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5 Unusual Ways to Inspire Your Next Project

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    We can’t prove this, but we’re pretty sure even Leonardo da Vinci drew a creativity blank every once in a while. How do we know? Because it happens to everyone, even Italian geniuses.

    But “it happens to everyone” isn’t a viable excuse for missing a deadline. So, the next time you get a little stuck, try one of these five tactics for generating design inspiration on the fly.

    Leverage Brand Heritage

    Working with an older company or product? You’re in luck, because history is on your side. In a constant effort to deliver fresh, modern designs we sometimes forget to tap into the rich history or cool story behind a company or product.

    Tapping into a brand’s history can help you unearth the dynamic stories that will supercharge your imagination. For example, Bacardi shows off their 150-year lifespan by rekindling images of Prohibition era drinking and revelry.

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    Cross Cultural Borders

    Foreign cultures have different food and social norms, but they also have different design sensibilities. From Japanese travel posters to Scandinavian clothing advertisements, turning to different countries and languages can inspire an exotic spectrum of patterns, colors, and subject matter you might not think to use otherwise.

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    Target Your Target Audience

    Looking at different industries that have the same target audience can generate some great ideas. Take Cheerios and Honda for example. Two vastly different products, but both brands target conscientious moms with school-aged children. What can you learn from the fonts, images or color-palettes used to speak to the exact same customer about a very different product?

    Shift Your Perspective

    When you’ve become narrowly focused on a single project, try infusing it with a fresh perspective. Shift your field of view up or down—or pan left and right. You can also shift your perspective by reframing the problem you’re tackling or asking someone else to frame it up.

    Another fun way to challenge your perspective is by visiting the site Oblicard. The website features thought-provoking phrases that encourage artists to think laterally in order to overcome creative blocks.

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    Let the Font Come First

    You may not be able to use this approach for every project, but what if you let the type do the talking? This approach is perfect for everything from album covers to movie posters to wedding invitations and packaging design. First, find or fabricate a font that inspires you and let the rest of the design follow.

    Ready, Set, Create!

    You can’t really force creativity to happen, but you can put yourself in a situation that’s more likely to spark new and innovative ideas. So, the next time you get a little stuck, try one of these tactics!


    Dina Chaiffetz is Head of Product at Brandfolder, a visual platform for organizing and sharing brand assets. Read more design and marketing wisdom on their blog.

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