Creativity ebbs and flows like the tide, meaning graphic design inspiration can be very tough to come by at times. You can create your most stunning work one day, then feel deadpan flat and tapped out the next…and without warning.
So what do the pros do when they need to crank out some creative brilliance but their brains just won’t get into gear?
Here are a handful of different ways you can find inspiration for your next graphic design project. These are pro-tested, so they should work for you, too. Enjoy!
How to Find Graphic Design Inspiration
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
The easiest pathway to graphic design inspiration is of course staring right at you: the internet. Not only are there amazing examples of what you’re trying to accomplish, but there are also entire websites totally devoted to inspiring people who need it.
Sites like COLOURlovers feature color palettes, news, and design examples and is community-based, with many active users. Just type “design inspiration” into a search engine like Bing.com and you could spend all day soaking up the ideas.
Very often we forget that there’s a whole world of brilliant graphic design all wrapped up in the printed form: magazines. It doesn’t hurt to have a magazine subscription so when you’re feeling stale, you can go offline and pick up some magazines to browse.
Don’t have any magazines lying around? Step out to a newsstand, a bookstore, or a good cafe.
Know that when you’re looking at magazine covers (as well as the ads inside), you’re looking at the work of some of the best in the industry. Print media isn’t exactly thriving these days, with everything moving online, so the people who get graphic design jobs with magazines have to be on top of their game.
Take careful note of colors, font, placement, and images – every square inch is painstakingly planned to please the eye.
Consult Mother Nature
If it works for artists, it can work for you. Nature has been inspiring visual products for centuries, so it’s worth a try for sparking your own graphic design inspiration.
Color from sunsets, curves from rocks, the way peacock feathers display in the sun…you name it, there’s inspiration everywhere.
See What Your Competitors are Up To
There’s really no need to reinvent the wheel every time you need a print ad for your business. It doesn’t hurt to see what others are doing, and that way you can build on the ideas you find, to make your own, fresh design.
There are certain design elements that you’ll commonly see in the work of others. Use those elements as a foundation, and that way you’re not staring at a blank page when you go to design your project.
Go Back in Time
Sometimes, to move forward you have to look back: in history, that is. You’re certainly not the first person to ever design a mailer, create a poster, or put together fliers that have to look great.
Just as you can glean guiding principles of design from looking at your competitors’ work, you can also learn from what was being produced 10, 25, even 50 or 100 years ago. Sometimes the oldest examples of design, plucked from history, make for the freshest designs. Just put your own modern flourish on things and you’ve got a good recipe for success. Consult Wikipedia for examples of historical graphic design examples.
Remove Yourself from Your Present Surroundings
Now, for the simplest technique of all: get away from your present location and go somewhere different (preferably somewhere new). Depending on where you live and what you like to do, that might mean a stroll in the woods, a trek across the city, or a trip to the gym.
If you’re truly stuck for the long term, travel can sometimes free your brain. You’ll definitely come back with a fresh perspective on things!
Whether it’s a ten-minute break from the computer screen, a two-hour walk outside, or a journey into your kitchen to clean out a cupboard or two, switching up your environment can clear your mind to make way for all sorts of creative ideas to come flowing in (hopefully!).
Still coming up blank? Our graphic designers are standing by ready to design your next project. Contact us now to get started.