Hi! Nice to meet you, dear reader. I’m Callum, a graphic designer at Snap Design & Digital and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about sources of creative inspiration I use to aid me while doing work or personal projects.
I fully subscribe to the belief that inspiration striking like a bolt of lighting or having a ‘lightbulb’ moment is the most unreliable way to create anything. Full stop. I acknowledge these moments happen, but as a graphic designer at Snap HQ I need to be able to ideate often and rather than waiting for inspiration to come to me, I’ll go after the inspiration.
This is especially important presently because remote working has many of us, myself included, isolated at home with bouts of office work and plenty of time with ourselves. Without colleagues around it’s hard to bounce ideas off each other or even to get feedback on a piece of work. Not an ideal situation, for sure, but one I think we can overcome by enhancing our creativity and producing great pieces of work from the comfort of our own home.
“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.” – Neil Gaiman
SO, I thought I’d share some of my favourite design resources that I use to help my design process which might help you find your inspiration, for either that work project you’re currently struggling with or a personal project you want to focus on now you have time.
Brand New is a blog run by graphic design firm Under Consideration LLC, focusing on chronicling and giving their opinion on notable redesigns and designs of products, companies, services and organisations. I love using the Brand New blog for inspiration from the newest brands released, while also being able to filter all previous reviews they’ve put out by the industry they reside in, which helps when you’re trying to match the right style and tone to a specific client. Further, reviews are often very honest about how successful the brands are at what they are trying to achieve and the comments from other users on the site provide deeper insight and frequent humour about the brands.
Httpster (It’s a written pun I guess?) is a blog that curates a collection of ‘totally rocking websites’ with the aim to show off good web typography and effective, unpretentious design. When starting to design websites, I find it immensely useful to use Httpster to build up a solid grounding of concepts and ideas by sketching out UI elements I like based on what I see works well with other sites and translating that to my current brief
It’s Nice That’s core belief is that creative inspiration is for everyone, and they champion that belief by hosting exciting and engaging work on their platform for it to reach the widest audience possible. A great resource for the best projects from every type of creative industry as well as the latest news which you can use to inform any type of project you might be working on.
Awwwards is a competition platform that promotes the best in innovative web design, by encouraging people to submit websites to be judged by an international jury composed of designers, developers and agencies. Everyday they’ll be a new site of the day posted on Awwwards, which was found to be the best that day out of their submissions. A daily source for some of the most interesting and innovative website designs out there, each with a breakdown of how high the site scored in 5 independent areas.
‘Fonts in Use’ is very much as it sounds, an independent archive of typography which is displayed through examples of content that typefaces have been used on. Helpful in showing interesting ways typeface have been used previously to help fuel your ideas on how to use them currently and also great for highlighting good typeface pairings. I find this extremely useful, as left to my own devices I can spend a lot of time looking for the perfect typeface for a project and by using ‘Fonts in Use’ I significantly cut down on that time by being able to see which typefaces: pair together, have ties to certain industries and work well on specific forms of media.
CreativeBloq is a great mix of daily articles, advice and inspiration for all types of designers and artists with the goal of bringing great creative work and insight into recent trends to their readers. A broad site which I find useful to look up any of the latest developments in the design industry in terms of news or trends, and a good source of long list articles of inspiration of all types of design.
Now if you’re not looking for inspiration, but rather a project to work on, then I would recommend using Sharpen. It’s a free design challenge generator to help practice graphic design, UX, branding, and more. Easy to use, you just filter through the ‘categories’ and select one that you want to work on and click the new challenge button until you have a brief you’re happy to work on. Intentionally short and snappy so that designers can use these open ended briefs to focus on the principles of design, which is a very handy tool to sink your teeth into if you’re looking for ways to fill your time.
I hope that you find this blog useful and use it to make an awesome piece of work that you’re proud of, or even use it to create your own spark of inspiration rather than waiting for a lightning bolt to manifest. In summary, if it helps I’m happy. So, you can finally stop using this blog to procrastinate whatever you should or want to be doing and now start doing it.
Stay safe, and make something great!