014. Inspiration: Billy

I warned earlier this semester that this was coming but now that this is technically my last inspiration blog post and the end of the semester, it is now time for my gushy mushy inspiration blog post about my wonderful boyfriend, Billy.

Without a doubt I do not think that I could have managed this semester and my new job without his help. A creative type, who successfully ran his own graphic and web design business for nearly 15 years, I can only wish to know half as much as him one day.

Illustrator tutorials at 1 o’clock in the morning- check!

Crafting Play-doh animals for an absurd photography scavenger hunt assignment (Seriously a purple toad? Yellow bunny? Where?)- check!

Freelance fees tips and suggestions- check!

Lectures on the usage of keyboard shortcuts (sometimes, I seriously feel like he’s one of my teachers) – check!

Numerous hours of listening to me whine, cry, and complain about my job and assignments and group projects- check!

24-7 availability to answer my questions (especially in panic mode- why are my blacks brown??)- check!

Hours of his free-time spent trying to align spread layouts into printer spreads when each page is a different size- check!

I could keep going on and on and on. His expertise in the Adobe Creative Suite, his business experience and organization, and all of his support, encouragement, understanding, and patience are all incredibly priceless to me. And this work/school related stuff is only a FRACTION of what I love about this guy.

He inspires me to want to be a better designer, artist, and person every single day.



013. Inspiration: Book Design

Well it’s the end of the semester and one of the biggest projects weighing on my mind is this book of my blog for my typography class. All the ideas that I have had for layouts and design have been shot to hell due to project restrictions (no color) or critiques. I’m super sick and super stressed and my mushy brain is in desperate need of some ideas for this thing. I really want the book to be quirky and fun because I’m quirky and fun and I don’t want it to be boring and standard. I’m finding though, that merging quirky and fun in a text dominant (man, I write too much) book while staying mindful of all that I have learned in this semester in typography is  a completely daunting and overwhelming task. As much time as I have spent thinking about this project throughout the semester has been little help now that it is crunch time. I am 5 days away from this book being due and feeling the pressure to have a creative book design breakthrough (actually three days because I’d ideally like to have it done by Monday. Sure I can design and layout and print and bind a book in three days. With a cold. With all my other end of the semester projects due. This is what being a college student is right? Perseverance under pressure).

So Google.

I came across quite a few informational articles and this one in particular had quite a few modern and artistic designs that have inspired me quite a bit. Some examples from the article include:

I really like the minimalism of these designs and the grid layouts are really helpful and inspiring as well since a modular grid layout is a requirement of the book project. Also, after seeing peer books, I felt as though I needed to have multiple columns of text on pages instead of one column but after seeing some of these samples, the one column text still has a classy vibe to it. Additionally, the use of white/negative space is incredibly impactful because I believe I often tend to fill in or overdo this space in my designs.

Some additional articles that were helpful and inspiring:

Top 5 Book Design Layout Errors Illustrated

10 tips for better book designs

Typography Tips for Writers: Anatomy of a Book

012. Inspiration: Recommended WordPress Blogs

One of my first blog posts was about finding inspiration all around us. Originally I meant that to be in the most literal way; nature, architecture, fashion, advertisements. These intentional and not so intentional designs surround us, consume our spaces, so much so that we may be obvious to them and yet if we take the time to look and recognize them, we can understand their designs and messages. Sometimes though, we need to seek out inspiration, the inspiration that we may not come across in our daily lives, the ones pertinent to our careers, hobbies, and education. Ultimately that is what I have been trying to accomplish with this category in my blog, but I forgot to look right under my nose.

I’ve recently been browsing the blogs WordPress has recommended for me (not sure how this works- if it gets updated- where can I find more) because well duh! here I am on WordPress writing about inspiration when there are TONS of blogs of inspiration just a click a way. I love to see other artist’s work and the styles they’ve created or excelled at, the new and unique ideas. I like to value and appreciate their skill, wonder how they did that, and day dream about a day that I might be that talented, that maybe someone might want to purchase something I made.

Below are some of the most awe-inspiring artists I’ve found on WordPress, or artists whose work truly inspires and excites me. Please check them out.

Caitlin Clarks – Illustrator (super cute and incredibly detailed illustrations)



blog.cupick.com (Cupick is a visual platform for artists to share and sell work, but their blog is this incredibly fun range of quirky random art articles and great interviews.)


milinkovic.co (weird and interesting abstract paintings and prints)



lizardpudding.com (awesome, quirky art in a variety of mediums)



 (adorable little comic constructed entirely out of scrap materials)unique, and visually captivating)



picturette.wordpress.com (prints, photography, and design)


bryannachapeskie.com (illustrations, print, design- all freaking adorable)



sarahgoodreau.com (really fun illustrations)



dianefoug.com (sculpture, drawings, and etchings- the sculptures are just so interesting and visually captivating)


011. Inspiration: Type Art

As I was searching through the internet for some inspiration for this blog post, I came across this article from 99designs’ Designers Blog: 25 Mind-blowing Typography Art Projects. Some of the projects listed in this article are so, well mind-blowing. Mind-blowing in the sense that they are interesting, advanced, skilled, fun, awesome to look at, often sculptural, thoughtful, and pretty exquisite. I think that I find these so inspiring because I love the mixture of typography into art and/or the taking of typography and expanding on the idea that it is an art form, can be art alone. These pieces make me eager for time to get back into creating my own art so that I too can experiment and play around with typography as art.


Vacuum-packed type — an experimental typeface by txaber.


Lauren Hom’s hilarious Daily Dishonesty series takes tidbits of often-given, rarely-followed advice we give ourselves and renders them beautifully in striking type. 


Wood Type — another impressive experimental typeface by Txaber.


Sabeena Karnik molded the entire alphabet in ornate, cut-paper forms.


Spanish art collective Boa Mistura painted passage ways in a Brazil slum with bright colors and white forms that, seen from the right angle, resolve into letters spelling words like “belleza” (beauty) and “orgulho” (pride).


A sculpture by Damien Roach that reads “Avant Garde” when seen head-on, but merely looks like sundry geometric forms from other angles.


Artist Farhad Moshiri jams knives into the wall. Seen from the right perspective, they resolve into an elegant script. 


Read the article for more awesome artwork and links for all the artists displayed here.

010. Inspiration AND 010. Resources: HOW Design

Every single time I Googled typographic or design inspiration since I have been writing this blog, HOW Design would pop up somewhere on the list and often. Honestly I eventually ignored any search results that came back to them because I was not impressed with their website. It seemed like a scam to me: lots of side bar ads, not the most aesthetically pleasing design (for a design site), and virtually no comments on any article or collection that I clicked on (where are all the people at?). Eventually they showed up in a search for something relatively obscure (this escapes me at the moment) and I started clicking around and actually was really pleasantly surprised at the content I found. This site is overwhelming with the amount of learning resources, design opportunities, and wealth of inspiration found here. This is just why HOW Design had to constitute two blog entries, because I just couldn’t pick the best category to file it under.

I did a bit of research- really I did poor research and went to Facebook- and found out that HOW was founded in 1985 as a print magazine. Not sure if they are still in print today (would really like to find out), but over the years their brand as expanded into an online source, numerous books, conferences, other events, awards, and numerous other products all designed in aiding the creatives in design out there. In fact their mission is: HOW is all about helping graphic designers be more inspired, more creative and more successful. If that doesn’t sound both inspirational and resourceful, then I don’t know what does.

If you were ever looking for a collection of “wicked cool 90s posters“, then HOW has it. What about “packaging design inspiration from around the world“? They have that too along with inspiration from all over the world in areas such as photography, type, design, packaging, and everything else in between. They have a HOW university with courses ranging from 40 bucks to 100 bucks, workshops, boot camps, conferences, tips on freelancing and pricing your freelance work(!!!), competitions, and job hunting tips. And since this blog is for a typography section, there is a whole section devoted to typography. I’ve read articles on hand-drawn letters, how one typographer reinvented several types, and a font marathon.

All in all I have found quite a few good reads, interesting tips, and numerous points of inspiration. HOW Design will definitely be bookmarked for further study.

09. Inspiration: Bēhance

I feel as though I have been living under a rock as a “designer”. I put that in quotations because I can’t even believe I considered myself to be one prior to three months ago. I’m not sure if it is the huge amount of work I have been putting into Illustrator and InDesign, both of which were pretty foreign to me. Or is it the amount of research that I have been doing for this blog. Perhaps a combination of both which has really opened my eyes to how far I’ve come in just a few months, how little I knew and how much I still need to learn. Either way it is incredibly exciting to see all the forums, blogs, resources, examples, lectures, articles, tutorials, freebies, and what have you, that are available for graphic designers/artists out there on the internets.

Bēhance is one of those living-under-a-rock-in-my-own-bubble-never-heard-of-but-I’m-so-excited-I-finally-found things. (By the way, after 7 years of working on a Mac, I have finally learned how to make macrons just for this post). Someone recently recommended Bēhance to me after I was whining about how much I hate manually coding my personal portfolio website every time I want to add new content (which hasn’t been done in oh about 8 months because of that fact). Bēhance is an online community, a product (or purchase) relative to the Adobe Corporation, in which creative types from ALL over the work can create, publish, and promote their own portfolios. Work can be divided into finished or WIP. Viewers can like, comment, and follow artists. There are even job listings (although only one for Michigan -insert sad face)!

I put this site in an inspiration blog because, just like the several other communities I have previously posted about, it is beyond amazing to see what else is happening around the globe in design, photography, art direction, illustration and so on. There are galleries to browse and numerous filters to search by (schools – yes there are a few WSU submissions up there- and materials and color, oh my). Seeing all the great work really grounds me in that I am more aware that there is plenty of room for development and skill training and yet it inspires me to want to be a better designer, be the best I can be, and seriously step up my game.

Although I have yet to create my own portfolio through Bēhance, it appears to be a great resource too (aside from also being a great spot for inspiration) for getting one’s name out there among the artistic community, especially on such a large platform associated with Adobe. And any community that allows for input, critique, and praise from colleagues and peers is one in which all artists can really thrive and continually develop. I’m really excited to try it out.

Check it out: Bēhance

08. Inspiration: Creative Blocks

I have been suffering from an intense bout of creative blockage this week. It’s happened before, it comes and goes, I understand it comes with the territory, no one can be on all the time. Nonetheless, it is a frustrating time, no matter how many times it happens. It’s really difficult to be creative in terms of school AND work when you’re just not feeling it. And sometimes I’m afraid THAT makes the block even worse. So I did a bit of research and compiled a list of the best suggestions to help me (and anyone reading) work through this phase. Hopefully this is something I can look back on when it happens again.

  • Be unselfconscious.
  • Try and work (as much as can be possible) at the time right. Do the creative juices flow more at 1 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon?
  • Be inspired by the world around you. Don’t limit inspiration to design, study nature and people, animals and anything outside of the art world.
  • Ask questions.
  • Be rested, fed, and sit properly. (I seriously need to stop sitting indian style.)
  • Get back to the basics and away from the computer. Pull out some paints or charcoal. Sculpt something.
  • Play word games to help generate ideas.
  • Take a look back into the history of design.
  • See what others are doing.
  • Read a book.
  • Change your surroundings.
  • Work in a comfortable environment.
  • Work on exciting and inspiring things.
  • Take a break.
  • Just get something started.
  • Don’t be afraid to play and experiment.
  • Stick to a schedule.
  • Be accepting that there will be bad days and bad designs.
  • Remember why you wanted to be a graphic designer.


Resources/Additional Info and Tips:









07. Inspiration: Fonts in Use

Seriously. This site. I love this site and could probably spent hours looking through it.


Fonts in Use is more than your average inspiration/gallery of typography or design. It’s clean, efficient, informational, and just a treasure trove of real world examples. It’s broken down and can be searched three ways: by industry (example: automotive, education, film), by format (examples: advertising, branding, newspapers), and by typefaces (examples: Adobe Caslon, Avenir, Folio). Those with accounts can submit their own work or other found examples of typography. Although not updated regularly, there is even a blog with interesting and relevant entries.

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06. Inspiration: My Peers

Probably the coolest thing about being an art/design student is the wealth of creativity that  surrounds me on a daily basis. The whole academic setting at least from an artistic standpoint (because those general education courses I could do without) is amazing to be in. It’s awesome to have teachers that are trained, educated, experienced in all of these fields. The opportunities to learn from all disciplines of art is exciting, encouraging, and constantly a learning and development experience. I love seeing how techniques can be used and applied across these disciplines. Most of all though, it is incredibly inspiring and aspiring to see all the work my classmates put out. It’s interesting to see everyone’s different takes on projects and assignments. From still-life drawings to foam sculptures to typography expression compositions to everything in between, this environment is a great one to grow and develop as an artist/designer. I will be sad when the day comes that I will not be surrounded by such a vast group of talented individuals.

05. Inspiration: Jacqueline S. Casey

I recently analyzed a piece of work by Jacqueline S. Casey for another class and words can not even begin to express just how inspiring I found this woman to be. Jacqueline S. Casey was well known for her work for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (yes, that MIT) Office of Publications. This department was responsible for all of the design work for the school. Obviously Casey was a woman. A woman in graphic design and a woman who later became THE director of the Office of Publications. A feat in itself in that there were few women working for MIT in this sort of professional capacity. As a female myself, I can appreciate the ground she broke and the paths she paved for other women in the field of design. Also, her work is so striking, so unique; it really doesn’t even matter that she was a woman because her talent and skills spoke volumes alone. Each and every piece of design by Casey could be considered a piece of art, IS a piece of art. Her minimalistic and solid background choices really helped to highlight the interesting work she did with type, which was often the primary imagery in the pieces. I’ll let some examples of her work tell the story because I am not sure that I can express how truly amazing I think her work is nor do her justice in this brief bit of blog.

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Additional Resources: