Design Inspiration 101July 1, 2016
By John Gilman, Senior Graphic Designer
As anyone working in a creative field will tell you, knowing where to start or which direction to take can often be the most difficult part of the process. When the well seems to be running dry, one of the most accessible solutions is turn to a robust online community of design peers for inspiration. It’s become part of my daily routine; for anyone working through a creative grind, maybe it can become part of yours!
Whether I use them to re-energize that creative spark, check different channels to see how trends are evolving or simply to take a look at what my favorite studios are creating, the following resources have given me the push I needed more times than I can count. From students to creative directors, the range of offerings is always unique and perpetually evolving. If you have some spare time in your day I certainly recommend taking the opportunity to scan through some of these sites, whether you’re a designer or not.
Created to be a “Show and Tell for Designers,” this resource has stayed pretty true to that goal. Designers post daily works-in-progress, finished projects or updates on continuing campaigns. Supported by an international community, Dribbble chapters host “Meetups” in cities around the globe to give local contributors a chance to take their engagement off-screen and engage one another in person.
From the fine folks over at Adobe, the projects posted here tend to be a much more narrative exploration of already completed projects. A great resource to turn to for anyone interested in viewing larger case studies in their entirety, Behance has certainly become an industry standard for championing both academic and professional work.
If Dribbble and Behance appeal more specifically to graphic designers, Design Milk appeals to fans of design at large. Here you’ll find everything from digital to industrial design and almost everything in between. This resource is naturally more filtered and doesn’t showcase the same level of direct designer engagement that other channels do, but it’s a great resource for anyone looking to respond to design-driven thinking on a broader scale.
More of a Tumblr than anything else, this is still a hyper-accessible treasure trove of design goodness. Everything — photography, hand-lettering, packaging, branding and beyond — can be found here.
That’s just a small sampling of the great resources available thanks to the wonders of the interweb, but it should be enough to get started. Sidenote: for all you Chrome users out there; a fellow pony recently turned me on to Muzli, a plugin which operates as a daily feed for quite a few tremendous resources, including the ones listed above. You can curate your feed and select which outlets are most appealing to your tastes.
Next time you find yourself hurting for a fresh perspective, hopefully some of these sites can serve as a salve.