Thinking about putting together a portfolio to present to potential clients while having zero inspiration? Already got a client, but now you have no fresh ideas for the job? Or maybe you are a total newbie in design, but you want to start somewhere?
Don’t worry; in this article, you’ll find 5 ways (and a few extra tips!) to get creative ideas for design that will make your life easier.
Tap the Vein of Creativity
Creativity and inspiration are not always a given, but they’re still very needed when it comes to working as a designer. Sometimes creative blocks happen when we really don’t have the time to stare at the screen all day long, waiting for inspiration to strike.
In those cases, it is always more productive to start researching a bit in order to stay motivated. In my industry, we call it “pulling scrap.”
But where you can get creative ideas for design will heavily depend on what kind of design you have in mind:
1. Feeling Typographic
Are you looking for ideas on typography? Then Fonts in Use and Dafont are your best friends. These websites keep in touch with the current fashion in typography and will offer you examples of all kinds of fonts that you can use in completely different projects.
Fonts In Use explains itself: “it is a public archive of typography indexed by typeface, format, industry, and period. Designers use the site for project research, type selection, and pairing, and discovering new ways to choose and use fonts.”
If you need some help with typography and poster design, these six articles will help:
- Top 7 Fonts Used in Drama Movie Posters
- Top 5 Fonts Used in Science Fiction Movie Posters
- Top 7 Fonts Used in Romance Movie Posters
- Top 5 Fonts Used in Horror Movie Posters
- Top 5 Fonts Used in Comedy Movie Posters
- Top 10 Fonts Used in Action Movie Posters
2. Potent Posters
Online collections will not only show you the design for movie posters that you already know and love but will also exhibit a lot of posters you probably have never seen before, giving you access to a whole range of ideas that you previously couldn’t even consider.
If you’re thinking specifically of vector illustrations, FreePik, DrawKit, and Icons8 offer many ideas and designs that you can even possibly use for free.
Or, if you want to step up your game, Envato has a cheap yearly subscription with royalty-free vector designs and photographic images. I use them a lot, and you can see some of the designs I’I’vereated on my YouTube channel, Poster Grind.
Often vector illustrations are a good base for motion graphics, and animation can always make your design more dynamic and fun.
If you are not already a member of the Adobe Creative Suite, then I highly suggest you get signed up as they have design software like Photoshop and Premiere to satisfy your video needs.
4. Mixed Bag
Are you curious about a bit of everything? Then you can always scroll down on Pinterest and Designspiration. Photography, drawing, interior design, typography, packaging, fan art… these websites have it all.
It is always easier to come up with your own ideas after diving deep into a world of creativity, so go ahead!
5. Branded Bangers
When thinking of brand identity, logo and packaging design, or even of creating a website, it is always a good idea to review the basics: choose the first five big brands that come to mind, and check their websites to see what they are doing design-wise (after all, they didn’t get to be the biggest in the market out of chance).
But watch out! Knowing where to look only solves half of the problem. It is also essential to understand how to look when researching creative works.
Now, this may sound a little counterintuitive, but you should never look up what you are looking for. How come? Well, if, for example, you need to draw a boat for your design, it is best if you abstain from looking up pictures of a boat for reference.
Simple: because that way, you limit yourself too much, and you are bound to end up copying someone else’s work instead of developing your own style.
To avoid that, the best thing you can possibly do is to look for other things that may be useful for you; for example, you can look for drawing styles for inspiration and then try to draw your boat in one of those.
Are you struggling with the concept behind your design?
Sometimes as a designer, you won’t be working alone. You’ll have to communicate unfinished creative ideas to colleagues or clients, which can be hard to do.
On the one hand, if you pitch your idea orally, the others may imagine something very different from what you see in your head, and they might not really like it; on the other hand, you cannot waste a lot of time designing a final product that may or may not be adequate to what the team is looking for.
How do you best present your underdeveloped ideas to both yourself and your audience? By creating a mood board!
A mood board (or inspiration board or scrap board) is basically a physical or digital collage that represents the general vibe of the design you have in mind: it can show objects you want to include, textures you want to use, color palettes, a certain font that you find appropriate for the project, etc.
This technique will help you visualize your own ideas better, saving you time and energy when approaching a new challenge.
Both in mood boards and in final designs, it is also advisable to establish a few boundaries: choose a limited color palette, try pairing only two fonts, or decide from the start what percentage of the final image the negative space of your design will occupy.
Limiting the options in your toolbox will allow you to experiment with different ideas without getting too sidetracked from your original goal.
You have tried everything and nothing worked?!
It may happen that the most committed internet research, the wildest brainstorms, and the prettiest mood boards still don’t fully allow you to give shape to your creative ideas for design.
Despair not! ThThere’still one more resource to try: just as you would if you were trying to find the motivation to exercise, the relaxation to sleep better, or help to learn a language, go ahead and download an app!
This tool will guide you through brainstorming sessions with random creativity prompts that help inspire new ideas and overcome creative blocks.
It is easy to use, and it has fantastic reviews. The makers of the app invite you to “b” ost your creativity every day by scheduling up to three “daily spark cards,” downloading free workouts, journals, and templates, and sharing your cards with friends, family, and colleagues.”
The name of the app is pretty self-explanatory; the idea is to help you stop feeling stuck in complex challenges.
Through peer coaching, by providing structure, suggesting helpful coaching questions, and guiding you toward new perspectives and insights that will help you overcome whatever challenges you’re facing.
Sometimes you cannot get out of your block on your own, so having a two-person coaching session can be more than productive.
This is a note-taking and brainstorming app that will help you not only capture your ideas, your expressive writing, and your sketches but also reorganize them. The difference with paper is that here you can literally move your thoughts around until they take the right shape.
Most of all, try not to get discouraged. Remember why you chose the design in the first place! This is a fun and incredible journey, even when it has a few bumps in the road. So relax, explore, try these options out, and great ideas will come to you!
And if you want to get into the movie poster design industry, you may want to increase your poster design skills. The cool thing is that we are currently producing an online educational series devoted to poster design. I suggest signing up for our newsletter, as subscribers will be the first to be notified.
In the meantime, check out these popular posts!