Three Reasons for Feeding Yourself Great Designs

By / Jan 18, 2011 / Tips
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If you want to be a better designer, then you should feed yourself great designs. Forehead-slapping common sense, right? Yet some designers downplay the importance of consuming and getting inspired by great designs. Yet there are 3 reasons why you need to feed yourself great designs.

Designers that think influence and constantly exposing yourself to great designs isn’t that important tend to believe that brilliant work comes from within and that it can be turned on at will. But as creative block—which gets the best of us—shows, creativity is a finicky beast. And a lot of outside factors subconsciously dictate how and when your best designs are created. Therefore, it’s important that you feed yourself great designs. It’s what can help inspire your best design work—whether for yourself or for your clients—as well as keep you going during the creative down periods.

Without further ado, here are 3 reasons why you need to feed yourself great designs:

1. Good Goes In, Good Comes Out

Think of your design work as a body: when good design inspiration comes in, good work comes out. It’s similar to your body where when good ingredients come in, a good body and day comes out. You’re more energized, better rested and alert, healthier, stronger, and so forth.

It’s no different with your design work. Creativity is a ridiculously fragile thing – when you feed it anything but the best inspiration, your output quickly plummets. You really can’t be messing with it. Think about it: after watching some mediocre show or browsing through fairly average blogs or listening to safe-and-nothing-special music, did you get really excited and have inspired ideas start running through your head? The answer is probably ‘no’, and with good reason – bad ingredients went in, so it’s only natural that mediocre work would come out if you attempted to design afterwards.

Keep your design creativity in tip-top shape. Healthy, strong, alert, energized. By feeding yourself great designs, you increase your chances of also creating great designs. Good goes in, good comes out.

2. Get an Energetic Jolt During Uninspired Moments

Creative block happens to the best of us. Minimize it by feeding yourself some great designs. You’ll then get an energetic jolt. Perfect for those uninspired moments when you can’t seem to come up with any cool designs – or if you have to force yourself really hard just to finish an existing design project.

If you live in a city with some great public art, architecture, or museums or shops nearby, you can take a break and simply walk around outside. You’ll come back to your computer re-energized. Or you can flip through some design magazines, or browse some design showcase websites. Or do whatever that’ll expose you to some great, inspiring designs. But get away from your design work in order to feed yourself these designs. Even if just for a bit.

The energetic jolt you’ll get can help inspire you, and you can come back to your design work filled with creative energy and ideas.

3. Keep Yourself Going Longer Creatively

Creativity is like a sprint runner – inspiration usually happens in spurts for most. But by constantly feeding yourself great designs, you can help make your creativity more like a marathon runner so that you can keep yourself going longer creatively.

Now, that doesn’t mean being like a robot that never stops creating or being inspired. That’s simply not possible – plus, not many would really want that, anyway. No, keeping yourself going longer creatively just means that you can minimize the uninspired down times and extend your creative designing times. In other words, keep yourself going in the zone longer – when you’re inspired and your ideas and work is flowing.

Similar to #2, you’re not only shortening the uninspired moments but by extension helping yourself be inspired more often. The higher frequency of inspiration can help you keep designing in the zone for longer periods of time. You’ll have so many ideas, or you’ll be energized by some many great designs you just saw earlier.

Feed Yourself Great Designs

Again, you might be thinking this is forehead-slapping common sense. Of course you should feed yourself great designs rather than mediocre ones, and by doing so more frequently you’ll be inspired and in the creative zone more often, right? Yet it’s easy to forget the most simple of things and succumb to wasting hours on YouTube or playing games when you’re uninspired and feel like procrastinating on your latest design project. When all it could’ve taken to get you back on track is a little bit of time with a great design magazine, or a brief walk around town, or anything where you expose yourself to great designs.

Rinse and repeat, and you’ll help yourself be a better designer and create inspired designs more frequently.

Hopefully you now see how important feeding yourself great designs is. It’s not just for pleasure, or something to do to pass the time, or influence to take lightly – it’s what can help keep your creative engine well-oiled and fueled so you can run better and longer with your design work.

To recap, here are the 3 reasons why you need to feed yourself great designs:

  1. Good goes in, good comes out
  2. Get an energetic jolt during uninspired moments
  3. Keep yourself going longer creatively

Now get out there and start feeding yourself all sorts of great designs.

How have you been feeding yourself great designs? What are some of your favorite sources of inspiration, especially outside of web and visual design?

About the Author

Oleg Mokhov is the world’s most mobile electronic musician, web and visual design enthusiast, and co-founder of BlueRize, the energizing internet radio and electronic music label.

About the Author

Oleg Mokhov is the world's most mobile electronic musician and co-founder of the premium royalty free music store Soundtrackster.

15 Comments

  1. wik
    January 18, 2011

    Very nice post, well put. Its a pitty where some designers may have potential but do not look around for inspiration. Refreshing your mind often is a must to keep your creativity level at a high, good inspiration is like a natural high or more like an unexplainable feeling you will know when you feel it. I also think that this concept does not only work for design but for any type of art and artist.

    on the whole .. great post Oleg!

    Reply
  2. Angelee
    January 18, 2011

    Being artistic runs in the blood, it is in a DNA that works for the senses to see beauty beyond what’s ruined. WDL is one of my favorite sources of feeding myself anything inspiring. In the real world, I’m playing with my dslr…

    Reply
  3. Anthony
    January 18, 2011

    I’d agree more if the design of your wording didn’t have a major typo! :P Youve missed out the headline ’2′.

    But on a serious note, I completely agree. I am always feeding myself inspiration.

    Reply
  4. Chris – Designer
    January 18, 2011

    Viewing good design inspires me to do something great with my projects. Although being inspired should not translate into plagiarism!

    Reply
  5. Jamal Nichols
    January 18, 2011

    Oleg always posts good stuff

    Reply
  6. Vlad
    January 18, 2011

    typo. reasons numbered wrong, 1 then 3 and 3.

    Reply
    • Henry Jones
      January 18, 2011

      Fixed. Thanks for catching that.

      Reply
  7. Rob
    January 18, 2011

    I thrive on this – I know that I need a constant influx of creative inspiration. I love the point about minimizing un-creative times – they kill productivity and drain your energy.

    BTW – you have two #3s in your post.

    Reply
  8. Bryan
    January 18, 2011

    Thanks! I always get hit by that time where I am just totally uninspired. I never thought of looking for inspirations through looking for designs by others. yeah Im a noob. Great post! :)

    Reply
  9. Graphic Designer Sydney
    January 18, 2011

    Agree, agree! Would love to see some resources on how/where we can regularly feed ourselves with great designs. Next blog perhaps?

    Reply
  10. Roxanne Ready
    January 18, 2011

    Grest post! I find it funny that I need inspiration to go out and get inspired, but that’s what this post did for me. Now the next question is, as someone relatively new to this space, where do I find some really good design showcase websites? Does anyone have a favorite or two to suggest?

    Reply
  11. Patrick
    January 19, 2011

    Even Paul McCartney said that when he was in The Beatles he’d search for inspiration in other media as well as pop music. Great design, great art- great begets great.

    Reply
  12. Johan
    January 21, 2011

    Awesome post, inspiration is so important. Sometimes you need to remind yourself :)

    Reply
  13. Barry
    January 21, 2011

    Just as food for an athlete, the mind requires good stuff, so yes, you hit this right on.

    Reply
  14. Fresh
    January 23, 2011

    Well, you’re going to put into action (i.e. design) what you’re used to seeing. That’s why you need to feed yourself good designs. Lets face it, if you eat rubbish, your body isn’t going to be so happy – and the same with design. Feed your brain with good work and you’ll create good work!

    Reply

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