One of the things I learned in college was keeping folders of inspiration. Before the Internet, during the dark ages when you couldn’t find anything you wanted at your fingertips in a split second, I kept a filing cabinet of inspiration. Everything I ever saw in a magazine that was of interest to me, I pulled out, labeled and shoved in its corresponding folder. Now with the beloved ‘net, I still do that, but on a much smaller scale. I now keep three-ring-binders of inspiration. Anything design-wise that strikes my fancy, I drop into a folder on my desktop labeled “scrapbook” and every month or so, I assemble them on pages, print them out and put them in my binder.

You’ll notice that just on these pages, we have: a book cover, a soccer ball, a wreath made of wire, logos, illustrations, a beer ad, graffiti, music posters, a pair of shoes, a web banner, etc., etc. Sometimes I’ll forget I liked something and I put it in there already, so I’ll have duplicates. I don’t berate myself. I like to that I liked it so much I put it in there twice. Like this crazy-ornate calligraphic letter (I think it’s an F).

Or this delightful Coca-Cola ad.

And even that freakin’ wallpaper I keep complaining about in commercials and music videos.

Now, if anybody thinks I use this for plagiarism, they aren’t really correct. What I do is when I am asked to create a design project and I’m not quite sure how to approach it, I ask myself, “Well, what am I trying to evoke in the viewer? Do I want them to feel a charming whimsy, or do I want it to feel like strong and powerful, or mystical and underwater, or bleak and sparse…?” Then I go through my scrapbooks and Post-It tag all the pictures that make me feel that way, and I assess why. I take those elements and incorporate it into my own project and hopefully I get the response I want. I use it as a starting-off point when I’m a bit stumped. And if you do anything like me, whether it is drawing or painting or designing or collage or embroidery or whatever, I highly recommend creating one of these for yourself. It takes that stress out of the beginning of the project.

One Response to “Scrapbook.”

  1. […] CMO) has grown weary of it. He asked me to redesign it, so I promptly starting rummaging through my research books. A while back I saw an article called “Cutthroat Capitalism” in Wired Magazine and I […]

Leave a Reply