Favourite Designers & Inspiration

Choosing designers to follow and emulate is very much like graphic design as a whole… subjective. There is always more than one way to solve a problem and a solid solution according to one individual/group may not be the same solution according to another. The same holds true for studying the work of others. Personally I always like to look at other work for inspiration before starting a new project. For me I never know what element of someone’s work may trigger an idea for something I’m working on. However I have colleagues that prefer not to be influenced by anything for fear of being unoriginal.

Most of the designers that I follow have built their careers and reputations to the point where they can pick and choose who they work with having a tremendous amount of creative control. I think that is goal that most creatives strive to achieve.

In no particular order, here is a small list of my favourite designers and inspiration.


  1. Aaron Draplindraplin2
    Aaron Draplin of the Draplin Design Co. is a designer and author based out of Portland, Oregon. His client list includes Nike, Burton Snowboards, Esquire, Red Wing, Field Notes, and the Ford Motor Company just to name a few. He is also quite active as a public speaker. In the past couple of years his speaking tour has brought him to Saskatoon as well as Winnipeg.
  2. Stefan Sagmeister09118PH
    Stefan Sagmeister of Sagmeister & Walsh in New York City creates identities, commercials, websites, apps, films, books. They also do a variety of personal projects to stimulate their creativity.I had the opportunity to see Sagmeister speaking in Saskatoon last year about projects he was working on about “Happiness”. What resonated with me is that he visually illustrated , on average, how many years of our lives are spent working compared to how many years we spend in retirement. His point was that we spend a bulk of the quality years of life working and save the freedom of retirement, a relatively smaller part of life, for last. He has adopted a philosophy of mixing in the retirement years with the working years by closing the studio and taking year long sabbaticals.
  3. Paul Arden (7 April 1940 – 2 April 2008)my-favorite-but-notso-famous-quotes-2-728
    Paul Arden was a creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, an agency that now has 130 offices in 70 countries world-wide. He authored several books on advertising and motivation, including “Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite” and “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.” These books, by Arden ,were recommended to me by a former teacher of mine at a time I was going through a bit of a slump both personally and professionally. These books contain short passages about experiences throughout Arden’s career that served as the inspiration that I needed to move forward. I highly recommend these titles for anyone in the creative industry.tumblr_l9l5nsysDK1qa9gi9o1_1280

I’m also including a small list of websites that I refer to when I need a dose of inspiration. Enjoy!

  1. Designspiration is a resource site that promotes the discovery and sharing of great design around the world. Designspiration is essentially Pinterest for designers. This is one of my favourite sites to browse because of the wide variety of categories. There is book binding, publication design, typography, poster design, illustration, etc.
  2. Typo/Graphic Posters is an inspiration platform for the promotion of good design through poster culture. The focus is exclusively on typographical posters, those that challenge type, colours and shapes to express a message.
  3. The Die Line began as a personal blog, but soon became a dedicated platform for the package design industry. Geared toward package design practitioners, students and enthusiasts, the Dieline’s purpose is to define and promote the world’s best package design. It provides a forum where this community can review, critique and stay informed of the latest trends and projects being created in the field.

If you have a favourite designer or website that you refer to for inspiration, share it with us! After all, caring means sharing.

Tell us what you think.