Olive & Co

The Modern Marketer’s Toolbox: Marketing From Design Inspiration

American author Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” As Modern Marketers, we’re constantly on the lookout for quality design inspiration to fuel our marketing. Everyone on our team—not just designers—all take part in this task, because design is instilled in every aspect of our marketing, from the early stages of brainstorming to the final execution phase. You yourself don’t need to be a designer to seek out inspiration from design, either—use these tools to drive discussions as you work with designers and other Modern Marketers.

Our Top 15 Design Inspiration Sources

1. The Inspiration Room

The Inspiration Room features quality film, print, interactive, design, and audio projects. While many design-centered inspiration sites focus on images alone, this site highlights entire marketing campaigns complete with brief descriptions that give context for each image. It’s a great way to discover relevant campaigns and learn from some of the most innovative marketing in the industry.

2. Medium

A unique destination for inspiration, Medium focuses on sharing the stories that impact our lives. Subjects range from design opinions to personal stories of success, so there are a wealth of topics to discover. In addition to browsing, share your own stories to receive comments and feedback from the Medium community. Their notions could help you view your story through a unique lens—which is often all that inspiration is. Through not only reading, but writing stories, you may just see your marketing in a new light.

3. Pinterest

Visit Pinterest to explore, curate, and share images. This social network is ideal for grouping multiple images into categories, whether you’re curating dream interior design looks, documenting favorite quotes, saving go-to marketing tactics, or pinning photos that inspire your brand story. Each photo is linked to its source, so the inspiration doesn’t always stop at an image—it can lead you to a website that contains even more flickers to alight your imagination. This social media network is the perfect home for designing mood boards and saving the images that spark ideas.

4. Instagram

Social media network Instagram has two evident purposes: finding and publishing high-quality images. The sheer number of top-notch images published on Instagram makes this site worth exploring. Hashtags are widely used, so you can also search through images by topic. Advertising capabilities are also growing on Instagram, and marketers are producing innovative content on the site, a bonus for marketers who’re looking to learn from top companies.

5. The Design Inspiration

This community features loads of inspiration in the form of logos, websites, textured backgrounds, typography, photographs, and more. The Design Inspiration boasts an album interface, so you can find what you’re looking for at a glance. Subscribe to The Design Inspiration’s Newsletter or RSS feed to receive a steady stream of high-quality designs.

6. Dribble

Dribble is “show and tell for designers,” the perfect site for posting and viewing design screenshots sorted by color, projects, and tags among others. Each post tracks viewers, likes, and “buckets,” which are Pinterest-like albums where users can save their favorites. Peruse designers’ Dribble accounts to discover which projects they’re most fond of. This is a preferred site among designers, so you’re likely to find new material each time you visit.

7. Behance

Representing a plethora of creative fields, Behance is a prominent site to discover unique design work. Similar to Dribble, users share projects and portfolios for feedback in a simple-to-browse album format. Each image typically gets between 5,000 and 10,000 views, so if you share quality work, there’s a solid chance it’ll land on the eyes of other designers. If you use Behance to find other work, use the “project shuffle” feature, and you may find inspiration where you least expect to.

8. Panda

Panda is the design-focused, customizable newsfeed dashboard. This RSS feed alternative encourages you to fill your feed with all of your favorite websites for inspiration, tips, and news. Because Panda is created for designers and developers, top sites in each category are available to add with a simple click of a mouse. Use this tool to save your favorite articles and inspiration tidbits for later, or access full websites within Panda. Shape your own UX by customizing not only the sites that fill your feed, but the layout of the feed itself. Panda is available as a Chrome extension in addition to their website dashboard, so you can access it any way you’d like.

9. First Time User Experiences

The goal of First Time User Experiences is a simple one. To highlight the positive and negative aspects of a first-time user experience in a frequently updated collection. Creator Krystal Higgins presents a screenshot of a user experience and outlines what she enjoyed and what could be improved with each one. These insights help designers learn how others are facing UX challenges and what they’re doing to make every interaction a positive one for their visitors. Both a source of inspiration and a learning tool, this is a key site when you’re working on any UX-related project.

10. Really Good Emails

Have you ever received a really good email that inspires your work and you can’t wait to share it with other creatives? A few designers had this thought and started Really Good Emails as a way to share the best of their inboxes with you. Other marketers need not feel excluded here, it takes a lot more than a great design to make a quality marketing email—you’ll find top examples of content and branding in addition to design.

11. SiteInspire

Designers often share beautiful sites with each other by word of mouth, but what if you could head to one place to see sites endorsed by your colleagues? You can, on SiteInspire. Users submit well-designed sites and SiteInspire selects the best ones for others to view. Each recommendation simply contains a screenshot, link, designer, and tags, so you can search by style, platform, keyword, and type.

12. ZURB Library

ZURB library boasts examples of interface and behavioral patterns in addition to a showcase of responsive websites. Their site is clean and simple, so you can easily navigate between each category. Each featured responsive site has an in-depth description of what makes the design work well, so marketers can learn exactly why certain elements leave you feeling inspired.

13. Redsgned

Users imagine how they’d redesign apps, rethink websites, and rebrand top companies, and post their creations on Redsgned. This site has a fairly small selection, so it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for quality design inspiration but don’t have much time to search through a larger site such as Dribble or Behance.

14. Little Big Details

Sometimes the smallest details make the largest difference in the feel and function of a design. Little Big Details inspires by curating tiny gems of web design. Accomplished designers Floris Dekker and Andrew McCarthy locate, post, and tag, daily, the details that catch their eye. From hover displays to pulls to scrolls, they capture the often overlooked experiences that make the web a lovely place to navigate.

15. CalltoIdea

Calendars, footers, forms, profiles, and 404 pages are just a handful of the design elements you can explore on CalltoIdea. Navigate between more than 35 design categories, each containing exceptional design examples within that category. This site is as simple as it gets. Each example is only a single image—no description, no tags, no fluff—just a visually driven way to get inspired.

Katie Yohn
Katie Yohn
Forever a student of marketing and the written word, Katie is always on the lookout for new ways to connect with audiences. She enjoys learning about emerging trends and sharing what she's learned. She also has an affinity for alliteration.