How To Find Inspiration As A Graphic Designer

Being a graphic designer requires a unique combination of technical skills and creativity. Learning your way around the Photoshop or Illustrator interface is only a portion of what it takes to design amazing works of art. Don’t get me wrong, the more you know about your design program, the more power you have to create something great. But what good is mastering a design program if you can’t apply your skillset to real-world projects? Everyone can be creative. The key to finding creativity is gathering different sources of inspiration. If you’re new to graphic design, or you’re just not sure how to get your creative juices flowing, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s explore various ways to find inspiration as a graphic designer and increase your creativity.

Before we start discussing the ways to find inspiration, it’s important to note that there is a distinct difference between gathering inspiration and stealing someone’s work. Gathering inspiration is looking at what you like about a certain piece and using that information to create something of your own. Stealing someone’s work is copying what they’ve done and claiming that work as your own. Stealing is never acceptable, and in some cases, it can lead to very severe consequences.

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So now that we’ve covered that, let’s get the sources of inspiration. As you may have guessed, the best source of inspiration is looking at the work of other designers. You can observe what you like and what you dislike about their work. Ask yourself what inspires you about that piece. Think about some ways that you could improve upon the design. Would you add something, or take something away? Do you like their choice of colors? Does the piece convey the message it was created to convey? What do you think the artist’s motivations and intentions were when they created that piece? These are only a few of the questions you should be asking yourself when drawing inspiration from the work of others.

Don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from sources and genres outside of your niche. Just because you’re a graphic designer doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by a beautifully designed building or an eccentric hairstyle of one of your neighbors. All forms of art can be sources of inspiration. Don’t limit yourself to seeking out the works of your direct competitors and others in your genre. Sometimes, the best sources of inspiration come from odd places. If you are only looking at art in your niche, you may find it difficult to gather inspiration. This happens because you’ve most likely seen all the current trends in your field of design. Step outside of your comfort zone and seek inspiration in non-conventional places.

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Beyond studying the work of other artists, a great way to get some inspiration is to volunteer at a local organization. By volunteering, you’ll get a look at the needs of your community. There are so many untapped markets that need to be filled. By finding out specific needs of various organizations, you can work on solutions to their problems. Brainstorming solutions to their problems is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. As a bonus, many organizations will often hire you to do some work for them after seeing the solutions you’ve created for their organization.

One final suggestion I have for gathering inspiration is to simply talk to people that you see throughout the day. Ask them about their likes and dislikes. See if they are trying to solve a specific design problem. Talk about some of your past projects and ask if they have some suggestions for your upcoming work. Continue building a community of both designers and non-designers who can provide you with feedback on your work. Having a diverse community of people will give you the best chance of finding truly unique sources of inspiration. Having access to different backgrounds and cultural experiences will make your future work stand out as truly unique.

There are so many ways to gather inspiration. You can study the work of others, volunteer in your community and spend time gathering feedback from people you trust. The best way to find inspiration is too always have a mind that is open and ready to receive knowledge. Always seek inspiration in everything that you encounter. Even the smallest of things can make the biggest impact.

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