Creative Design Inspiration

We all get creative inspiration from different people and places. Some of us love to go to galleries and museums while others are lovers of magazines or stick strictly to online sources. I often get inspired by things I see on the street, an in store display, billboards, bus shelters, and lots from magazines and books. It’s important to keep inspirational fodder close at hand so you can tap into those resources when you’re not feeling so creative. In this article, I’ll share where I like to find some of my creative inspiration and hopefully be able to inspire you.


My first place to start getting ideas is usually Pinterest. Being a designer, I already have multiple boards filled with typography, poster designs, package design, typefaces, illustrations, and colour schemes. So when I am given a project I peruse my existing pins and then if nothing suits my needs I start new searches. With such a broad range of images in one location you’ll find something interesting with just about any search you do.


I tried to convert to an electronic book like the kobo but I like having a book in my hand where I can turn the pages. I love to buy magazines as a treat since they have short articles and lots of visuals. Many magazines have online subscriptions at discounted prices for the same content. Some of my favourite magazines are Communication Arts, Applied Arts, Print, Uppercase (from Calgary!), and HOW Design. These specialize in advertising, graphic design, illustration, visual arts and communication so they always share amazing concepts that were executed brilliantly by industry leaders or rising stars.

The most amazing spot to get all of these magazines in one place is Atlantic News on the corner of Queen and Morris in downtown Halifax. It’s just down the road from the new library. They have the largest selection of design, photography, advertising and arts magazines in the whole city. They also have a huge selection of craft and hobby magazines for those people who love to make things with their hands. It is seriously one of my favourite spots in the city and have been known to spend upwards of an hour perusing all the magazines there.


I love books. I recently moved and got rid of at least four boxes of books but I already want to fill the bookshelf back up with more books about drawing, creativity, and design. Whenever I feel I need a boost I page through a book to get motivated and inspired.

My favourite spot to buy books in the city on design is The Bookmark on Spring Garden. They always have an interesting collection of design and typography books. Although the way book publishing is going, buying online is always a cheaper option. Some of my favourite books from my bookshelf are:

Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico.
This is a collection of sketchbook pages from professional typographers and it is amazing. The type goes from grungy and urban to elegant and beautiful. If you love letterforms and love hand drawn or electronic typography you need this in your collection.
Available at Amazon and Chapters.

Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory.
This is a fantastic collection of letter forms in every style thinkable. The cover is designed by Mary Kate McDevitt (one of my design heroes) and the inside cover page shows a sketch of her process to come up with the cover design. I love everything about this book and it always is able to inspire me.
Available at Amazon and Chapters.

Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, and Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles by Mary Kate McDevitt.
If you love hand lettering and want to know everything about it and master all the different styles, pick up this book. It has step by step lessons on how to practice and create each letterform with tips and tricks from one of today’s most popular designers. It includes the old school pages with lines on them so you can practice right in the pages of the book. I’ll likely use tracing paper with mine though.
Available at Amazon and Chapters.

The Art of Urban Sketching by Gabriel Campanario
I picked this book up as an impulse buy. I wanted some inspiration for sketching and drawing. This sure did check that off the list. It focuses on one style of sketching so if you want a more well rounded book this probably isn’t the one for you but it shares many artists drawings on location of places around that world. Most are done with ink and watercolours. The results are always different but always stunning. There is something about being able to sketch something quickly but still have a beautiful result that is appealing.
Available at Amazon and Chapters.

The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship In Creativity by Nick Bantock
This is Nick’s latest book and is an exploration on creativity. I haven’t gotten very far in my own copy but he never disappoints me with his combination of visually stunning art and beautifully written words.
Available at Amazon and Chapters.

My list could go on but I will leave it at that for this post. Happy exploring and happy creating.


I am a creative addict that loves painting, drawing, illustrating, and hand drawn typography. I am graduating from the NSCC Graphic Design program in May 2014 and will dive head first into a creative career.

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