5 Unusual Ways to find Graphic Design Inspiration
In the graphic design industry, like in any other, we can sometimes feel lost and uninspired. But it can often be more difficult in a creative industry, like graphic design as you constantly have to find sources of inspiration to generate content with your imagination.
A lot of people think that being a designer is easy, that all you have to do is think outside the box a little but in reality, what most people don´t know is that there is also an art to finding inspiration. While the internet can be a great source for finding inspiration through various design websites, sometimes we need to seek inspiration in more unusual ways to really get the best out of ourselves.
Look to the past
Although graphic design often looks to the future, reflections on a different era in the past can often be a source for inspiration. Each era in time presents a different culture and lifestyle and thus a different artistic style. Think of past graphic designers and look to see where the culture of the time has been incorporated into their work. Think of times and movements in the past that you admire and think of the buildings, the people, the events; this will inspire you to think in a different way, and away from the zeitgeist of today´s artists.
Think about it: everything in a shopping centre has been designed in some way. Clothing, toys, furniture, advertisements, even the shopping centre itself has been designed. If you walk into a clothes shop notice the colours and shapes, textures and patterns, and the way that the advertising campaigns are coordinated with the styles of the season. Even the food courts offer interesting designs and campaigns to make the food look appealing. Anything from a window display to an information desk may be inspiring.
For a quieter experience than a shopping centre why not head to the library? We often think that we need to see to be inspired but by reading a book or an article you can use your own imagination and inspire yourself. Pick out a book or an article without images on a subject that interests you. Find a page or paragraph of that resonates with you and see if you can draw what it is describing or even the emotions that it evokes.
Children´s illustrated books are also a great source of inspiration. In the children´s section find a few books that stand out or even try and rediscover ones that you loved as a child, as often memories can spark more creativity and emotions. From the illustration itself to cut-out shapes and textures, children´s books are designed to spark all the senses. Also, much like an advertisement or marketing campaign, books often contain strategically placed text within the illustration itself.
Listening to your favourite music can be a great way to get through a creative block. Most of us listen to music while we work but we don´t often put a lot of thought into what we are listening to. Don´t just stick to your favourite genres however, try to tailor your music choices to a particular project, to create a feeling and atmosphere that is appropriate for the project.
Try and create an image of what you are listening to and then find elements which could be incorporated into your project. If you´re listening to the right stuff for the project then sooner or later you will find something that can be included into your project. Be aware though that if you listen to something you hate then this will also stifle your creativity so don´t force yourself to listen to something that will annoy you.
Album covers are also a great way to gain inspiration as they represent different eras and styles whilst portraying the emotions that are contained within the songs. Think of the cover art as a visual interpretation of words and of an idea, much in the same way that your design will be a visual interpretation of a brand and an idea.
Similar to books, magazines have images and strategically placed content that can inspire. Magazines however are much more consumer related so are more tailored to the graphic design field. Thus a magazine is much more inspiring in through its more artistic typography and layout.
Plus if you are working on a project that needs to incorporate images around text then magazines are a fantastic way to remind us that we can change a layout structure while still allowing for readability.
Also don’t forget to take a look at the adverts that are placed in magazines and analyse the most eye-catching ones. What caught your eye about that particular page? Was it the colour, the image or the layout? By really analysing what makes people stop to look at designs you can discover what people find most attractive and incorporate these effects into your designs.
Louise is from twago, Europe’s largest pan-European platform where freelance graphic designers, programmers and translators can find work. Louise is a graduate with an interest in how graphic design professionals can optimize the use of social media and apps to bring their ideas to a wider audience.