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Creative Inspiration – Part 1

Posted on April 7, 2009

It’s happened to all of us, even the most seasoned design professionals. You sit down at your computer, ready to produce some amazing work for a new project that you are super excited about. You have your mouse in one hand, and some Starbucks in the other. And then?nothing. No ideas. No glimmer of creative brilliance. Now what?

There are many, many different ways to find creative inspiration, and while different things work for different creatives, here are a few things that spark ideas every time. And this is just part one of a two (or more) part series.

For the longest time,
Mike Doughty’s Haughty Melodic could inspire me when nothing else would. I can’t really explain it. There isn’t one specific song, it isn’t because it is a ground-breaking album, he isn’t even one of my top 5 favorite artists. But there’s just something about it that allows me to open my mind, and then the ideas start flowing. I must admit that I haven’t listened to this album for a while, probably at least a year, but I bet that the next time I get stuck and need an idea, I can put on this album, sit back and let the ideas come to me.

Believe it or not, I’m most productive, and creative, when there’s pressure. A quick deadline, a new and exciting project, work overload. There’s something about the added pressure that gets my heart racing, my blood boiling, and the ideas flowing. Of course, sometimes this backfires and too much pressure makes my mind lock up tight, no ideas, no confidence, no time left. But then I simply turn on Busting Up a Starbucks (see inspiration #1) and I’m back in business.

New Environment
Sometimes the best thing to do is to just get out. Leave the office or home, sit outside, get some coffee (yes, Starbucks can be an inspiration), window shop, browse through the local unique flower shop. Anything to get your out of your chair, to get your body and mind moving again. Something just a simple change of location can give your mind the spark it needs to start working. But don’t stay away too long, there’s still a lot pressure waiting for you back at the office.

Interior & Fashion Design
That’s right, interior and fashion design and graphic design influence each other. Who knew? Interior and fashion design trends are a great source for beautiful textures and colors interacting together. A funky chair could inspire a logo. A new fabric pattern could inspire a web site. The possibilities really are endless, so don’t feel bad about looking at newest fashions at work! It’s all in the name of inspiration.

Art History
It’s true history repeats itself, but who said that has to be bad thing? Knowing where art and design comes from, what worked and what didn’t, is a great way to find inspiration. While browsing through some old art books something from the Art Deco era will catch your eye, and inspire a new logo. Maybe the red and orange hues in the sunset in Edvard Munch?s The Scream inspire a color palette for an annual report. So browse through those art history books, visit an art museum, paint-by-number, what ever floats your artistic boat.

What Inspires You? Part two (and maybe part three, four, five?) of this post could use some more ideas. What gets you out of your rut and into the creative zone? I’d love to hear your creative inspirations.

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