Look at pinterest.
Look at instagram.
Look at google images.
It’s insane how many free resources there are out there. The brushes, the free stock photos, the vectors. It’s all out there free of charge.
Then the crowd finds it , tramples it, and then becomes annoyed with it and discards it. Of course then the style/design comes back 10 years from now as a retro amazing way to do things. Such is the life of a design.
I have found this apparent in my own designs and the designs of my peers. What inspires me though is that with the invention of the internet I can find all of the trends from the entire world, for almost all of the history of design. I can draw upon dada-ism, surrealism, and material design. I throw these concepts into a blender. Push the pulsate for ice button; so the themes are truly blended. Then I pour the refreshing design into a cup of presentation.
I still can’t decide whether all the resources are killing design, or making it stronger. A good designer is hard to find right? Maybe not anymore… Anyone can hack a version of photoshop through their favorite torrent machine, look up free photoshop backgrounds, download some pretty fonts from google’s free fonts library, and put them all together in a meaningful way. Well, perhaps not anyone can do this, but with how common great design is these days a lot more people can do this.
I am stuck here loving all the free assets and new concepts, but asking myself, “Is my carreer as a designer being de-valued? Am I going to be able to compete with so much free design tools?”
Every designer is asking himself these questions right now, and if you aren’t, then you should be. What does this mean for us? I think it means that we need to keep up with our design, but take a break from the internet for at least the brain storming of a project. I know most designers do brainstorming on google search, or see what other competitors are doing, but what if we went to the library and did research on the “OG” internet found by the dewey decimal system? I think we as designers should smell, read, and sketch for the first part of design.
Then once we have some good ideas, consult the google machine (maybe).
I am challenging myself currently to the “every other in hand” challenge. Every other design I don’t look online or at any other influence except for what I know and what I can hold physically in my hands. I usually go to my sketch book for old drawings or ideas, a library, books, magazines, and some walks among the city gather inspiration from found objects. It’s been interesting and I am not claiming it’s some miraculous system, but dammit it is refreshing.
As a designer I feel overwhelmed at times with how many outside sources are vying for my attention. I know it influences me uncontrollably in ways that I am not aware of. It’s nice to truly know where my inspiration and where my thoughts are starting, and then grow them on paper and digitally.
I challenge you as a designer to try this method at least once.