One thing that I've enjoyed about starting a web design and development business is becoming more attuned to web design in general. I'm more cognizant of the design elements and overall layout of the sites I visit on a regular basis. I also make an effort to see who designed sites that I like, and check out more of their work for inspiration.
Sometimes, this takes me down long, strange paths through the Interweb. The other day, Amy at Having No Blog Is Your Blog posted a link to a zine / humor site. I noticed that, in the lower right-hand corner, they linked to Moxie Design Studios as their designer and PixelDecor as the supplier of some of the background patterns. So I cruised on over to these sites and saw that PixelDecor offers fantastic, retro desktop backgrounds at no cost. The image for this post is what's currently on my desktop.
Both of these sites are very different from what I've been designing so far. The color scheme, graphics, layout, and overall feel is way far out from my typical designs. But I think they're both great sites, and an inspiration to me to think out of the box more often. I'm meeting with a potential client tomorrow, whose site I think would definitely need to be more visually stimulating and theme-oriented than some of our previous sites. So I think this was a good time to get new inspiration.