DEAR MANMAN: Inspiration Treasure Trove


DEAR MANMAN: Inspiration Treasure Trove

Dear MANMAN, I’m a graphic designer and I’m always interested in where other designers get their inspiration. What are your secret go-to places? 

Oooh, fun question! This week I’m headed to Denver for a package design project…so I’ll be utilizing alllll the inspos I can!

Instagram: This is my FAVE, FAVE, FAVE place right now. It is HAWT with tons of cutting-edge design from all realms, including fashion, interior, graphic, photography, architecture and much more! I can’t get enough! (Follow me @themanmans + check out these recent finds: @balderthanyou (watch for a future interview with her!), @austin.w.foote, @joncontino, @theunknotting, @michelletakeaim),

Pinterest: I know it’s cliche, but for me it’s still one of the best places to search for and browse specific styles, etc. As my buddy Jeff Winkle told me, “Pinterest is just so easy to organize for reference/inspiration and you can follow one linked photo to another” to another until it feels a lot like Alice falling down the rabbit hole (in a good way)!

Stock Sites: You might not believe this, but I actually find some stock sites really inspiring, especially Shutterstock and Stocksy (Getty is great too, but too expensive imo). Stocksy’s imagery is phenomenal, and Shutterstock has some really great vectors that come in handy!

Architecture: I’ve always loved architecture and interior design, but not until I started renovating my own 1890 Victorian (@1890brickyhouse) did I discover just how vast this love affair could be. Now I notice every house I see (in my neighborhood and when traveling), plus I follow tons of architectural/interior designer peeps on IG and Pinterest (here are a few of my faves: @nest.out.west, @thejungalow, @homepolish, @archi_ologie).

Humans: I’m also really inspired by all my people … & you! Just hanging out with other creatives and having deep conversations with real, live human beings gets my creative juices flowing. I’m suddenly inspired to keep going, to try harder, to get back to my computer and make some cool shit.

Art (in any form): There’s nothing like experiencing other forms of art in person. It can be anything really… 21c Museum Hotels, the theater, BLINK light show, etc. I just love being around art and seeing other people enjoy art. In my opinion, it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Travel: I’m really fortunate that I get to travel a lot for work, and the more I do it, the more inspired I am. Just seeing different cultures and lifestyles in different cities, yet also how alike we all are as humans. I love walking around their neighborhoods to get a feel for what it’s really like to live there. And I’ve written about why I love Airbnb so much for similar reasons.

Music: I listen to most of my music through Spotify. I love my Discover Weekly, exchanging music with friends, and finding new and different bands to be obsessed with. I intentionally choose specific music to listen to while I design, depending on the style and type of design I’m doing. It makes a huge difference!!

Podcasts/Audible Books: I love to learn (as I’ve written about before). Podcasts and Audio books are two of the ways I get that education piece into my life right now. I can listen while I’m working (sometimes), but most often I listen when I’m driving somewhere or flying. Current podcast favorites are: Dear Sugars, Stuff Mom Never Told You, LORE, & RadioLab.

These are just my favorites… Check out how some of my friends get inspiration:

  • Getting outside, into nature
  • Learning about developments in my industry (blog posts, conferences, etc.)
  • Reading books
  • Exercising—at the gym or just taking a walk around the block
  • Looking through old photos
  • Going on a photo adventure
  • Going somewhere new or try something you’ve never done before
  • Writing in a journal

Let me know what works for you!