The best sources for ideas are typically those that inspire and energize the creative imagination to develop new and better designs. There are plenty of sources for industrial design ideas in books, from professional organizations, and in publications dedicated to the field. Many resources for industrial design ideas can be found in online publications or in print magazines. Conferences, seminars, and other opportunities for gathering ideas can be found through membership in various industrial design organizations. Likewise, there are a number of good books on the history, practice, concepts, and pioneers of industrial design.
Online or print publications provide some of the best and most easily accessible industrial design ideas available today. Online directories of industrial designers and design studios provide a good source for viewing portfolios of a firm's latest and greatest industrial design. Many industrial design organizations produce several publications including industry reviews, trends and industrial design showcases. Some online industrial design organizations offer various case studies which provide a wealth of inspiration and ideas. Performing an online search for "industrial design" will produce an almost endless source of industrial design firms that showcase their work online.
Various societies and professional organizations are also a good source for industrial design ideas. The International Designers Society of America (IDSA) is one of the world's oldest and largest groups dedicated to industrial design and provides various opportunities to meet other industrial designers, learn more, and get ideas. Organizations like the Design Management Institute (DMI), which states that it connects design leaders with the inspiration and sources necessary to succeed in the industry, can also provide inspiration. They also produce DMI Review, the leading publication on design, and Design Management Journal which is a peer-reviewed scholarly publication. Check online for other organizations dedicated to industrial design that may provide information regarding conferences, learning opportunities, or other resources to aid in gathering ideas.
Books are another good source for industrial design ideas. Some good books to consider might be those that cover the entire history of industrial design from its beginnings in 1850 up to the modern day. Other books that might be useful sources of ideas would be those that contain essays written by industrial designers, curators, advertisers, manufacturers, and theorists in the field. Books that provide compilations of hard-to-find documents, speeches, personal papers, articles and comments from the pioneers of industrial design, such as R. Buckminster Fuller and Victor Papanek, are also likely to be a good source of inspiration.