I sat down to write this edition of Designer’s Diary and was stuck on what to write about. I needed some inspiration. And then it dawned on me: Inspiration! That’s what I would write about. As artists, it’s a topic we all love and know well. So I’ve decided to share five of the top things that have inspired my work here at Design Aglow this year.
1) Two Hundred Year Old Botanical Illustrations
These illustrations were created with such skill and attention to detail, not to miss a single element of a certain type of plant or flower so someone would later be able to distinguish one species from another. As artists, attention to detail is really one of our greatest assets. I wanted to pay some kind of homage to the work of these skilled illustrators from the past but create something new for the modern-minded. Up until this project, I have always illustrated all of my own elements for our designs, but with this project, the use of real vintage botanical illustrations was key. I selected some favorite illustrations from 19th century works that are in the public domain and cut out flowers, berries, stems and leaves to create new patterns and elements for what came to be a set of holiday cards known as The Modern Botanical Collection.
I love the mix of modern and vintage in this card set and believe it may be my favorite set of holiday cards I have ever designed. I also think they could be great as non-holiday cards as well just by changing out the text, since they are subtle on “holiday” and more focused on a unique design.
2) Images With Great Negative Space
Image Credit: Gabe McClintock
I am so inspired by photographers that can make beautiful use of negative space in their work. Looking at images like this one from photographers like Max Wanger and Gabe McClintock calm my soul and give me that feeling of breathing in fresh air. This year I’ve been particularly drawn to images like this and I believe it has inspired the use of negative space and minimalism in my work as a designer. The Modern Minimalist Collection of products was born out of a desire to ditch all the extra graphics and design something with just the right amount of elements, typography, and beautiful negative space (nothing more, nothing less). I love the versatility of a design like this that could be used for many types of clients and brands. I am so excited that we have introduced this line to our collection of products.
3) Rustic Textures and The Desire To Just Be Amidst Nature
I found myself at several points throughout this year just desiring to be outside in someplace completely natural. I remember saying at several times to my husband, “I just feel like going for a walk in the woods or something.” (He laughs of course because it’s kind of hard to do here in South Florida amidst the sand and palm trees - which are not half bad either.) I’ve been inspired by natural textures lately, especially the look salvaged wood with lots of character, knots and variations; natural linen; and recycled paper. Several products were designed from these inspirations: The Individualist Marketing Suite, The Individualist Design for ProPhoto, Fresh Linen Design for ProPhoto, Wedding Welcome Packet: Classic Edition, Portrait Welcome Packet: Classic Edition, Senior Welcome Packet, Essential Senior Product Collection and Onward Design for ProPhoto.
4) Art Deco Art and Architecture
Image Credit: KT Merry
Miami, FL is full of art deco inspiration - artwork, vintage posters and architecture. I am not sure if it was the several trips to Miami this year, or the recent re-release of The Great Gatsby or the really cool vintage art deco humidor I scored at an antique shop earlier this year, but an art deco vibe has certainly crept into some of my designs. An art deco look was infused into many of the elements for the Boudoir Welcome Packet and Glow Design for ProPhoto. I think it adds that element of feminine sophistication that became so celebrated in the 1920s--perfect for boudoir.
5) Microgreens and Tiny Blooms
Image Credit: Aran Goyoaga
I know the microgreens thing may seem a little strange but I only discovered them this year after watching a cooking demonstration by Aran Goyoaga and love how detailed the leaves are for being so tiny. Or maybe it's the fact that I’m pregnant and have been getting all mushy thinking about my tiny little baby-to-be and have found everything small and intricate to be so inspiring. Either way, this look of little plants and details inspired the tiny blooms pattern design for the Newborn Welcome Packet. The hand-drawn pattern was used to bring in that element of “baby” without being too literal amongst an otherwise minimalist look for this design.
It’s funny when you look back on your year and start to realize how transparently you can see those things that have inspired you coming through in your work. What has inspired you in 2013? Can you see it in your work? What do you think will become new inspiration for you in 2014?
Ashleigh is the lead designer here at Design Aglow. When she was young she dreamed of the stars and longed for a mission to the moon…she even has one epic space camp experience under her belt. She soon realized her talents were better suited more earthly pursuits. Font aficionado, illustrator, animator and lover of all things mid-century, she spends her free time seeking out anything that makes her eyes smile. She is also a wife, instagram enthusiast, and mom to the baddest 8 lb. dog in town.