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Live Creation Process, Step 1: Inspiration

There’s a fine line between getting inspired and blatant copying. In the web design industry, this line is insanely skinny as it’s so easy to just lift someone else’s design or code. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but there’s nothing worse than putting hours and hours of effort in to creating something unique and seeing someone else just steal it and call it their own.

The Wall of Shame

tim van damme wall of shame

Belgian designer Tim Van Damme has created a brilliant homepage which houses all of his contact details and social networks.  This design was quickly snapped up and copied multiple times, which prompted Tim to create a Wall of Shame dedicated to the copycats.  Tim preaches on his site: ‘Don’t Steal, Be Inspired‘ and backs this up with a Wall of Fame dedicated to people who have taken his idea and created their own.

A peek at my inspiration

So now that we’re in ‘Don’t Steal, Be Inspired‘ mode, let’s get down to the first step of my Live Creation Process. ‘Inspiration‘. I have a million ideas floating around in my head at the minute about what I see happening on my new site, what goals I want for it, what structure, colour scheme, style etc.  They’ve all come together after the last couple of months of getting inspired, sketching little things here and there.  It would be impossible to list all the sources that have inspired me but here is a summary of some of the most influential.

1) Minimal

I am an avid fan of simplicity and minimalism when it comes to web design.  I am a big fan of cutting out things until it’s the bare minimum… and then trying to cut some more.  Here are a few sites whose minimalism inspires really tickles…

Just Watch The Skyjust watch the sky

Site Inspiresite inpsire


Minimal Showcaseminimal showcase

2) Breaking the rules of <cringe>web 2.0</cringe>

The web of 2009 is largely boring.  Let’s face it, every website is following the same road. Huge headers, large call to action buttons, big footers, rounded corners, gradients, drop shadows and reflections galore. Yawn. While there is nothing essentially ‘wrong’ with all these techniques, they’re overused and we’ve slipped into a comfortable style which has forced us to lose our creativity.  Very few web designers are pushing the boundaries now and doing something more creative.  I have a couple of ideas to help my site stay out of the common pitfalls of web 2.0. Here are a few sites which are breaking the rules.

Elliot jay Stockselliot jay stocks




3) Style

Some of these following sites just have that certain style, that certain quality where you know that a lot of work went in to making them just perfect.


Digital Mashdigital mash

Kiss Me I’m Polishkiss me im polish

Hot Meteorhot meteor


Toggletoggle journal

8020 Studio8020

Show and Tell Saleshow and tell

Deluge Studiosdeluge studios

Blow At Lifeblow at life

Alpha Multimediaalpha multimedia

4) Quirkyness

To get that ‘Ah, that’s kinda cool’ reaction out of people, you have to be a little quirky.  Trust me, there will be quirkiness aplenty on the new site. Here’s some other quirky masters who inspire me.

Behind the Websitesbehind the websites

Dustin Curtisdustin curtis

Leg Work Studioleg work studio

I Shot Himi shot him

5) Attention to the details’ details

The following couple of articles and sites fantastically illustrate the importance and effectiveness to attention to detail.  For my new site, no section will be a last minute job.  Pages such as the contact page, about me etc will be given as much priority as portfolio.

Quality within web design
quality in web design function

Elements of great web designelements of great web design

Squared Eyesquared eye

Next up: First sketches

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Comments (6)

  1. Cool article! That Blow at Life guy sure has style, especially for an information architect.

  2. Really nice idea Paddy, great read and some really nice websites that have gave me lots of inspiration for my own website re-design.

  3. Some great links to check out – looking forward to the rest of the articles.

  4. Mike

    3 Sep


    Thanks for the mention in your blog post. We are so flattered to be included with the great sites you called out in your post. We have some tweaks in the planning stages to the site. I’d love some feedback.

    -Mike and the ALPHA team


  1. I Am Paddy » I’m Baaa-aaaack!
  2. I Am Paddy » Hmm, looking a little different, eh?