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Offline Creative Design Inspiration

I have read a lot of useful blogs about where to find design inspiration online which is great when you need a little creative nudge. However, sometimes I feel that I need to get out of the office, escape the glow of my computer screen and free my mind a little. I’m sure you will agree that as a graphic designer you are inspired by everything and even the smallest thing can set off those creative sparks. However, where is your first port of call on your search for creative enlightenment? 

Living in a sunny coastal town with the sea only a stones throw away, I head straight down to the beach. There’s nothing like the smell of seaweed and the sound of the waves crashing to break down any creative barriers.

My next point of call could be seen as a bit of a cop out, but I assure you it’s all in the name of graphic design – that would be shopping. There is something about a well thought through shop front display, bold point of sale and the feel of different textured and patterned clothes that makes me run back to the office (along with my many purchases) and inject a new lease of life into my project.

Failing the above two there are many public galleries in South Devon that offer excellent creative release. I’m not sure if it’s just the art or being in a room with other art lovers that opens my mind and can make me think in a completely different direction. 

And what about good old fashioned books, wasn’t that where everyone went for reference before the age of the web? 

Breaking through that creative block can be difficult, but sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break. If you are hitting expresso shots and spending 10hrs straight on one project, is there any wonder that you are running dry on the old creative juices? Sometimes simply walking away from the computer screen, putting my mp3 player in my ears and closing my eyes is all I need for the ideas to start seeping through. 

So, do you find design inspiration offline (if so I’d love to know where?) or do you get your fill from the web world?

Posted by Lu

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Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008 at 12:43 pm
Posted In Design Inspiration, Graphic Design | Tags: ,

10 Responses to “Offline Creative Design Inspiration”

  • Two things help me to get my ‘game’ back…

    Lots of sleep and reading bleeding edge science books or blogs. Strange but true!

    It also helps to take in some of the lovely landscapes that we are so privileged to enjoy on our Jurassic coastline.

  • Lu says:

    Hi James,

    Not sure about the Bleeding Science thing but I definately agree with the coastline – very inspiring!


  • Sander says:

    Just by walking and taking a good look at buildings, people and the environment. Clearing my mind. And / or playing with my 9 months child, that’s a complete different world!

  • lu says:

    Hi Sander,

    Thanks for your comment. I definitely agree with clearing your mind. Sometimes it helps just to think of anything other than the project in hand.


  • Wow, me too, what is it about retail that is so inspiring!:)

    One of the most illustratively inspiring shops for me is Paperchase. I’m in retail heaven when I’m in Paperchase.

  • lu says:

    Oooohh, I do love Paperchase, for some reason I have to pick up or hold everything in the store!

  • Amy says:

    I just did a similar post of my blog: http://www.theamylynn.com/blog about inspiration. I love flipping through magazines, and picking up interesting print materials to add to my collection. I like going to the bookstores to flip through graphic design books, and then buy them cheaper on amazon.com.

    You’re right though, sometimes you just need a complete break, and take a walk outside!

  • lu says:

    I hadn’t thought of visiting a bookstore (which is strange as there are dozens of lovely ones in my area!) – good tip. Thanks for your comment Amy!

    Nice blog btw, I’ve left a couple of comments!

  • I agree a good break from the computer works wonders, you come back refreshed and inspired. I visited a number of exhibitions recently from enamel art to illustration graduates – that’s always inspiring and gives you a shove to be more creative.

  • lu says:

    Hi Gareth,

    Exhibitions! That’s an excellent one, especially if it’s a craft you aren’t familiar with , therefore forcing you to break out and think in a different direction.

    Thanks for your comment!

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