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Five Sources for Creative Fuel

Authored by: Logan Bingaman, Graphic Designer

As a creative, I am in a never-ending search for creative fuel. A fuel that drives my need to create, whilst expanding my design beyond its comfort zone. This creative fuel, or inspiration, can come from anywhere, any day, at any time. I may notice a unique logo on a bicycle while heading into work on the train.  During a walk through Downtown Dallas, a building structure might spark a resolution for a design challenge with which I’ve been struggling. There isn’t one path that leads to inspiration, nor formula for how one should generate this “creative fuel.” However, I have found some sources that have really spoken to me as an artist. They range from hand lettering Instagram accounts to a global collection of artists that are changing the way people think about music.

GoodType (Instagram, @goodtype)
Goodtype, based out of Austin, Texas, showcases some of the greatest type-based posts on Instagram, in addition to offering a 24-hour challenge every Tuesday – referred to as Goodtype Tuesday. Every post highlights beautiful typography that consists of stellar composition and ingenious creativity from all around the world. I look forward to every post as it fuels my love for typography and allows me to push the type in my designs further and further. The great thing about Goodtype being on Instagram is that I can easily save posts to my collections list via my profile, allowing quick access to inspiration later on.

Type Hike (Instagram, @typehike)
Type Hike is a personal favorite of mine. It was created in 2016 to showcase the National Park Service centennial anniversary. Their belief is that “all designers are obligated to use their talent and ability to make the world a more beautiful place,” a belief I stand behind as an artist. The Instagram account features a wide variety of poster design, type design and abstract design all relating to nature and the national parks found around the United States. The colors and form are exceptional, and a majority of their posts can be found in my inspirational collection on Instagram.

Soulection (Soundcloud, soulection.com)
Music has always been a huge part of my life and helps fuel my creativity when I design. I came across Soulection back in college and fell in love with the music, as well as the culture and lifestyle the collection embodies. Their motto is “The Sound of Tomorrow,” and it perfectly encapsulates everything they are about. The music inspires me to do better and try new things in my art, just as Soulection’s artists do every day with their own music. Seriously, check them out. They cover almost all genres and I am more than confident there is something for everyone on their Soundcloud.

Create & Explore (Instagram, @createandexplore)
Create & Explore is simply amazing. What started as a side project for an artist from the Soulection collective, Ta-Ku, grew into a very influential movement that shows a conversation between mediums from visual to auditory. Every few months, Create & Explore pairs up a beat maker with a photographer/videographer to create a 2-minute long video where the photographer/videographer makes a video based on their interpretation of the song. In between the collaborations, the Instagram account allows a photographer to “take over” the account posting images of their own work over the course of a few weeks. Currently, the Create & Explore website has 10 collaborations to browse through and every single one is truly inspiring.

Chad Michael Studio (Instagram, @chadmichaelstudio)
Words cannot describe how crazy talented this designer is. From his custom typography to the intricate flourishes and designs, his work can easily be spotted amongst a sea of other artists. He works primarily on craft beer and wine labels, but occasionally throws in some crafted one-off projects, such as a deck of playing cards for The Nomad Hotel, a personal favorite of mine. Follow him on Instagram to ignite your inspiration.

Hopefully these five sources of creative fuel can help jump start your creativity. I highly recommend using the collections tool on Instagram to help organize and keep track of liked posts – it makes for easier access when collecting inspiration. As stated before, inspiration can come from anywhere. Many times, you don’t find the solution for a logo by browsing 100s of logos, nor come up with your next great identity project by searching other brands. What can help you is building up an arsenal of inspiration that includes collections of icons, fonts, photography and music, that are at your disposal. This especially comes in handy in a creative rut.