"...Good artists copy. Great artists steal.."
I get asked a lot "where do you get your ideas for UI from?" when i often show off some of my artwork. It sounds arrogant, but it's the truth and yet I never really have a response.
I often at times get it from the smallest things, I could see a movie with something that Mark Coleran and his crew conjured up, or I could simply see a piece of GUI on a mobile phone and then suddenly - it just comes to me.
I often search hard for a muse, something to inspire me to push my interactive creations further and deeper. I like most probably hang out at places like "thefwa.com" and simply comb through the many showcase examples, waiting for that "thing" to poke out and get the creative juices flowing.
I also at times let accidental evolution take place, in that I can sometimes just sit there and design, add elements here and there bits from around the web that I like and suddenly, it's done.
I think nothing of it, walk away from the design, wake up the next day look at it and think "woah.. did I do that.. " and then send it around to as many people as I can to see what reaction I get.
I mention of all of this as I think it's time for Microsoft to lead in this space, and I know - we are a developer company, design is something we are slowly growing into but keep in mind, we have some of the best talent around hired to design graphical user interfaces from operating systems to visual studio icons.
I'm working with many folks inside Microsoft UX Fanclub as I like to call it, to ensure that this bubbles to the surface as for me, I'd like to see more "muses" out there, stuff to inspire the masses and help change the way UI is produced tomorrow.