I’m always on the lookout for fresh visual inspiration — and with the permeation of Pinterest and Tumblr it gets harder to find exciting, provoking imagery that hasn’t been reposted everywhere. Veer, long one of my favorite sources for purchasing fonts, has launched Veer Ideas, a Tumblr full of stunning photos and type. The mix of compositions and colors really gave me a creative jolt — this collection doesn’t disappoint.
Tag Archives: Inspiration
I have always admired the aesthetic of Anthropologie but beyond the occasional wardrobe splurge, the overall vibe felt a little too romantic and bohemian for my structured, modern tastes. That changed though when Gala and I were in Santa Monica last month. Maybe because I was in full-on vacation mode and in a city where people wear A LOT more color, I fell in love with what I saw inside the store — it wasn’t just the clothing but moreso the overall presentation and visual merchandising.
Even if you’re not an Anthropologie fan, there’s no denying that they design window displays like no other. I used to work with a girl at a design studio who left her career to do the windows for Anthro instead and she loves it. I was browsing through the Anthro site and these are a few of my favorite finds:
I also thought this chair featuring a beach scene upstairs was really, really cool. The whole Anthropologie vibe makes me want to go back on vacation and I’ll be close enough to that feeling, BBQ-ing and relaxing today for the 4th. Hope you have a great one full of relaxation as well.
I have close to 10 years’ worth of magazine clippings amassed in my flat files and here’s a small sampling. Even with the abundance of reading materials online and on the iPad, I am still a diehard connoisseur of print. I do have an iPad (and subscribe to some magazines that are more interactive) but I’m still keeping my print magazine subscriptions as well. All you hear these days is, “Print is dead!” But it’s really not dead, it’s just changing. You may see less printed materials but the quality of what you do see is higher overall. I love my iPad but still equally enjoy the feeling of digging through stacks of clippings and pooling together inspiration. What about you?
I still have some of my 90s clippings too stuffed into a folder (though those mostly revolve around Kurt & Courtney, some Versace ads and a healthy dose of Marilyn Manson). My poor, poor parents had to deal with my bedroom walls covered in this stuff! And maybe that’s where my nostalgia for print and holding onto my magazine subscriptions comes from — that’s all I had before a steady internet connection and the iPad.
Readers: What iPad publications do you subscribe to? Any recommendations? My favorite so far has been Project Magazine.
One of the questions I get asked most often is about my design process. Most of us have a method for working through a project but once it’s done often enough, it begins to feel like second nature. I’ve continually held off writing this article until now because truthfully, my design process has become so routine that I don’t think of it as being significant. But, when I take the time to step back, I realize that we each have a different method for working through projects and can learn from one another. Today, I’m going to share an overview of the general design process I go through when working on a project. Please note that the process detailed below is focused solely on the creative side of a project and not on any of the administrative or strategic tasks that take place.
1. The Questionnaire
When I’m working with a new client, I begin my process by sending out a questionnaire. It’s comprised of a short, succinct set of questions meant to jog memories and provide the basic information clients might not otherwise think about. The last question encourages clients to gather their own visual inspiration and links to sites and content they like. After all, we know ourselves better than anyone else and the more we share about what we love & loathe, the easier the designer’s job becomes.
2. Visual Research
While the client is doing their own visual research to show me what they like, I’m doing mine at the same time. Conducting visual research is important because it helps you become aware of current trends. This doesn’t mean that you should rip off every hot color, font and lockup you see. It’s meant to inform you of what’s happening in the world around you. Think about the flipside; you don’t want to end up with a logo that looks exactly like someone else’s because you didn’t do your homework! Clients tend to want a logo that’s on-trend while still remaining unique. But by on-trend, I mean current, not trendy. Nobody wants to go through the hassle of redesigning their logo every few years if they can help it!
My top places to search for visual inspiration are:
2. Pinterest (This is my personal account where I save some of my favorite images).
4. Flickr: I have a private folder that I upload everything I find into and have been actively adding to it since college. I do this mainly because I can be anywhere in the world, log in and have my full collection of inspiration at my fingertips.
3. Thumbnail Sketches
Ah, yes. Our college professors made us do page after page of thumbnail sketches and they do have their benefits! My head is usually full of potential fonts and lockups the second I start working on a new project and getting them onto paper helps me define some of the options I really want to explore. Plus, being away from the computer helps me clear my mind and creatively focus in a fresh way. To be completely honest, I’m not a big sketcher. Often, my notebook pages will be composed mostly of lists, like “try this font” and “reference this image.” Sketch, make lists, do whatever suits your style best. Just try to do some part of your creative process away from the computer. Breaking up your routine often yields some of the best, most unexpected results.
4. Presentation with Visual Research
A moodboard (at the top of this post) is more of an arbitrary, outward-facing step I’ve included to show online folks what outside influences inspired me on a particular project. But usually, the visuals I’ve gathered are placed in a section within the first client presentation I deliver called, you guessed it, “Inspiration.” This is beneficial for the client because it can make them more feel more confident of the outcomes when they understand the general reference points. Also, something lurking in the visual inspiration may very well grab their attention. Perhaps they’ll say, “I love the layout of option #4 but the type feels off. Can you modify it to feel more like the type in XYZ?”
5. The Moodboard
I’ve noticed a huge trend lately of designers showing moodboards online of what inspired a particular project. I’ve never shared this part of my process with my readers but am considering making a change the next time I showcase a project. Of course, in my world the inspiration is just a folder of gathered imagery tucked inside the client’s job folder on my hard drive but in an effort to present a so-called organized, methodical look, an example of the visual research I gathered for photographer Sasha Gulish’s identity development is at the top of this post. Looking back, it really did help speed up the design process and aligned perfectly with the colors we’d already been considering.
6. Revise / Review / Redeliver
Once you’ve delivered that first round, it’s time to wait for client feedback, revise the options they liked, perhaps gather even more visual inspiration if they’re feeling a particular direction and send off the second round. Rinse and repeat until complete!
I’ve titled this article Developing a Design Process 01 because I figured that you might have more questions about specifics. If there’s something further you’d like to know about developing a process, please leave a question in the comments!
I’ve been oddly inspired by all things yellow lately. It’s odd because up until a few short years ago, I loathed the color and wouldn’t go anywhere near it. My dad disliked the color when I was growing up and it definitely rubbed off on me! One of the turning points was two years ago when I came across these insanely cool architectural Margiela heels. I told myself that if I wore these blazing lemon beauties with all black, it would be okay…I’d just dip my toes into the pool of yellow. Wearing shoes like this with a monochromatic ensemble really inspired me; they felt like an explanation point at the end of my outfits. I began embracing more things yellow in my wardrobe but the first addition to my house was this light from Schoolhouse. Our all black and white house felt somber and lifeless and I wanted a touch of color for the dining room. Even my dad, a hater of all things yellow helped me pick it out! This goes to prove that it’s good to keep an open mind, even with the tiniest things. Hello, yellow!
1. Yellow Cross in the kitchen, 2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Double Layer Floating Kit Tail Top, 3. My Margiela Heels, 4. “Roma” by Arian Behzadi, 5. 6 Building (source unknown), 6. Fall 2010 A.F. Vandevorst Dress, 7. Pretty Blue Guns & The Revelators Poster by Adam Hill, 8. Those Shoes Again, and 9. Remix Magazine.
Over the weekend, I decided that it was time to order some rubber stamps featuring my branding. I set up vector files for my wordmark and square ‘Nubby Script’ logo but wanted a third option as well (when you’re on a roll with these types of projects, you might as well go all out). I wasn’t exactly sure what the third option should be but then I remembered a really great window installation that Belgian fashion line A.F. Vandevorst had done a few years back. In a way, the logo reminded me of the round stamps that were common at the post office though that is now sadly history. Inspired by A.F. Vandevorst and the old school round post office stamps, I’m working on that third option. The other two custom stamps have been ordered and I’ll be reviewing them on my blog as soon as they arrive! Inspiration is everywhere. It’s all connected.