At our last Refresh meeting, I asked for some follow-up ideas about… ideas – where you might find inspiration. I realize this is long overdue, but listed below are some of the responses I received.
I find the best ideas come either right away or much, much later when I am not expecting them. Any kind of formal thinking process usually seems to yield a lesser result. So I go for lots of gathering and storing, so the subconscious is full and always busy looking for a solution. I find washing dishes is the best way to unleash that solution, which is why I invest in rubber gloves to prevent dishwater-hands (a little known but devastating designer’s affliction!)
When I am designing for a web site and in a “rut” about design ideas, I enjoy visiting template farms like steves-templates.com or templatemonster.com. I am always amazed at the creativity, and this visual stimulus sparks my own ideas. I am extremely visual, but it helps me to see how colors go together first-hand in a design. Then I “get” it.
Drawing sketches on paper has never appealed to me. I find that if I can draw large swatches of color using Photoshop, I can then get moving in a design direction. Even though I am from an earlier generation of designers, I still prefer electronic methods. I am a “tweaker” in that my initial design always needs enhancement to reach its full potential.
I feel as if I have developed “two minds” or frames of reference when designing. I design, then step back and look at it almost as a different person would. This is a skill that I have picked up over the years. I didn’t have it when I first started out.
Magazines also spark ideas, both for print and for web design. Again, it helps me to actually see an idea implemented. I’ll take parts of several different designs and put them together in new and different ways. I am always on the lookout for new design ideas.
I have found it is best to listen to that little inner voice that tells me something isn’t quite right in a design. If I don’t, someone else always seems to point it out!
Google – I Google everything. Type in a key word and click – be amazed on
what comes up and where it takes you. www.google.com
Learning about Lean – This blog discussing learning how to see and view
things differently. It’s helped me to re-examine some of my company’s core
workflow approaches and to resolve some daily challenges.
Simply Getting Things Done (GTD) – This blog is interesting, but sometimes
full of a little iffy. I’ve recommended this to several people who are
always disorganized and can’t break free from their inbox or clutter.
Linked In – This is how I found Refresh Tallahassee and I use it as a
networking and marketing tool. I’ve gotten several blogs or articles
written about T-Formation from activity from LI. Its great exposure.but you
have to work it. I generally only spend my off-time and weird moments doing
anything on LI – the three minutes you are waiting for a meeting to start,
Typeface Periodic Table – just because it’s there –
You Suck At Photoshop – for those that haven’t seen these incredibly funny
tutorials – check out the series:
Printspiration – Graphic design inspiration for those that are stuck – steal
someone else’s idea here: http://www.printspiration.com/home
Roger Van Oech – The original “Whack on the Side of the Head” guy – read
that book forever ago, and it was really enlightening. Look at different
problems through the eyes of different people. Very imaginative. Here’s
his blog – http://blog.creativethink.com/
Guy Kawasaki – of course we have to include him –
Wishful Thinking – Good tips about keeping the juices flowing – from England
– Excellent writing – be sure to read the articles –
Johnny Cupcakes – T-shirt designer and egomaniac. I love this guy’s concept
and business. He prints t-shirts with cupcakes on them and hosts huge
events around the world to promote them. This is one of my favorite things
I point to when somebody asks me about starting their own line of t-shirts
(I get that once a week, easy) http://www.johnnycupcakes.com/blog/
Russell Davies – Always an interesting blog. I love his weird pictures he’s
always taking. http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/
Funny or Die – When you are stuck and just need a break – go here – laugh at
something and then get back to work http://www.funnyordie.com/
Boing Boing – Another site with a lot of fun, weird stuff –
Max Kerning – Typeface humor – http://www.maxkerning.com/