Design Sanity Essentials: What I’m Looking At

Design Essentials: Wooly Mastadon

Whoops, this Friday post got up a little late, but alas life has been fun (sarcastic fun and actual fun) around here. I have been doing a lot of design work but also paperwork (my part-time job with full-time hours is now officially full-time with benefits…I’m grateful but not really sure what I want with life anymore…but more on that later). Instead of a deep thought post, I thought I’d keep it on the lighter side by sharing some recent likes/obsessions lately.

I’ve been thinking about my recent graphic design projects, and that got me thinking about some of the areas of inspiration, products, and random things that get me through these projects. Why not share them here. It’s a bit of a sporadic list, but hey, I”ll share it.

  • A good playlist. I often go on Pandora, pick a random playlist (something like Lindsey Stirling for the preliminary brain-storming sketching process, top pop hits or Ellie Goulding -something with words- for the creation of the piece) and get to work. If I want something more specific, I’ll head to Spotify for either my Let’s Get Moving playlist or my random music dump playlist, aka Mixed Tracks. Either way, music has to happen. Sorry Enya, you don’t make the cut for this one…too soothing. I need something with more of a beat.
  • Have you heard this track from Carly Rae Jepson, I Really Like You. I do not like most of her songs, but I followed the link on a whim because of Tom Hanks being in the video. Sheesh, it is stuck in my head and, ummm, I kind of love it.

Design Essentials: Wooly Mastadon

  • I think I may have mentioned these before, but Jim Krause wrote two books that I cannot live without when designing. The Color Index One and Two are the best reference books ever. They are just that, books filled with color combination ideas and CMYK and RGB numbers to go with it. For someone who wants all of the color like me, this is a great way to reign it in a bit…just sayin.
  • Iced Tea. Perhaps half and half (soap box alert: my family has been drinking ice tea/lemonade mix for years, before Arnold Palmer decided to name it after himself. It will always be called half and half…so there!). It is my go to drink…no coffee please.
  • Sketch book and all of the pens/markers/pencils/writing utensils. I love stationary/office supplies. Frankly any new paper goods are my friends.
  • Post It Notes. They keep me alive. I cannot complete a project without using them. I use them for everything, from bookmarks, to important notes, to random scribbles.
  • USB Mouse. Sometimes you just need a good old fashioned mouse instead of a touchpad on a laptop. I love my USB mouse. It does the job nicely.
  • Headphones. I love the JVC Marshmallow headphones. They last really well and in the 8ish years (can it be that many years…really?) I’ve been using them, I’ve only gone through like 4ish pairs. My ears are weird and most of the typical ear buds don’t fit in my ears so these are the best option (I have like 4 pairs in circulation in my purse, with my laptop, etc). I also own a pair of USB Sennheiser headphones with a built-in microphone. These are mostly for Google Hangout/Skype chats but the sound quality is great for listening to music too.

Design Essentials: Wooly Mastadon

  • Slinky Jr. Umm yes, I have a classic child’s toy on my desk, but seriously, if I am stressed out, I just play with my slinky. Who knew that stacks of books were the best steps for these things to go down. I may or may not own a few eggs of Silly Putty too (for stress relief, aka I’m 2 years old), but that is for another time.
  • Pinterest. If I’m really stuck on a project, I often will go to Pinterest and just look around at random stuff. Sometimes I search for graphic design inspiration, but often I search for something completely unrelated to get myself out of the design rut I created.
  • Ravelry. It has to be mentioned here. If I am in a tough spot with design, I often procrastinate, and that almost always involves a Ravelry pattern search. Typically I just open the search to the current most popular/trending items. It works.
  • Books/Magazines. I read often. I read before bed every night, I read during the day, I read when I want. However, if I am working on a project, I will often tune what I am reading into whatever project I am working on. Perhaps it means reading a magazine with articles somehow related to the project, sometimes it is just for color. Often it is for escape, but it all helps.

Well, that is a list, and a long list. I’ll be sharing more internet findings at a later date, but for now, here is what my graphic design life revolves around. Perhaps I have just given you the perfect weekend distraction. What keeps you sane and going strong during a project? Are you interested in Graphic Design?

~Stay Inspired


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