Design is visual in nature. I’ve mentioned before it’s a good idea, if you’re looking to learn some basics of design or if you’re a designer looking to keep creativity flowing, to collect clippings of ads and images that strike you as interesting, impactful or otherwise desirable.
However, just stuffing them in a folder sometimes isn’t enough. Sometimes those pieces by themselves are like small puzzle pieces – you can’t see the whole of the idea your mind has been gathering until all of them are put together. For that, you need a large empty space.
I recommend a wall.
By pinning/taping/sticky stuff-ing your inspirations pieces to a wall you create a collage of all the things important visually. The wall can become malleable, shifting as you remove or add more pieces. It’s a great place to go when you’re hitting a creative brick wall or contemplating a new marketing campaign.
The information over-load can also serve to show you which of your ideal designs still stand out in a crowd of the best-of-the-best so you can also learn what techniques will help you stand out against competition.
If you haven’t started, go out and buy a bunch of magazines, newspapers and trade journals and start clipping. Print out web ads that impress you. Start pinning up everything – ideally almost nothing from your industry at all, so you’re not prone to just copy-cat a competitor.
Inspiration pieces may seem like a lot of work for no apparent gain at first, but the more you develop and hone yours the more you will rely on it for creating great designs.