in contemporary website design.

For example, in 2015 the color of the year was marsala, a kind of reddish-mauve tone that appeared in nearly every article of clothing that year. Not coincidentally, it was also a popular color in website design during that time.

Browsing fashion blogs and top-of-the-line clothing websites can also stimulate creative thinking. It will give you perspective on some of the things people like to see in current design trends.

3. Nature

You’ve probably already been told that nature is a great subject to spur creativity, but it bears repeating. The practice of communing with the great outdoors not only gives you a wide-open landscape to observe, but it also provides a quiet space to meditate and come up with better plans.

Look for different aspects of nature to frequent. You’ll find highly different points of inspiration sitting by a river from when you go on a mountain hike, for instance.

4. Blogs

Subscribe to web design blogs. As you read, you’ll not only brush up on your skills, but you’ll also discover some new ideas for customized design.

You might also come up with some ideas for titles and content. Some great suggestions for web design tips and inspiration include:

The list could go on. Find a few blogs you like to read, and subscribe to get a daily dose of inspiration.

5. Product Packaging

Most people think about the delicious taste of the candy bar they’re eating, not the packaging … at least not consciously. But a lot of thought goes into the design of product packages, and the really effective ones carry strong subliminal messages.

For example, colors like yellow and red can subconsciously elicit sensations of hunger. That could be why you dropped that bag of Lay’s potato chips into your shopping cart without really thinking about it.

You don’t need those potato chips, but when you saw the packaging, something inside your mind made you crave them. The same principles can apply in web design, particularly for e-commerce sites. Sites that seek to sell products can benefit from the psychology of packaging.

Observing your surroundings will have a beneficial impact on your ability to design original and high-performing websites. It just requires a little creative thinking to get you there.