Graphic Design Inspiration and How to Find It

graphic design inspirationWhether you’re a new graphic designer, or you have been at it for awhile, at some point it may seem like the inspiration wells have all but dried up. For the beginning designer, this is less of a problem. If you’re not as busy as you’d like to be, you have some time to gather some new ideas for your next project. However, if graphic design is your bread and butter, you need to become a wellspring of brilliance, and at times, on a moment’s notice.

Learn Real World Graphic Design with this online course!

Fortunately there are several places you can go for inspiration. In this post we will explore five of the most common places to look for design ideas.

Five Ways to Find Inspiration for your Graphic Design Projects

  1. Online Art & Design Libraries – If you’re in a hurry to come up with a design concept, one of the first places you should go is an online art or design directory. These sites usually feature a massive volume of work from a wide range of artists. Sites like Behance, Deviant Art and The Design Inspiration all fall within this category, and can help get your creative juices flowing when you’re in a pinch.
  2. Design Blogs –  While many design blogs simply feature the work of other artists, many go beyond the showcase and provide practical tips from other working graphic design professionals. This definitely includes sites like, Design Observer, Smashing Magazine and Dexigner. Often times, these design professionals will give you advice on how to implement a certain concept into a complex design, or simply give you some practical tools for handling the day-to-day stress of managing a graphic design business. Either way, graphic design blogs are a valuable resource for any designer.
  3. Graphic Designer Colleagues – Sometimes you can even find some brilliant ideas from other graphic designers that you already know. You may consider shooting a fellow design colleague an email to get a feel for some interesting projects they are working on. You may even be able to ask them for advice – that is, if you trust their creative vision – on a particularly hairy design project you’re working on.
  4. Social Media – Additionally, sites like Pinterest and Gentlemint serve as a virtual junk drawer for all things design. If you go the Pinterest route, just as many graphic designers do, there are literally hundreds of beautiful pinboards geared towards graphic design inspiration. Beyond social pinning sites, you can follow some graphic designers you trust and respect on Facebook and Twitter. In many cases, these graphic artists love to share their work on social media.
  5. Look to the Past – While it may not be appropriate for every design project, there is a lot of inspiration that can be gleaned from the pioneers of graphic design. This is where it may come in handy to either borrow or purchase some graphic design coffee table books. With these in your office, you can sift through them when you find yourself in a creative drought.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Graphic design inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it even comes in the form of design philosophy. Sometimes what you need is to be reminded of what you love about being a designer. For instance, maybe a quote from a famous designer will spark your creativity in a unique and interesting way. The big idea with design inspiration is to get you thinking in a way that moves you to create something beautiful that your client will love, and that you can ultimately give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.