Categories / Inspiration

Design Advice from the Most Unexpected Places

Kevin Whipps March 31, 2021 · 5 min read
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Advice. It’s one of those things that when you need it, you often can’t find it, and when you don’t want any, it comes flooding your direction. But the thing is, we all need a little help at one point or another, and if you do go seeking out some tips and tricks, you’ve got to know where to go. Now you can look at this a few different ways, but to me, “advice” is synonymous with “inspiration.” When I see something inspiring, I take something away from it that I can use in my work. It may not be exactly advice, but it certainly helps me when I need it. Plus, some places offer literal advice and inspiration, giving you a double dose of goodness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Social Media

nobody cool is on facebook anymore OK sure, Barney might be right, but somehow we’re all still on Facebook, and that means that people are sending us advice whether we want it or not. sarcastic yay But, there are some legit things on social media that can both inspire you and literally give you advice. For example, I use Pinterest to not only collect amazing bits of design that inspire me, but I also make secret boards that I share with other designer friends. Then we communicate back and forth about said ideas, and that helps out a ton. It’s similar for me on Tumblr (minus the secret part), too. As for Twitter and Facebook, both of those are more people-oriented, so sometimes I will reach out and ask for help. Whenever I need a font identified, I send out a smoke signal to my social circle and see what comes back. Same with tips on software, or anything else. Sure, we can all complain about social media and its ills on society, but there can be good that comes of it, as it is for me in this case.

Architecture Blogs And Magazines

blogging Every week I do some digging around the web for Creative Market, and when I do, I inevitably find myself on an architecture blog or two. Now it seems counter-intuitive that design advice related to pushing pixels would come from a site dedicated to the structures we live and work in, but there’s some good stuff there. It all comes down to some common sense ideas about design in general, and sometimes just looking at cool buildings can push you forward. One of my favorites is Dezeen. Tell me that looking at one of those cool geometric works of arts doesn’t make you want to design something just as rad.

Your Inbox

email For the most part, email sucks. It’s where you find out whether or not the person on the other end is human or not, and what their feelings are about emojis and acronyms. But one good thing can come from your email, and that’s newsletters. Yes, I know, some of them can be annoying (but not ours!). But if you subscribe to the right ones, you’re golden. The best part of it all is that you get all of those nuggets of wisdom delivered right to your inbox, and you don’t even have to leave your house. Speaking of …

Nature

nature Look, we all know that going outside is good for those of us who like to hole up in our offices, slapping away at the keyboard and trackpad. It can provide much needed inspiration, and that’s always a good thing. Just changing our environments at all can give you a different perspective on things. For example, I live in Arizona, which is a desert filled with cacti, rattlesnakes, and baby boomers nearing retirement age, so I deal with a lot of things that are old and dusty on a regular basis. emma stone ooh burn Last year I went on a trip with the family to Portland, Oregon in the fall, and man did the creative juices get flowing. Not only did I write a ton on that trip, but I also designed a bunch of cool things, all because I was inspired by my surroundings. Get out of the house, folks, it’s good for you.

The Web

yay internet I suppose this is obvious, but the Internet is chock full of advice. Whether or not you want it or not (or if it’s valuable) is a matter of opinion. But here’s the thing: there are tons of design blogs like this one, and they’re all about the good tips. How Design, for example, has some awesome stuff to dig through, and there’s always Design School at Canva, which always is packed with good tips to learn. Got some more sites filled with good advice? Let me know in the comments.

Movies, Netflix, and YouTube

yay netflix When in doubt, hit the web, right? If I ever need to find out how to do something, I can usually find it through a combination of Google-fu and YouTube hunting. But did you ever think to comb through Netflix for design advice? Turns out they have a wealth of info out there, including the movies Exit Through the Gift Shop, Art & Copy, and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. They’re not all perfect for advice, but again, learning about your profession is never a bad thing. And, should you run out of resources on Netflix, check out Designers:Watch. It’s an excellent source of videos that all designers should check out, and they even provide links to their various locations. Good stuff.

Now Get Out There!

So are you excited yet to find some more tips and tricks from the pros in the field? You should be, because I am — and I’ve already used some of these myself. Now go out into the world to create new things! adventure is out there
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Kevin Whipps

Hi! My name is Kevin Whipps, and I'm a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working taking pictures of old cars and trucks, I'm either writing articles for Creative Market or hawking stickers at Whipps Sticker Co.

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