The Blank Canvas and Finding your Inspiration


How many times have you been caught staring at a blank screen or canvas, looking for that spark or that initial push to start brainstorming something unique? I get asked often “How do you find inspiration for your projects?” and sometimes it can be difficult to answer. Inspiration can come from a simple walk outside or if I’m really struggling, I have a few tools that can get the creative juices flowing.

Basic wireframing for an email template
Basic wireframing for an email template

During high school, I remember getting inspired by the simplest of things. I was a lover of photography then and much of my work stems or incorporates photos. Every designer process seems a little different. I find that other designers often start their process with drawing or doodling because that’s often what they originally started out with years ago. Of course I might wireframe if I’m going to work on a website as my road map, or if I’m planning on working on a poster I can rough sketch an idea out or storyboard ideas. Once I have an interesting idea, I’ll start searching imagery to incorporate and build off of the idea.

I use stock photos for inspiration often, but I find my better alternative is searching through flickr or tumblr because it has a more ‘real’ feel to the imagery. Stock photos can plant the idea for me, but they’re often devoid of emotion or feeling. On occasion, I also turn to my own photography or get out there and do something myself if I really feel inspired to work on a new project. I can’t reiterate enough how much inspiration I get from the world around me and my surroundings. A bus ride, hike in a forest, bike ride, or flight somewhere new always opens up my eyes to new experiences and adventures. And after a long and stressful day, I make sure that I give my body the care that it needs, otherwise none of these efforts will come to fruition. Knowledge of common massage myths helps me get the right kind of pampering that suits my needs.

Beyond the outdoors and external world, there are tools on the web that inspire me such as Inspiration Feed, 500px, and most recently Muzli (with a Google Chrome plugin that over-rides new tabs with content!). Learning is also very important to me, and I’m always on the lookout for new blogs and designers writing on Medium.

This post started as a blank canvas. Like any new project, it required a little bit of inspiration.