Getting creative is part of our job. Whatever project we are working on, at some point we need to come up with some nice starting point — some fresh idea which we could explore further, build upon and refine until we have a polished, perfect result. Although having an idea is at least as important as implementing it properly, without inspiration and innovation you just can't get anything done.
And this is where it sometimes gets messy. In fact, drawing inspiration is not as easy as we used to think of it. Inspiration is not just observing something, analyze it and implement it in one or another way in your work. Inspiration is much more: there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation which is easy to cross and as easy to mix up.
Inspiration means captivate an idea and develop it further. Imitation means identify an idea and use it. As a professional when getting creative, you need to make sure that you pick the right path to follow.
Noell Hyman draws inspiration from magazines; stick-it-notes contain some ideas she might want to work upon later.
So how do you actually come up with new ideas (apart from reading Smashing Magazine, of course)? Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have some bulletproof approaches against creativity blocks?
We would like to hear your opinion. Let us know in the comments!