We often need to kickstart a great design by finding a little gem of inspiration; in an earlier article, we shared how Members have been inspired by objects of sentimentality, the landscape surrounding a client’s home, the architectural bones of a building and more (see the full article here).

What we didn’t mention in that feature was the inspiration designers draw from their peers. With a non-stop stream of stunning designs in our social feeds every day, this kind of inspiration is (literally) at our fingertips 24/7.

But what happens when inspiration turns into imitation? How can we be inspired by a style without downright ripping it off? And when our Client presents a Pinterest picture and wants ‘exactly that’, how do we encourage them to add their own flavour to their all new bathroom or kitchen?

We’ve taken some inspiration from one of our favourite authors, and have come up with three tips to help keep you on your own path:

1. Give an idea an all-new spin

‘Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.’

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

If you (or your Client) are taking inspiration from another designer’s work, you’ll want to make sure you put your own creative spin on the concept. What was the element that really caught your eye? A colour? A tile? A combination of finishes? How can you take that element and give it a remix? If your finished design has a hint of the original inspiration, but it’s been reworked enough to have its own sense of style, you’ve done right. 

2. Look through your own lens

‘You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.’

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

If you’re continually drawn to the style of one or a small number of designers, start looking for the parallels in their folio/s. Are there elements that they seem to repeat? Patterns? Colours? Lines? What are they seeing from a design point of view that you may be missing in your own work? How can you learn to see through your own lens of awesomeness?

3. Credit where credit’s due

‘Don’t try to be hip or cool. Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.’

Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

If you love another designer’s work, and draw inspiration from their style (without imitating it to a tee), let them know. You may even earn yourself a new fan with some ‘credit where credit is due’! We have some inspiring examples of modest, humble and incredibly talented designers in our community – if you’re not already a part of it, join in!

Have some tips of your own about sourcing inspiration? We’d love you to share – comment below.