Graphic designers are asked for a lot – they’re expected to come up with an eye-grabbing new logo and then turn around and come up with a tasteful wedding invitation. At times they’ll end up staring at a blank template, praying inspiration hits before their deadline – and not only inspiration but an idea for something great, something that will keep the clients coming back.
Here are some tips to get your design wheels spinning:
1. First of all, don’t be afraid to look at other people’s work. Completely ripping off someone else’s design is frowned upon and often illegal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose certain elements of other designs. Here is a gallery of brochures, business cards, logos and posters – humor, business and art are all represented. It’s wise to keep tabs on what other designers are doing so you can keep up with trends and figure out how to differentiate yourself from the competition.
2. Sometimes you’re presented with a seemingly impossible task. But, likely, there’s not a problem out there that some other designer hasn’t already encountered. And with the proliferation of blogs these days, a simple Internet search might be all that you need to find an answer. For example, Core77 magazine was able to answer the question: How do you make your client’s logo bigger without making its logo bigger? A sift through other designers’ thoughts lets you into their work processes and can often lead you to coming up with your own ideas.
3. One of the quickest ways designers can wreck their careers is to rest on their laurels – just quit learning. Keeping up with the newest tools and technology allows you to stay competitive by making sure your abilities match other designers. Plus, the more you scour for knowledge, the more you find inspiration. Educating yourself includes everything from ensuring you have – and have mastered – the latest edition of Photoshop to finding tips and tricks to create design effects. For example, check out these Adobe Illustrator tutorials. You can learn to create gradients that produce a realistic bell pepper, customize a wood grain texture and even produce 3-D effects. And the great thing about tutorials is there are so many out there that you’re bound to stumble upon a skill you didn’t realize you should know.
4. Finally, inspiration often comes from just looking all around you. A lot of artists have insisted on visiting the masterpieces of Paris or Rome, but even if you don’t have the cash or time to travel, you can still search through books, go online or just step outside. Those old art history books collecting dust on your shelf probably have a bounty of ideas inspired by art from all over the world. And the best thing about finding inspiration is it’s often free – you can find it in Mother Nature, from the curve of a plant to the delicateness of a jellyfish.
So now that you’re armed with inspiration, relax, turn on some classical music and pour your newfound creative energy into your work.