Ok, so you’ve done your research, investigated your audience, plumed the depths of the brand guidelines and are ready to start a project, now its time to find the design inspiration and that ‘creative spark’. Most projects have a degree of constraint to them, but boundaries are there to be explored, and its an opportunity at the beginning of a project to think with freedom, and invent new and original graphics. A real juggling act to bend the content to fit a new look, but with the flexibility of html 5 and css much is possible.

We are all subject to habits, no more so than on the web, you see trends starting to evolve and soon that is what you are seeing all over the place. Sometimes lead by the underlying technology, but often down to budgets and the speed with which things need to be turned around.

This month I thought I’d share some of my favourite design inspiration givers, books, links, albums … it can come from anywhere, but here are a few that I find myself looking around.


There are many, many place to scan around on the web but I find these two sites a constant source on inspiration.

http://designspiration.net/ – the url says it all really, but what I like about this one is that it covers a number of mediums, be warned its easy to get lost in here for while.

http://www.webbyawards.com/ – The webby awards are great for looking for specific web design categories and interface design, innovative and a more focussed approach.

Books and Magazines

For the ability to just scan and look in a relaxed ‘not in front of the screen’ way I have a couple of favourite design books.

One of then is Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties a massive collection of British graphic design from paperback covers to road signs.

The big player is Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design which defies description as a book, as 500 double sided leaves of beautifully printed design samples, from as a the Gutenberg Bible and Nuremberg Chronicles of the fifteenth century, to the cutting edge magazines, posters and ephemera of today. You can dip into the box and leave on a visual tangent you hadn’t anticipated, or read from beginning to end as an anthology of design … a benchmark for design enthusiasts.

Also for more 3 dimensional and packaging style design 1000 Graphic Elements – Details for Distinctive Designs great if you are thinking more ‘materially’ for print or specific pieces of artwork.

For constant updates on ‘web thinking’ I subscribe to http://www.webdesignermag.co.uk/ and refer to http://www.netmagazine.com/ both great for latest trends and practical application of. If only there was enough time to experiment with all the suggestions.

Album Art

Then there’s the things that you just love and are a visual feast. I love classic album art, one of my favourites being the work of the legendary Peter Saville and a great collection of his work in Factory Records – The Complete Graphic Album. Probably his most classic being the Joy Division Album cover, but many more for New Order, Duritti Column, Happy Mondays and a multitude of posters for Factory Records. Other source of great album art cam from Hipgnosis – with a catalogue of great visuals to choose from including Pink Floyd. I always have a couple of albums up on the wall and at the moment (I just looked) and its Pink Floyd – Meddle and a Susumu Yokomota ep – love it.

Nature and Photography

Its all ‘out there’ for the asking. Just wandering around with you eye tuned in for shades and colours can really start the wheels turning. I make a habit of collecting colours and shapes, abstract forms. Starting to work with organic shapes can really bring originality into design work, and the biggest colour palette of all is sat outside the window.

For pure imagery, aesthetics and imagination – there is the amazing collection of imagery by Magnum Photographers http://www.magnumphotos.com/ and specifically the work of Henri Cartier Bresson to tune in to.


Pinterest – I’ve been storing images on Pinterest for a while, see an image you like ‘pin it’, and is great to go back to for a shot of inspiration later, and following boards that I love … artists, designers, photography, video.

Modern Art

Then there’s always a visit to the Tate or a modern art for pure visual indulgence … and just time to get away and think and walk. Tate Modern and Tate Britain both have had some fantastic exhibitions – Kurt Schwitters at the Tate Britain, and Miro, Yayoi Kusama and Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern have been standout for me.