Top Ten Friday: Creative Inspiration

Everyone tends to get their creative inspiration from some place different. Some get inspiration from the Internet, others by simply reading a book, and some even find inspiration from walking around his/her city. Here is a list of places some of us z2ers find our creative inspiration.

10. Mr. Cup: This blog offers up a plethora of inspiration for contemporary design, packaging, web design, type and more. One of the best parts of the blog is the large list of links to other great sites devoted to similar subjects.

9. Talking with other creatives: Sometimes this is the best way to drum up ideas and inspiration. When you get so focused on an idea, it really makes it difficult for you to see it as a whole with a clear mind. Getting other perspectives allows you to back up and refocus your thoughts and energy.

8. Designspiration: This is a great place to discover and share great design. There are a variety of images to find, but one of the coolest things you can do is have the ability to search by color. See logos, typography, graphics, etc., with a certain color background.

7. Smashing Magazine: SM is an online magazine for web designers that has topics ranging from coding, mobile, UX, WordPress and more. It offers helpful techniques and tutorials, best practices and valuable insights that might give you the kind of creative inspiration you’ve been hoping for.

6. Vimeo: Vimeo is a more small, niche community of film buffs. The community is highly engaged and has a serious love for all things film, video, cinematography and more. There is less fluff and more “on-topic” videos where people are more likely to offer constructive criticism. Follow channels and engage with other users. Check out the “staff picks” for some of the best videos out there.

5. Dribbble: Dribbble is a community of designers, web and graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects. It’s a place to show and tell, promote, discover, and explore design and is also a great place to find design inspiration. Think of it as like a social network for designers.

4. The Best Designs: A slick website that finds some of the most creative and innovative sites out there, and puts them in one place. On top of that, its design is pretty awesome.

3. Creative Bloq: This site was actually created specifically to inspire your creative side. It provides daily inspiration on graphic design, typography, tutorials, web design and so much more.

2. Pinterest: It seems like everyone and their mother is pinning these days. But that’s not a bad thing because it has seemingly brought out the creative side in everyone. People can find inspiration in recipes, weddings, party planning and many more ideas all on Pinterest. It has practically become its own search engine.

1. Make Magazine: From 3-D printing to robotics to DIY projects and so much more. This site brings inspiration to the engineering minds in ways you didn’t know were possible. Videos, stories, images and tutorials give you a whole new perspective when looking to build or create something new.

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

Check out our last “Top Ten Friday” post, which was our team photo challenge. Let us know which was your favorite!

July 19, 2013 · Posted by in design, TTF  

Can Designs Over Time

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Check out the post history 103: evolution of soft drink cans for a look at soda cans and how the branding & design has changed over the years.

Coca-Cola often includes a bottle in their can design, which I’ve always found interesting. (You’ll notice the same theme with Heinze ketchup packets, and in fact their latest ketchup delivery device is actually shaped like a bottle.)


For the 7up designs, I distinctly remember the cans from 1967 to 1990, but don’t recognize the 1977 design… was it that forgettable?

(Disclaimer: as a kid I had quite the beer & soda can collection, which might be part of the reason I remember so many of the old cans.)

July 10, 2013 · Posted by in branding, design, marketing  

Graphic designers are not created equal. The term itself is a generic one that includes many specialties . Most designers have a specialty, whether it’s print, web, illustration, or multiple sub-categories beyond those. Jessica Hische is well known in the design industry as a letterer, type designer and illustrator. She is someone that immediately comes to mind when I think of a graphic designer who excels in one of these categories.

This talented designer can take a letter, word or phrase and transform it into an elaborate piece of art with ease. In 2009, Hische wanted to challenge herself to stay motivated and inspired, so she created Daily Drop Cap. By creating an initial cap letter per day that individuals could employ for personal use within their own blog posts, she would later be branded as the “Drop Cap Girl.” She’s been making big strides in her work and was recently named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Art and Design. She’s grown a large variety of clients that include The New York Times, Target, Leo Burnett, Penguin Books, Tiffany & Co. and many more.

If you check out Hische’s website, you’ll find a long list of resources and compatriots that you can peruse for hours for inspiration or to help get you out of your design block. However, as Hische reiterates in her blog, you should be drawing upon several inspirations, such as people’s work, ads and more. Always look for new experiences, check out concerts of a different genre than you’re used to or even search for old designs and ads for a new perspective on your design goals. The resources are immeasurable and will ultimately help you create something that is fresh and uniquely yours.

May 22, 2013 · Posted by in design  

As a child you probably tore through your crayon box with reckless abandon. With little thought given to what colors were used and why they were used, your coloring book was left looking like the entire box of crayons had melted in the sun. As you grew older though, you began to associate different colors with different things. The sky was blue and the grass was green. Boys wore blue and girls wore pink. In a child’s mind, this is just how things were.

Eventually you started to associate color with more than just what your eyes see. Most of us have heard the term “seeing red”. A phrase often used to describe anger and aggression. If you’re “feeling blue”, it’s because you’re sad or depressed. Whether you realize it or not, colors affect our moods and emotions, and the way they are used in marketing are often used to trigger a subconscious reaction in you.

It’s believed that the color red, besides being associated with anger, can actually stimulate hunger. Combine this with yellow, and you’re eyes are literally telling your stomach it’s time to eat. If you don’t believe there’s a psychology to color, try telling these restaurants to change theirs.

The psychology of color is a powerful one, and big corporations know this. The colors they choose to represent their company are more than just an afterthought. Every color has unique associations and emotions tied to it, and they are carefully chosen to send you a message without ever saying a word.

Each color represents a whole lot more than people would have ever thought. Who knew?

May 14, 2013 · Posted by in branding, design, marketing  


One of the things I learned in school was that you need constraints when designing something. Giving a designer complete freedom, perhaps by saying “do whatever you want” is a bad thing, and not very realistic.

You can’t just say “design something” and expect greatness to appear. Whatever you need designed will have certain specifications, such as size, colors, cost, etc. If you’re dealing with a client that can’t provide you with the details that create constraints, that should be a warning sign.

A true designer should embrace constraints, and immediately think of ways to push the very edges of the constraints, but still stay within them. Thinking outside the box is fine, but most often you’ll still need to fit everything within the box when the project is complete.

I did manage to find one article about this concept, and it’s from WIRED Magazine, which I think is fitting: Design Under Constraint: How Limits Boost Creativity

August 13, 2012 · Posted by in design, misc  

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