Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Sources of Inspiration
Take your pick:
Sources of Inspiration

Sources of Inspiration

Author: mario fierro-hernandez

Distinguish between sources of inspiration for visual designers.

See More

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hi, everyone. My name is Mario, and I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on sources of inspiration. So today, we'll talk about different sources of inspiration for visual designers. As always, feel free to pause, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit. And when you're ready to go, let's begin.

Having sources of inspiration at hand can help the designer achieve creative flow. And these resources and techniques should be readily available to the designer when he or she is trying to solve a design problem. So we're going to go through a few techniques which a designer can use to solve such problems. We're going to start off with nature exploration.

Nature exploration is a technique for observing patterns in systemic and formal design. And this is simply done just by observing nature. You look around, see something interesting, go up for a closer look, and you start to see all these beautiful patterns and designs and things that are going to inspire. Nature is a really great designer, and although it sounds too simple and not super-technical, it really can, and often does, provide you with a source of inspiration for color, or for texture, pattern, and much, much more to aid you in a design.

Another technique for inspiration is called chance operation. And chance operation is a system by which one adheres to set conditions, allowing chance to factor his decisions. So chance operation allows the designer to lose control of his or design and experiment with unpredictable results.

So the definition sounds a bit technical, but really it's just about leaving a design up to chance initially, and then making decisions based on the result. So imagine you're making an abstract geometric piece. And you have all these pieces that you want to use, but you're not really sure where to start on that design. So why not leave it up to chance to find inspiration?

So you'll grab all these pieces-- imagine you have hundreds of these-- and they're either in your hands or in a bucket. And you just throw them in the air, and they land on your canvas. And they look like this now.

Now that's a really great start, and from here you can go on tightening up the design. Maybe there's too much blue in one area, or there's too much orange, or you want bigger pieces grouped together in other areas, and so on and so forth. And Pollock is said to have used this method a lot. And he would initially leave it to chance to dictate where the paint would fall on the canvas, and then evolve and build a piece from there.

Yet another form of inspiration is to remix, which is taking a finished work and adding to or subtracting from it. And the motivation is to create something new and unrecognizable from the original work. So another simple concept-- you take something that you've seen and you make it your own.

So for example, someone makes this neat stencil, and sprays it on the street, and you happen to walk past it. You really like the design, and it inspires you to do something creative with it in your own way.

So you go home, you get crazy, and colorful, and creative, and you end up with something more like this. So you've made something out of original work.

Now lastly what we're going to be talking about is an homage. And an homage is a piece of work made to pay tribute to the style of another artist or designer. So take this very iconic style from Andy Warhol. This may inspire to create a peace similar to it, and by doing so, you created a piece that's an homage to Andy Warhol's work. So it's a throwback to his work. You're giving tribute to his work by making your own work, but following such iconic style like Andy Warhol's.

Well, everyone, that concludes today's lesson. We'll finish up with our key terms-- nature exploration, chance operation, remix, and homage. Hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me today, and I hope you can use some of these techniques to inspire your designs and artwork. My name is Mario, and I'll see you next lesson.

Terms to Know
Chance Operation

A system in which one adheres to set conditions, allowing chance to factor into one's decisions.


A piece of work made to pay tribute to the style of another artist or designer.

Nature Exploration

A technique for observing patterns in systemic and formal design.


Adding to or subtracting from a finished work, with the motivation of creating something new and unrecognizable from the original work.