Over the last decade, many new opportunities have emerged to support creativity and problem-solving in design by finding inspirational materials via the Internet. Online design communities such as those of Behance and Pinterest showcase portfolios and user-made artwork, and they offer support for designers’ day-to-day work to find and collect inspirational material. However, very little is known about how these communities affect inspiration-related practices of professional designers and how designers view them. This paper presents new data on the practices designers employ when seeking digital inspiration sources online and reflecting on, tracking, and managing them in today’s Web design. Current practice and views on sources of inspiration were described based on responses from 51 professional designers. The results suggest that the Internet has become a prevalent source for ideas in design, yet designers experience mounting issues of trust and relatedness with regard to online sources. Therefore, encouraging both should be considered a guiding principle for tools aimed at supporting designers within the realm of design practice.

Citation: Koch, Janin, Magda Laszlo, Andrés Lucero, and Antti Oulasvirta. 2018. “Surfing for Inspiration: Digital Inspirational Material in Design Practice.” In Proceedings of Design Research (DRS), 2018.

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