I think non-designers, and probably aspiring designers in particular, have this glamorous perception of the life of a graphic designer. It’s not all beautiful and inspirational! Sometimes, it feels like pulling teeth to complete (or even start) a project. With deadlines, it can feel like someone walking into your office and saying, “And go! Be creative this very minute.”

Usually, we can pull it off, and that’s because we’ve stockpiled some inspirational pieces in our mind or can reach out and find inspiration. While I think this is an area I need to expand, here are some of my go-to places:


In print:

    How magazine
    Family Fun magazine
    My stash of design books and old college textbooks (like the Idea Index and Color Index, Graphic Design Communications Today)
    My inspirational stash (folder with pieces I’ve collected from travels or junk mail)
    My old college projects (sometimes I’m really impressed with my inexperienced self)

In the environment:

    Library and Barnes & Noble
    Local Needlepoint Store (especially during her football sale where I search through crates of knitting magazines and patterns)
    Museum exhibits
    Trade Shows, like our Home and Garden Show (booths and materials can be inspiring)
    Stores, especially boutique-like stores

My Designer Takeaway: This time I’m asking for help. What sources of inspiration do you love? What’s your go-to place for inspiration?

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