As creative professionals, especially designers, we often come across captivating visual inspirations while exploring platforms such as Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest, or even on our social media feeds. Occasionally, we might stumble upon something intriguing and cool. However, these inspirations often slip through our mind as we go through our day, which is unfortunate because I believe we should adopt a more visionary approach to grow our library of references. 

This is how a day in my life as a graphic designer looks like, and I hope this can help you with yours. Let’s dive right in!

Curate Your Personal Visual References

As part of my daily routine, I make time to curate visual inspirations. Once I open my laptop, 15 minutes before I dive into work, I explore various design platforms to look for intriguing ideas that I save for later use. 

To stay organized, I categorize different styles into separate folders. For instance, I sort minimalist designs apart from raw and grunge visuals. This systematic approach comes in handy when I’m searching for a specific style for a project. Fun fact: I’ve been doing this for 8 years now.. If my hard drive could speak, it might just be pleading for some relief from the amount of data it has to store.

Visual inspirations means more than just posters or app displays; they can take the form of photos, interior design, illustrations, and various aspects of daily life. Sourc mnes of inspiration are all around us. The magic happens when we blend these diverse references in our designs. We can merge the color scheme from one reference with the photo arrangement from another, and even incorporate content layouts from additional references. Never, ever limit ourselves to a single source of inspiration.

Incorporate References into Your Work

Okay, so you have a 1,000 terabyte worth of visual references–what’s next? Try putting them to work. It’s pointless to collect and look at numerous references if we don’t attempt to use them in a practical way. Start easy; apply them to simple content such as presentation decks, posters, or even social media posts. This process is similar to how we used to rewrite what the teacher explained in school. It helps us gain a better understanding of the material, rather than just passively listening to it.

Don’t Get Too Much Comfortable with a Single Style

Exploring various ideas and experimenting with new styles will not diminish our unique identity. Rather, sticking exclusively to one design approach can limit our adaptability and versatility when working with different clients or projects.

Sure, there are times when we might feel a bit uneasy about trying out a fresh design style, a new font, a different color palette, or a novel photo arrangement. But that’s perfectly fine. What feels most comfortable to us might not align with the best and most suitable solution for the diverse needs of others. Remember, our role as graphic designers involves more than just visual aesthetics; each of our designs carries a narrative behind it.

This is why the field of graphic design is named Visual Communication Design. Often, we overlook the communication part by  solely on creating appealing visuals. This oversight can render our visually attractive designs ineffective if they fail to effectively reach people and our target market, only because we insist on using the styles that we know and prefer.