Category Archives: Inspiration

Research Treasures


I am in the middle of working on Illuminated Text dropcaps for my zine project. I’m loving the whole process of this project… gazillions of thumbnails… roughs more than I imagined I would ever do – all by hand… and I haven’t even hit the computer yet! Eight weeks into the project and I still am not on the computer. That is a first for me.

In the beginning, I loathed the whole idea of “by hand.” It sounded archaic, time consuming and laborious. However, I’ve discovered that it’s taking me back to my roots. It is giving me the opportunity to feel the paper with my fingers, watch the graphite spread across the surface, listen to the gel ink roll out of my pens. It is taking me back to the heart of why I chose into this career path – the opportunity to express myself artistically in all that I create.

In looking for inspiration on my Illuminated Text, I was perusing some blogs on wordpress and discovered there is a “freshly pressed” category for design. Hours later, I realized I hadn’t done a stitch of homework, but I surely do love all the stuff I discovered out there. One of the treasures I discovered was this beautiful company and their incredible products. I thought I would share it here as a way to show that design truly IS everywhere.

Monstrum’s Awesome Playgrounds

And I am inspired!


Steps to Arrive at a Great Design

“One does not simply arrive at a great design, it is developed through hard work.”

Described bellow is the process (though simplified) one must take to arrive at a great design. I am using the examples of 25 year old French designer & typographer, Claire Coullon to show & help explain the process.


Take the time to concept out different approaches to the design problem. In Claire’s case below, she “developed three variations that looked at different extremes between relatively restrained sans serif types and more decorative brush scripts.” This process allows one to focus on the many different solutions to a problem, rather than focusing on the first solution that came to mind. This also points out the vastly important need to have an effective brainstorming session, either with yourself or with other creatives.

Revisions & Adjustments

Now is the time to focus on the solutions that are working the best. These solutions should be the most effective answer to the posed design problem. Claire, “narrowed the logo down to two versions…” I have found at this point, refining your ideas down to the top 2 allows you to shift the focus from different answers, to making those answers better & more effective.

Notice the difference from Claire’s roughs above, to her tight roughs below. She has taken the time to specify what is working and what’s not working. This allows her to see the best & worst of both concepts and refine those into a finished logo.

Final Logo

Notice that Claire’s design was not finished after the tight roughs, it was still refined and tweaked to make it better. By utilizing this simple process of 1.) Development 2.) Revisions & Adjustments 3.) Final Logo a design can arrive at a great design with confidence that the solution presented is the best answer to the design problem. There are many solutions to design problems, however if we learn how others solve problems and use their methods in our design process, we to can help our clients in the best possible way. We can help them not only receive a great design, but we can help them receive an effective design. Design is not simply about creating beautiful things, but about solving our client’s design problems.

See more of Claire’s work on both her portfolio & dribbble page.

A piece of advice

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

– Chuck Close