Inspiration sometimes comes from the strangest of places. An entrepreneur’s “Ah-ha!” moment might come while reading an old novel, while an illustrator’s might come from looking at great architecture.
As such, we have put together a list of 25 various far-flung places online where your own creativity might resonate. This list covers everything from examples of typography to Tumblr design blogs to writers who write about writing.
If you’re feeling stuck or are wont for a little inspiration, check out these resources below. You never know where creativity will come from.
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings blog is the gold standard in curated wisdom and interesting tidbits. Her most recent post, at the time of writing, is a full-text archive of the 24 best commencement addresses of all time.
Data journalist David McCandless and company have put together a remarkable collection of visualized data and other infographics at Information is Beautiful. Check out this interactive graphic the team did for the BBC on the possible number of alien worlds.
Fast Company is a magazine — online and offline editions available — that covers the space where business, innovation, marketing and creativity all converge in some combination.
Germany’s Smashing Magazine (don’t worry, all content is in English) is a fantastic resource for designers, web developers and user experience professionals. For easy browsing, here is the online archive of all the posts tagged “inspiration.”
Jeffrey Baumgartner is a long-time tech entrepreneur, artist and language teacher, among other things. His site is dedicated to helping people develop creativity and innovation, particularly in a workplace setting. The site’s archives also go back to 1996.
VenkatRao’s Ribbon Farm blog is mandatory reading for entrepreneurs, marketers and anyone who reads NassimTaleb’s books. The posts here are long, and you’ll probably have to look up a few terms, but this is one of the best places online to expand your perceptions about human behavior and technology. Many Ribbon Farm readers would prefer we keep this resource a secret.
Short Inspiration is a Tumblr blog that curates great examples of design. All the posts are quick and punchy, so you can scroll through quickly and overload your brain with ideas.
Daily Showturation is the Tumblr blog of You & Saturation, a daily feed across a few social platforms that showcases inspiring design and ideas. You get a real feel for the site’s sense of humor (and a few sartorial pointers) from the photo post “Kids Dressed Better Than You.”
Another site that’s consistently published since the 90s, Kottke.org is all about ideas. Topics are all over the place, but you can always expect links to some interesting artwork, such as this post on The Met’s hosting hundreds of thousands of high-resolution digital images online.
TED actually designs their talks, each of which is usually less than 20 minutes, so people can watch one while on a coffee break. Here, you will find speeches, presentations and performances by some of the most innovative minds in the world. Thanks to TED, more than 4 million viewers, for example, have already discovered that they have been tying their shoes the wrong way all this time.
99u bills itself as the “education arm” of Behance, where designs and creatives showcase their portfolios. The goal is to get creatives to move beyond simply coming up with great ideas and actually executing those ideas.
Thoughtful essays by one of the best publishers of longform writing anywhere on the Internet. For a good example, take a look at Mohan Matthen’s piece on why we evolved to appreciate beauty.
Holy Kaw! is the blog at Alltop where editors curate some of the most interesting writing, photos and videos they find. The content is general in nature, but you can also find posts specifically addressing creativity such as this one about daily routines of great creative minds.
PsychCentral’s blog The Creative Mind is as much a meta-analysis of creativity as it is a source of inspiration. That said, many of the posts here will have something that could help you unlock an idea or insight. Take for instance this post on how journaling can bring your creativity to the surface.
Marketer and author Seth Godin has a Typepad blog where he posts quick-hitting ideas every day, and each of these posts usually get more than a few thousand shares. They clearly resonate, and his words inspire other entrepreneurs and business people. Here is a good example from late April that flips the supposed correlation between happiness and success: “Generosity makes you happy. Happy people are more likely to be successful.”
Artwork marketplace Curioos curates pieces from its artists into a daily feed, and the result is a neverending supply of great art.
The EatSleepDrawTumblr blog posts a new piece of art every hour, every day. The blog’s co-founder Lee Rubenstein writes: “I don’t think of EatSleepDraw as a blog anymore. It’s more than that. It’s a finely curated art gallery. It’s just amazing that I get to wake up, look at my messages on Tumblr, and see this wealth of unpublished art. The quality of the artwork submitted is truly incredible.”
Here is the most explicit demand for inspiration on our list. Inspire Me Now is a curated blog of “unconventional thinking and design” by Polish UX designer SzymonBłaszczyk.
Designer Michelle Alvarez curates some of her favorite findings online at her Tumblr site. She has a wide variety of things here, too: Print design, book suggestions, cool websites and magazine layouts.
Don’t get hung up on the name — this is just a great subreddit for architectural photography. Also, check out the rest of the SFW Porn network on Reddit if you feel more inspired by, say, cityscapes or food. We’ll leave the link here so you don’t have to do any awkward Googling.
Scoutie Girl gets more into the philosophy and the how-to aspects of creativity. The blog is equal parts inspiration and information. Check out the posts “Read This If Your Creative Image is Taking a Beating” and “Expectations, Inspiration, and Understanding” to get a good idea of the writing here.
Maya Stein’s blog is a good place for creative writers to go. She has published four books plus five more collections of poetry, and much of her blogging focuses on helping other writers find their own creativity. Bonus points: She also mails out a 10-line poem to her readers every Tuesday.
Jeff Goins launched his writing blog a few years ago with a focus on helping other writers find success, be that through overcoming mental hurdles or dealing with the nuts and bolts of book contracts. Check out one of his anchor posts, “Your Clutter is Killing Your Creativity (And What to Do About It).”
The Big Picture
The Boston Globe illustrates one news story each day with a single awesome photograph. You don’t have to be a news junkie to appreciate how this blog illustrates the “…worth a thousand words” idea.
Wallpaper* bills itself as “the world’s most important design and style magazine.” Argue that all you like, but be sure to also check out the magazine’s Tumblr blog, which features a nice, big image for each post.
If you are a typographic artist, or if you just had lunch at a place with hideous menus and need a little visual relief, the Beautiful Type Tumblr blog has plenty of inspiration for you.
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