March 13, 2018
How To Find Graphic Inspiration
You’ve been staring at your screen for hours.
You’ve scrolled through millions of ideas on Pinterest, scoured thousands of hashtag results on Instagram, skimmed through hundreds of design sample works and still haven’t found the graphic inspiration you need to embark on your next design project.
Inspiration, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
You know why content creation is important, but how do you find this elusive stimulation – inspiration – to initiate your creative process?
Let’s explore two ways you can search for graphic inspiration that doesn’t involve another #inspo internet search.
Graphic Inspiration Destination #1: Solitude.
Humans think differently in a state of solitude compared to being stimulated by the environment, a phenomenon researchers are still uncovering in neurological studies but one that has been practiced for over 5,000 years in the form of meditation.
When you unplug from an over-stimulating environment (beeps, alerts, messages, conversations, notifications…) to quiet your thoughts and bring your focus inward, you are essentially unlocking a new way of thinking in your brain – and a completely new source of inspiration.
Instead of trying to make connections in the chaos of your environment, your brain can take time to focus on self-reflection – i.e. connecting your knowledge and experiences with your purpose, self-identity, and the way you believe to fit into the world.
These connections are the catalysts for ‘aha’ moments – remembering a storyline, color scheme, or design element you’ve seen in the outside world that would work perfectly for your upcoming graphic design project.
Luckily, you don’t need to travel to a Buddhist country or join a yoga studio to begin practicing the inward focus of meditation. There are hundreds of guided meditation apps that can help you get started.
You can also find solitude and practice this internal information processing in everyday activities like taking a shower (#showerthoughts), going for a walk in nature, or simply finding a quiet space to close your eyes and breathe.
Graphic Inspiration Destination #2: Your Local _______.
…coffee shop, library, shopping mall, smoothie bar, park, city street, or any other venue that humbly reminds you of the 7.4 billion other humans doing inspirational, creative things daily.
While solitude may unlock a profound way of thinking and uncover graphic inspiration, people-watching (i.e. observing the behavior and interaction of humans) can unlock an infinite supply of varying inspiration for content creation.
A few tips for purposeful people-watching:
- Take Notes. Bring a notebook or laptop so you can jot down inspiration as it comes and refer back to it later. Keep detailed notes and use as many descriptive words as you can to note colors, patterns, facial expressions, and design elements.
- Listen Up. Take note of interesting snippets of conversation you overhear. Eavesdropping is a great way to open your eyes (err, ears) to new perspectives.
- Stereotype. If you see someone who falls into a ‘category’ at first glance, take note of your classification reasoning. What elements of their dress, facial expressions, gestures, or behavior made you categorize them in the first place?
- Look Around. Notice any interesting design elements of the venue. How are the book displays arranged? Does the font on the welcome sign look cozy and inviting? Describe the pattern of a leaf you find at the park.
- Question Feelings. When you walk into a new venue, take a minute to notice your first impression of the place. Do you feel instantly relaxed, slightly annoyed and on-edge, or completely indifferent? Then take note of why you felt that way. Is the decor modern and inviting or obnoxious and distracting? Are the lights too bright or just right?
Observing human interaction – with others and with the world we live in – is a foundational step in finding the story your graphic will tell. Create the story your graphic will tell, then use the story elements to inspire your actual design.
If you’re still struggling with finding inspiration for your next campaign, download our free Digital Design Library – full of 200+ examples of designs our clients used in their campaigns.
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