Graphic Designers and Keeping the Creative Fire Stoked
casually written by Lisa Slagle while listening to a lot of Santigold
I am a freelance graphic designer in Whitefish, Montana. I spend a lot of time working on a computer--- alone, doing awesomely nerdy things like sifting through code looking for a misplaced "]" or kerning a headline to perfection for hours. Some weeks, I spend more time with Adobe Illustrator than with my friends. It happens, that's just the way it goes. Don't get me wrong-- I love graphic design and running my own business. It's the best. Sometimes though, as with all jobs in the creative industry, staying inspired and fresh takes a little bit of effort. So, for all you designers procrastinating on the internet right now, here's my take on stoking the creative fire!
10 WAYS FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS TO FIND INSPIRATION:
1. GO OUTSIDE! Grab a dog, jump in a lake, ride your bike, sit on a chairlift. Hell, just go sit on your front porch or a park bench. This is called Real Life, and it's like a retina display times eight billion. Everything is so three-dimensional.
2. INTERACT WITH REAL HUMAN BEINGS. Eye-to-eye. Let them talk, listen to what they have to say. Soak up some of their stoke. Sometimes graphic designers geek out a little too much, myself included, so it's always important to bounce ideas off others or at least just spend some time with people who see the world differently than you and your computer screen.
3. LISTEN TO MUSIC.
Loudly. Maybe even dance, or at least silently headbang behind your monitor. It's fun. Go ahead, try it.
4. LOOK AT OTHER ART.
Click around on design websites. There is an infinite amount of cool stuff out there to give you new ideas and keep your design current. My favorite is http://www.creativebloq.com
5. DRAW WITH REAL PAPER. AND A PENCIL. OR REAL PAINT.
It's cheaper than therapy, and pretending you're in art school again is good for the soul. I also think fine art makes better designers.
Sometimes I forget to do this, and then my brain shuts down a little.
7. LEARN SOMETHING.
Lynda.com is a great place to learn new techniques within the programs you know and love. Then you'll want to practice your techniques and test out your newfound knowledge.
8. SCARE YOURSELF!
This is where I find inspiration. If you don't know this about me, I'm obsessed with snowboarding. I believe at the core of my soul that inspiration is waterproof-breathable. It can usually be found at the bottom of cliffs or hovering invisibly beyond a jump, or in that quick gap in your chest when your body drops faster than your heart. I think that letting your survival senses kick in every now and then (okay, or at least six times a week) is really good for appreciating your life and keeping inspiration overflowing, but hey, maybe I've just watched Point Break too many times.
9. OBSERVE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Art is everywhere, and planet earth is unbelievable. Have you watched ants as an adult? They're fascinating. Observe people walking down the street. That's always interesting. Appreciate the clouds. Sit on a roof. Climb a tree. Don't talk, just watch. You'll learn something, I promise.
10. TAKE A BREATH AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.
Life is pretty good at Wheelie Creative Design these days. Business is booming, and I feel very fortunate to have many terrific clients right now. My clients are a huge part of why I love my job.
Recently, one of my clients asked me a very interesting question:
What makes a good designer/client relationship?
He had never worked with someone in the creative industry before, and he wanted to make sure he got what he wanted while also respecting my business practices. (This instantly makes him an excellent client to work with.) I thought for a moment, smiled, and delivered my best answer: communication. That's really what it comes down to, not only in design, but all workplaces and relationships. After thinking more thoroughly about his question for a few days, I decided the designer/client relationship is a great topic to write about. I'm a bit biased being on the designer side of the conversation, but here goes:
WHAT MAKES A GOOD DESIGNER/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP:
What do you think? Did I miss anything?
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