girl-has-idea-minAs a designer, I know – everyone gets bored with design from time-to-time. You *could* imitate someone else’s design or flat-out use a template. But that feels a little like “cheating” – especially when the design you are creating is for a high-paying client with high-level expectations. It’s times like these that we all need some creative inspiration. So I’d like to help by sharing with you my favorite dashboard design inspiration.

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Because creative roadblocks are not uncommon, there are actually a whole slew of tools that have been built to help people when they are stuck. My favorite is Roger Von Oech’s Creative Whack Pack. The author published this deck of cards after writing his first book, A Kick in the Pants, which is also very good for stimulating inspiration. Here’s a sampling of the cards in the Whack Pack to give you a sense of how these can help.

Break Out of Your Routine

break out of your routine

A friend of mine once told me that she was tying her shoelaces a new way just to break out of her routine. I tried doing a few things differently and it worked wonders. Try it!

Find Inspiration from Your Surroundings

find inspiration from your surroundings

Color palettes drawn from nature seem to be completely resolved with no need for tweaking. Take a photo of autumn leaves, for instance, and you can uncover a rich earthy palette of reds, oranges, and browns.

Think Big

think big

The first thing that comes to mind is a dashboard with one giant pie chart. Simple. Big. And sure to be readable on your smartphone!

Turn the Tables

turn the tables

Maybe your excuse is that it is hard to please the client.  To get rid of this excuse, let the client do the design! When clients get firsthand experience with the tools that designers use, they often gain a new appreciation for the parameters that a designer must work within, and the skills the designer has using the tools.

These are just a handful of the many cards in this deck. I find it refreshing to cut the cards and see what advice randomly appears. Check them out. They can be found for sale online on several sites … but you can also buy them directly from the author at his website:

If you have no interest in purchasing the cards, you may want to look in your library for his book, A Kick in the Pants. Or, go to his website and click on the “Whack of the Day” button in the upper left hand corner of his home page to get a random whack! It’s free.

What’s your dashboard design inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.


Rose Weinberger, MBA