In order to be a great graphic designer, you must possess a certain set of technical skills. Our most popular blog from November 2012 goes into detail of what those skills are, so I won’t re-hash them here. I WILL tell you why you need to find something that inspires you every day, even on the days you aren’t designing. Your inspiration is like a water well – if you don’t keep refilling it, it will dry up.

With the Internet, getting inspired is pretty easy these days. Sites like Pinterest (Gentlemint for the manlier things) and Instagram are full of visuals that can ignite the flame for design.

If you don’t want your eyes glued to a computer screen all day, we can suggest some ‘old-school’ ways of getting inspired.

  • Read a book – authors have a way with words and are better at describing visuals. After your read something descriptive, try and sketch it out so you don’t lose the idea
  • Look at magazines – whether it be design or fashion magazines, there’s tons of visuals in them that we can almost guarantee will spark a flame.
  • Take a walk – if you live in a busy city, or down an old country road, there’s bound to be striking visuals out there. It might be the way the light hits the trees or a particular outfit you see someone wearing, or the architecture of a building you never noticed before.
  • Listen to music – music tends to get people “in the zone.” Put on your favorite tunes and just let your mind wander – you never know where it might lead you. I often come up with my best ideas while daydreaming and listening to music. Music is also a good way to unwind and clear your mind.

We even suggest looking at other designers’ work. We’re certainly not saying to make a replica of everything you see and slap your name on it, because that’s just wrong. But try to pull together various elements and put your own spin on them to make it unique to your work.

It’s also fun to look to the past. Style and fashion had a way of being so elegant, and while we don’t see Victorian era dresses coming back into style, you can find a way to make old and vintage feel new again.

Lastly, and possibly one of the most important pieces of information we have for you: don’t be afraid to fail. There’s always room for error and not everyone is going to love what you create. Take their feedback in strides and work on making it better. Some of your best work will come after your harshest critiques.

So get out there and experience the world around you! Take notes, mental or physical, and use it to your advantage! If you’re not sure where to start and need inspiration for your inspiration, check out our Pinterest and Instagram!

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.