Friday, August 3, 2012

What's your inspiration?

Any creative profession requires inspiration. I happen to be a graphic designer, so my inspiration is mostly visual (although a clever phrase can get me going too). Everyone has their own creative process, but here is a little insight into mine.

There are a million sources to look at for inspiration, especially because the internet brings the world to my doorstep (it sure is a small world now). So the question becomes, where do I start?

I look at images (duh) of things done before, the same type of project done by someone else, or done by many someone elses. I love design books, and there are so many to choose from. Bookstores and libraries have great selections I enjoy skimming through. If I am working on a stationary design, there's a book for that, like: Stationery Design Now! by Taschen Books. There are countless logo design books as well, like Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler or  the Logo Lounge collection. Sometimes I just look at layout books or illustrations to find a style I want to go with.  The books are great because they show you example of what has been done before in that specific category.

But, there's also my lazy side's guilty source. Enter technology...

Google search is great, but in a different way from books. Ever notice, when you search for something on Google, there are often links and images included in the results that seem to have nothing to do with what you were looking for? Most of the time that can be frustrating, but when I am looking for inspiration to be creative, out of the box is what I want. Those seemingly random results can be the little gems I look for, so I don't discount them.

Whether it is in books or online that I start searching, I always start narrow and widen as I go. That way, in what ever genre I'm in, I start out knowing what has been done before, what works and of what I should steer clear.

Once I have a few interesting and hopefully informative sources and images, I can start putting something together. Further down the road to fruition!

Even that process has its own form of inspiration built in. All those accidental discoveries through time have happened while someone was trying to do something else. The same happens to me. While sketching, or even further into the process of creating my vision, a mistake will happen. My hand will slip and the graphite or mouse will go where I didn't want it. Nine times out of ten I will correct the mistake and move on. However, that once out of ten times, I will sit back and be amazed at what I discovered. More often than not, it is something that is completely useless to the project at hand, but I will file it away because it was so interesting. That mistake has now become a part of my personal library of inspiration.

I find my inspiration comes best when I actively look for it, I just have to recognize it.

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