As Graphic Designer here at Media Street I find the first step for a new project can be the key to the rest of the project – attaining the style and feel. This can often be an extension of a clients branding, but if I have a new client to design for I would have to research their brand, unless it is a one-off project with a style of it’s own, in which case I have to start with a blank canvas.
I often head straight to my scrapbook folder which I keep on my desktop. This is where anything I see online, which I like the look of, ends up. I used to keep an actual scrapbook years ago and cut out things from magazines and glue them into it. But nowadays it is so much easier to just click and drag images straight into my scrapbook folder and I can crop them later in Photoshop if I like. I keep another folder for colours I’m drawn to and consult that as well when starting a fresh project. The other way of keeping a scrapbook is on Pinterest, I use it for lots of visual inspiration and not always just for graphic design.
When consulting my scrapbook, I quite often see one thing which becomes the trigger for my project, and more often than not it doesn’t end up looking anything like what inspires me. But once I see something I really like it can help me get a feel for how something should look, even if it’s just the colours and a font. Sometimes I find a font I quite like, but might want to try several similar fonts. For this I have a couple of main choices – myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ and identifont.com – you can even upload an image of a font you have found and it will help you identify it, but you find lots of similar fonts along the way.
Another thing I find useful is taking photos of things with my phone. I might see something on my lunch break or in the evening that I really like or looks like I could borrow inspiration from. Sometimes I have lots of pieces that I like and I will try to follow a few different styles, but that’s no bad thing as then I can leave the client to decide which they prefer!