3 Easy Ways to Find Inspiration for New Products

by G.B. Oliver

Everyone wants to come up with that next great product idea. So how do you find the innovator in you and either start or identify that next big trend? Try these tips to get inspired.

Find Inspiration in Commercial Establishments

I’m sure you have noticed the huge “chalkboard trend” the last few years, whether it is in home decor products or wedding products or graphic design, do you wonder how it got started? Think of the proliferation of Starbucks and other coffee shops and how they turned their everyday chalkboard menus into works of art. The same trend is now with subway or transit signs. You’ve looked at these signs for years, but suddenly they have become decor chic.
Was it Starbucks Menu Boards that Launched the Current Chalkboard Trend?
Was it Starbucks Menu Boards that Launched the Current Chalkboard Trend?
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So go to the downtown core of your city and check out:
  • restaurants
  • retail shops
  • coffee shops
  • churches
  • museums
  • libraries
  • historical buildings
and really look at everything. From the art on the walls to signage to  light fixtures to packaging – try to note interesting design details and how you can apply to the types of products you create.
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Find Inspiration in other Eras

Another big product of the last few years has been the slogan, Keep Calm and Carry On, a propaganda poster made by the British government in 1939 during the start of the Second World War.  People love inspirational sayings and slogans, so when a British bookstore rediscovered this poster back in 2000, it launched a whole slew of products and reworkings of the slogan itself.
  • So go to a library or bookstore and pull out every pictorial book you can on every decade and really study the photos.
  • Ask to look in your parents or grand parents’ attics (or just look around their homes) to see memorabilia from their era.
  • Take a look at their old photo albums, even their wedding album.
  • Watch movies and television shows from other decades, but with an eye for detail. Don’t focus on the story, but instead look at the set design, the wardrobe, and see what can inspire you.

Find Inspiration in Currently Popular Products

A lot of inspiration can come from creating products as add-ons to currently top selling products. iPhone cases came about because of the popularity of the iPhone and now there are over 160,000 iPhone cases listed on Etsy alone.
All the different accessory products for the iPhone
All the different accessory products for the iPhone
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Take a journey over to Amazon.com and see what the most popular products are in any category – from food to baby to beauty to jewelry to gadgets – and see if you can find inspiration for a complimentary product for one of these top sellers. You now have a huge market to sell to.
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Of course, pop culture is always an influencer as well. Please see my post, How to Predict Trends Before They Happen.
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FINAL WORD: Sometimes all you have to do is stop and look around you to get inspiration. There are obviously many more ways to get inspired, these are just a few to get you started.
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PINTEREST BOARD: Product Design I Love
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GB Oliver
ABOUT ME: I’m G.B. Oliver, a small business marketing consultant and author of the new ebook series, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! – 145 Detailed Tactics. I also do private consultations. Feel free to contact me at attentiongetting@gmail.com.

© 2013 G.B. OLIVER

Author: Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

I'm Gail Oliver, an online small business consultant. Welcome to my blog, chosen one of the Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014 by American Express Open Forum. If you need help with your small business, be sure to see MY SERVICES, above.