Inspiration: how do you get yours?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by YS2003, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. YS2003 macrumors 68020


    Dec 24, 2004
    Finally I have arrived.....
    I use CS2/MX2004/Corel PainterIX as my "hobby." At work, I make my own presentation/marketing materials (I am a control freak on what I do) for my work using those software programs. Also, I feel that the effective and productive communication to customers and any other human being need good "design" to augment the "message" you need to convey to your audience.
    I carry P&S Canon at all times in my brief case just in case I need to take a shot (I take my Canon D30 for planned photo shooting events/trips).
    I am not trained as a graphic designer nor do I practice as such (I studied and majored/minored in Journalism, public relations, and marketing when I was in college and I am in the sales and marketing for the service industry).
    How do you get your design "inspiration?" Do you get it while you take a quite walk in the early AM or in the evening? In a class you are attending? From other artists? Or, somewhere else (as I think that would be the case)? I am interested in hearing about this from the graphic designers.
  2. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ

    a song, a book, a movie, another designer.....

    its hard to describe i guess, i just see things, and visually start layouts in my head.
  3. vectormasked macrumors member


    Sep 3, 2006
    Somewhere in Canada
    IMO this is the question that has no answer.

    Everybody works in different ways. The key is to find that comfortable place and time where we tend to be creatively more productive.

    Personally I do my best work after midnight. I tend to come up with the craziest and most original ideas when I work from home while drinking beer or coke at around 3 am. I'd say that my creative part day is between 12am and noon. The bad thing about all this is that I work full time so I can't really create the same kind of work at my job. I even sometimes try to stay at work after 10pm just so that I can see my work with different eyes.

    As to inspiration, it comes from anywhere. When I am stuck I just flip through annual reports or design magazines and this helps me figure out what I shouldn't do. Kinda opposite to what other people do which is look at magazines to borrow ideas. I look at magazines to get rid of the useless ideas I have in my mind for a particular project.

    Other things I do to get creative is to try to be alone or to try to isolate myself for a little while. It truly helps me think clearer. This could be to leave my desk and go out for a coffee or go to the meeting room with a notebook and pen or if I am at home maybe take a long bath.

    I also try to stay current with what's going on in the design "world". Early in the morning I check my email and visit design portals to see what's up and look at new sites and stuff.

    And of course other things help like talking to people, taking photographs, drawing, exercising, getting away from the computer every now and then, etc...
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Imminent deadlines tend to stimulate the imagination. My best work seems to be always done with just a few hours to go; the worst, things that have been fussed over.

    Commuting and bedtime gives me time to think things over but I don't look at design books or other websites. Much of what I do is fairly prosaic but what I do have to is often creatively demanding as it means often communicating fairly abstract and academical ideas.
  5. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    the person Im doing the work for :)

    Other than that its just ideas that pop in my head when I see/hear/touch things.

    I normally work better at night and nearer a deadline, I was told that I'm some sort of adrenaline junky when I was uni :rolleyes:
  6. POHeerwig macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2006
    A couple of days ago, I had a diagram that was driving me bonkers...
    I printed out 3 copies and handed them out to the folks in my office as a 'test for their imagination'. I gave them 5 minutes to come up with an original way to make it 'flow' better. I did get one back that was pretty different & though I didn't use did serve as inspiration!
  7. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    Inspiration comes with continually practicing and honing your skill in your particular trade. In the case you need a jumpstart, smoking a freshly rolled blunt will help.*

    Think of an idea, change it a bit, use stuff that interests you and combine them in interesting ways. Experiment. Once you're on a roll, the ideas will come pouring out. That's one of the tips writers use to overcome writer's block. Just write, even if you don't use the material... sooner or later fresh inspiration will present itself. :)

    * May be illegal in your jurisdiction. Please check your local laws before consumption of mind-altering substances.
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    My kinda gal.
  9. Zimmy macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    My inspiration comes from what feel.. being a bit angry at the world my designs tend to be more sharp/goth/darker then if i am in a kinda why does the world hate me tends to bring out a more white and space into it..

    crazy i tends to help me alot when trying to come up with something.

  10. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    Under extreme stress I get most of mine for physics/maths stuff.

    Artistically it's been a while and it varied time to time, sometimes i'd just daydream and it would pop out of no where, I tend to multitask allot so sometimes I'll just do one or two things while letting my mind wonder, it all falls out of life experience.

    My best artwork was done after wondering london for a few hours.
  11. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2006
    Like someone said earlier, I do my best work when I'm stressed and on a deadline.

    I'm not a professional designer or anything; for me, it's for everything. Some of my best projects for school we done the night before, when I was up until 1 AM.
  12. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    I just faff around wondering what to do then when I least expect it something just pops in from nowhere. It's a bit like staring at ashes, suddenly a really detailed image will materialise.
  13. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    i think of something i wanna do, and 'just do it' (copyright*)

  14. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I work under tight deadlines too. That does help. I get inspired in the shower a lot though, when I'm not really thinking about anything in particular.

    Another thing I try not to do is control the design too much. If you let go of your ego and try not to force a design, it'll reveal itself to you. In other words, I like to create using happy accidents. Play until something looks good to you, even if it's not the idea you first had in your head that you really wanted. When I let go like that is when I do well.
  15. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Feb 24, 2004
    I'm with you on this one. Night time seems like a more relaxed environment to work in.
  16. Nym macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2006
    Porto, Portugal
    LMAO! :D

    Anyway, I usually get the inspiration from thinking of the most "normal, serious, elaborated" idea one could use to achieve a goal and then... turn it around! It usually works, seriously, when you're blanked on a project and you don't know where to go, think of the most far-fetched and ridiculous idea you can come up with (related to the job at hand of course), because it's that idea that probably no one has already thought out yet, at least in your class, or workplace or whatever.
    I guess the worst thing you can do is just make what people are already used to seeing.

    Think different right? or is that just for Apple? eheh.
  17. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I don't get inspired by much external sources. I just find sitting on the bus (which I've taken every day for the past 5 years taking 2 hours) listening to some music does wonders.

    Dare I say, but when I made the original Satan Sam I was also listening to Don't Forget me by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The line "Snow falls up from underneath your feet" inspired me to come up with a physics engine capable of reversing weather and particle effects.

    The bus gets my vote.

    Hah yup. Can relate to that. During the day time I just float around existing in the house, come midnight I'm banging out a new tune in Logic whilst writing my essays and trying to get some drawing together on my tablet. Pity it only happens for about 3 hours in a day :eek:
  18. kitki83 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I get my creativity from doodling on a piece of paper just anything. Then refine it then put it on the computer, then research colors, effects, etc.

    Another source for me is looking through magazines either design or not, and look at pieces. Especially for non designing magazines I look at the grid layout for it and see how it flows.

    And of course last but not least my diary of junk and ideas. Almost done with 2006 journal ready to start on 2007 diary. Seriosly every designer needs to have one at all times.
  19. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    I get some of my better ideas just when I'm dozing off. I might have spent all day trying to come up with a halfway decent idea and failed miserably, but once my conscious mind starts to switch off sometimes something unexpected and quite cool will pop into my head. The key of course is to get up and write it down straight away, because otherwise you're liable to have forgotten it by morning... ;)
  20. idiwa macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow. UK
    As others have said its all around you. I also tend to walk around with a small digicam just to grab shots of interesting things (I also have a small A5 sketchbook with me). Digitally I have a huge folder full of stuff that I have seen online. If i see something cool I grab a shot of it, book mark it and then dump it into the image bank. Same goes for physical stuff. If I see something in a magazine I hack it out (I've started to dump mags when i am done with them, i tend to hoard way too much stuff) or if its a book i Xerox what ever it is that I like and then add them all to big boxfiles I have.

    If i do have a slow day where I just cant get inspired, I tend to sit and sketch, let my mind open and not try too hard, and in the background I have Adobe Bridge or the apple OS X image screen saver going thru the big folder of cool inspirational stuff. Or just sit with a cuppa coffee, go thru some of the box files and listen to an album ive not heard in a while.

    Deadlines: Again I tend to work better when i have a gun to my makes the creative juices (and adrenaline) kick in.

    I'm in my final year at art school in the UK so I also tend to hang out with friends who are into similar things and we bounce ideas of each other... but also just going for a game of pool, taking a long walk with the ipod on can make ideas come more freely. This is why the sketch book is vital. The amount of times I think of stuff when im out with friends and by the time I get back to my desk its gone. Another vote for nigh time working too. I tend to have less distractions and can focus more.

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