Finding Inspiration Part 3: Get in the mood
My final bit of advice for finding creative inspiration for web design just so happens to apply to design, or work, in general. Your mood and environment will affect the outcome of your work. I can’t really say that any particular environment will produce a better or worse result, just a different one. On a day to day basis I find the biggest factor in my design mood to be the music I am listening to. I find myself reflecting the music that I am listening in both idea and action. Listening to classic or soft rock or alternative music will result in me producing more mellow ideas compared to hip hop or more aggressive rock music.
I have been fortunate to experiment with the music technique to the extreme while working on projects for local bands. Listening to the music a band produces will inevitably result in you building a product that reflects the sound and feeling of that band.
My advice for listening to music while you design is to set up some good stations on Pandora and letting them roll, try to avoid distracting yourself by searching for a song on your iPod or focusing solely on music that you know by heart. The point here is to hear the music, not necessarily listen to it. Also avoid switching genres in the middle of a project, you will likely find yourself struggling for creative influence half way through a project because your brain has left the mindset it had while your originally mapped out this project.
Of course there is no need to stop at music. There are plenty of environmental factors that can provide inspiration or distraction to your creative process. I find myself having trouble getting lost in my design work if I am not dressed comfortably or the room is blazing hot/freezing cold. While we all have clocks on our computer try not to look at it. If you are keeping close track of time then you are not truly lost in the work that you are doing. Having 2 or 3 hours pass in what feels like 20 or 30 minutes is always a great reminder that I really love what I do for a living.