Inspiration image

How to be inspired

Inspiration can be elusive…

It can be easy, indescribable, deeply personal, stubborn, fleeting, for some it may even be formulaic and ready made.

A catalyst for the creation of something new.

Inspiration – When you work in the Creative Industries, this word becomes synonymous with two things…1. the exciting, hunter gathering, early phase of the design process, where there are so many possibilities. And 2. something to chase, pin down and hang on too when you feel you need a shot of motivation.

Project Inspiration: Branding

For my larger branding projects this involves making and remaking notes and scribbles before collecting and collating all manner of stuff. Guided by a keyword analysis derived from the project or client brief, I rewrite (in a note sketchbook – I like ones with graph paper!) and expand the keywords. I find alternatives, derivatives, antonyms… I try not to restrict myself and freely write or draw what comes to mind.

I then revisit the design brief and the original keywords. Search for terms, sources, and visuals to relate directly the these terms as well as to words from my expanded list.

This is where the gathering begins… paper flowers, Tron, Michael Jackson, dystopian artworks, found objects, book covers, early mornings, railway tracks, texture, childhood memories. Its like collecting ingredients for a mystery meal. Some ingredients will be discarded, other go on to become a base flavour, like the the mauve flowers of a blossoming Myrtle Tree that became the primary brand colour for this EWOQ logo.


Once I’ve collected, I group the items, these group generally fall into: Typography, Logos, Colour, Style and Feeling, Medium, ie; websites, books, magazine spreads, infographics. At this point I usually see the pattern that i already know is emerging… the pattern is often tonal and stylistic, if not directly apparent.

Repeat as Prescribed

When it comes to big brand development projects – there are so many stages and offshoots that the scribble, hunt, gather process is repeated again and again although each time I retain more focus and specific objectives because the vision has become more and more tangible. With the visual brand identity – the sub projects, such as; logo design, website skins, magazine covers all need a creative catalyst.

Graphic Design Inspiration and Creative Block

If a new graphic design project comes to me and I’m stuck, maybe mentally I’m distracted, or I’m unwell or i just got out of bed on the uninspired side. I find the best thing for me is to leave the project, do something else and pick it later (If I have the luxury of time). Doing something physical works best for me: chores around the house, gardening, go for a run or to the gym. Beyond that, I love to wander around a bookshop… book cover art can usually trigger something, it’s like passive inspiration gathering – caffeine for the left side of the brain.

Small selection of inspiring resources:




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