I have a question for my designer friends out there: where do you look for design inspiration? I don’t just mean inspiration for your client projects either because let’s be honest with each other, there are always those times when you just feel zapped of any and all “good” design ideas for literally anything.
For most people, I guarantee they start and end their search with Pinterest. Some designers may also look at sites like Dribbble or Behance, but I’m curious how many think to actually get off of their computers and look for inspiration. Here’s the truth: there is so much amazing design work out there that you can definitely find some really inspiring work regardless of what your style is online, even if you’re just sticking to Pinterest. However, I bet you’d be amazed at how inspired you’d feel to jump into any design project after taking a look around in offline places.
So today I wanted to share with you guys a few magazines that are serving as amazing design inspiration for me lately as well as a few other places you can look depending on the type of work you’re looking for specifically!
My 3 Favorite Magazines (Based on Design)
First up is the newest of the three, and that’s Whitespace Magazine. Laura Kashner started this magazine earlier this year, and the first issue just came out. Laura’s design style is seriously gorgeous, and the magazine is such a beautiful example of that. I knew the second she announced Whitespace that I’d have to get my hands on it, and when it came in the mail last week I was not disappointed. I absolutely love how, true to the magazine’s name, there’s a lot of whitespace throughout with plenty of room for the imagery to breathe. Not to mention the imagery that was included in this first issue is gorgeous.
While I’m talking so much about Laura’s work, I’ll add that the Belong magazine is also on my list to grab eventually, and that one is also designed by her!
The next two are more traditional magazines, but I’ll talk about Southern Weddings first! The funny thing about supporting small businesses and those that you truly care about it sometimes you buy something from them just to support them. When I picked up my first issue of Southern Weddings back in 2013, that’s exactly the reason I grabbed it. However, when I finally gave myself some time to sit down and start looking through it I really fell in love with the way it’s designed. Yes, it’s a more traditional magazine, but it features a ton of truly amazing imagery and the details in the design are just incredible. For example, I love how they use little monograms to show notes from the SW team throughout some of the content. How fun is that?! Aside from that, even the ads included are simple and beautiful.
Last but certainly not least, I had to include the Magnolia Journal. Like any normal human being I’m slightly obsessed with Chip and Joanna, and of course I even got my husband loving their show, Fixer Upper, so when we finally started finding their magazine locally I didn’t think twice about picking it up. I knew it would be beautiful on the inside, and of course, it was. The way the magazine is designed on the inside is a lot more traditional than the last two, so there’s more of a variety in fonts and the way things are laid out. However, it still feels really well put together and true to the Magnolia brand that the couple has worked so hard to build.
Design inspiration from books
The obvious first place to start here is with design related books. There are so many out there on the market, but my two favorites lately are obviously How to Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone. These books are not only super informative and perfect for any designer refine your process, but holy smokes.. They’re laid out beautifully and the work in them is incredibly inspiring. There are so many designers in both that I’ve looked up to for years, so it’s nice to have some of their work sitting on the shelf to refer to if I’m ever feeling in a rut. They hold a huge variety of design inspiration beyond just branding, like packaging.
Typography Sketchbooks is a perfect book for those who are looking for unique typography inspiration. I grabbed this book a looong time ago, but it still sits on my shelf because it’s fun to look through. I tend to play it a lot safer with type in my designs, but even so, this book is really amazing from front to back and could even give you inspiration for other areas in design in general.
Aside from those, don’t be afraid to pick up other books, especially for their design! I grabbed Emily Ley’s first book Grace, Not Perfection because I was truly interested in reading it, but I found myself inspired by the simple design to it. A lot of celebrity books usually also have a great design to them; for example, I really liked the overall design of Kristin Cavallari’s Balancing in Heels. Heck, my parents even bought me Influence by the Olsen Twins about a million years ago, and that’s one I’d grab for some design inspiration and less the content.
Other places to find design inspiration
Aside from those (probably obvious) places to find inspiration, don’t forget about the actual things around you. I always joke with my husband when we’re out buying things that there are so many products I’m tempted to buy because of the packaging. That doesn’t include the physical packaging that things may come to you in the mail in. For example, I bought a Doddle & Co pacifier for our little lady, and instead of a plain and boring bag, it was sent in this sleek black mailing bag.
I also tend to find design inspiration randomly in the apps that I download. I’m suuuper picky about what apps I use simply because of the design of them; I can’t help it, I’m a designer. I’ll download 4 or 5 versions of the same type of app just to find one that I like the design of. A perfect example of that would be apps for email. I’ve gone through so many, and finally settled on Newton because aside from how it functions it’s one of the prettiest I’ve found.
Where do you find design inspiration?
I know there are an infinite number of places you can find inspiration for design including so many that I haven’t included here, so I’d love to hear from you guys: where do you look for inspiration aside from just Pinterest or online sources? Be sure to share in the comments so I can check them out!