I often encourage strategists and designers to hold on to design material that inspires them or may help as reference on future projects. Tags, invitations, clippings, packages, annual reports…they are all valuable resources. I try to collect stuff from every project I work on and then add it to the pile. This inspiration can come from literally anywhere, so it helps if your eyes are always on the lookout. I still find that magazines are one of the easiest and best ways to get a quick view of the world.
Magazines are relatively cheap and flimsy, so you don’t feel bad ripping out their pages. Most importantly, new issues come out every month, enabling them to capture the cultural and visual feel of the moment. New ad campaigns, new products, points of view and color trends, photographic styles, typefaces — these can all be found in a single issue.
I know, I know. There’s a thing called the World Wide Web out there. I’ve heard of it, and I am an avid user. Google Images, Flickr, FFFFOUND, siteinspire, The Dieline. And they are updated several times a day, if not up-to-the-minute. There are a million sites out there, and they’re all valuable.
However, there is something invaluable about discovering material on your own, rather than having it curated for you and meant to be viewed by thousands, sometimes millions, of people. Not exactly personal, eh? I guarantee you that if ten designers picked up the same magazine and ripped out five pages, everyone would have a different take. That is powerful.
It is important to have inspiration that speaks to you. You get to decide what’s important, what is good and bad design, what is truly inspiring. You get to judge a logo in its natural habitat, and a typeface in use, a color palette from an unexpected place.
Of course, everyone finds different things inspiring. Here are some clippings I’ve had for years that I keep coming back to from project-to-project:
Click on the pictures to view the sideshow, then click the arrows that appear to the left and right of each slide.