By Becci Sharpe
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” according to Thomas A. Edison. But when it comes to design, inspiration plays a much more important role, playing an essential part in the creative process.
You need to constantly spot things when you’re out and about, read books and magazines, and – of course – scour the internet to get inspired. To save you time, we’ve put together this comprehensive countdown of the hottest and brightest design blogs for 2016. Something you can bookmark and come back to again and again, when you need a healthy dose of inspiration.
As well as serving up visual feasts of great design, some of these feeds offer sound business advice, technology hacks and the latest industry resources from all corners of the world.
Selected by everyone at Creative Boom, this list is sure to whet your appetite for graphic design culture and inspire you to expand your horizons. Which one is your favourite? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below…
1. Sex, Drugs and Helvetica
This Melbourne and Brisbane based blog – that also runs annual conferences for designers – is packed with practical advice on the business side of things such as taxes, freelancing and copyright protection.
2. The Dsgn Blog
Founded and curated by Croatian designer Ena Baćanović, The Dsgn Blog has a focus on the work of young designers and students from all over the world.
3. Design is Fine. History is Mine.
A fun tumblr feed with a focus on nostalgia and old-school design, penned by a teacher of design history from Germany.
4. Design Cloud
Clean, clear, purely visual tumblr sharing work and ideas under categories including typography, illustration, visual art and graphic design.
Hooked is a London-based street art blog that’s brimming with passion, sharing images of street art from all over the world as well as ideas for stencils, illustrations, screen printing. A great stop when looking for ideas in unexpected places.
6. Book Design Blog
A whole library of book design, offering examples of work from classic novels to self-published e-zines. High-spec production values to minimalist typographical designs are sure to bring you inspiration when it comes to books and magazines.
7. Creative Review
The blog form of the world’s leading creative magazine is at the forefront of the latest news, reviews and big discussions in the world of design, creative advertising and visual culture.
8. Design Clever
One of our favourite tumblr blogs, Design Clever was built by designers Jonathan Ring and Bethany Baker to celebrate talented creatives. You can submit your own work or just seek out inspiration from others.
9. Mr Cup’s Graphic Exchange
French designer Fabien Barral, known under the pseudonym Mr Cup, shares his experiences working on high-profile international projects on his blog, Graphic Exchange. The blog will form the basis of a new crowd-funded design magazine called the Walter magazine.
10. Shillington Design Blog
Providing a regular dose of graphic design inspiration — Shillington also shares design stories, resources and opportunities, expertly curated by its students and lecturers.
A short and sweet feed of five of the best design links of the day. Curated by a large team of editors, it offers something different every day and a nice overview of what’s happening in the industry.
This is your go-to hub when it comes to app design. A meaty feed of app examples, complete with design analysis and links to find out more.
Launched back in 2008 by Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada, Booooooom is now Canada’s biggest art blog. A trusted voice in the contemporary arts scene it offers daily fixes of inspiring artistic endeavours.
14. Grain Edit
A charming nostalgia trip, Grain Edit is focused on classic American design from the 1950s to the 1970s, and contemporary artists influenced by this period.
15. Branding, Packaging and Opinion
A far from ironic title, Branding, Packaging and Opinion does exactly what it says on the tin. Founder and Editor Richard Baird is a specialist based in the UK and the site is his selection of the best works in this field.
16. The Trend List
An interesting perspective blog that questions any designer’s originality by exploring the influence of contemporary culture on design and highlighting big trends and influences on the industry.
17. The Designer’s Neighbourhood Guide
See the world through the eyes of a creative, with this collaborative blog charting travel highlights for a designer across the world’s brightest cities. Content comes from local creatives and travellers offering their favourite things to see. Very neat format.
18. Art of the Menu
Another branch of the graphic design masterminds at Under Consideration, Art of the Menu sounds a little niche until you discover the wealth of engaging content it offers. Celebrating the humble menu, examples explore the importance of good layout, typography, and the fun you can have with menu illustrations and design for every possible cuisine.
A smartly presented and easy to use blog of photography from across the globe and throughout history. Snapshots of countries and cultures that are sure to lead you somewhere unexpected.
20. Where They Create
An absolute dream for nosey parkers, photographer Paul Barbera opens a secret door into the private studios of the artists and creatives she meets on her assignments. Discover the hidden spaces in which creatives produce their work.
21. Hover States
Put together by the animators and digital filmmakers at Animade, Hover State showcases the most interesting web and digital design news in a film format to capture how digital design moves and behaves.
Titled Read Design Daily, this feed offers snappy headline links for in-depth graphic design content from all over the blogosphere.
We’re all guilty of ogling sexy typefaces, and on Typorn you don’t have to hide your passion for font. A glorious collection of typographic works past and present, you can learn about the process behind iconic designs or discover something new.
A highly-respected cutting-edge e-zine specialising in design trend forecasting, Trendland describes itself as ‘a magazine, art gallery and television all in one’.
Proudly celebrating quiet design, the189.com highlights well-made, unassuming everyday objects that just get on with the job at hand.
A resources blog from the heart of NYC concentrating on typography and graphic design with an emphasis on minimalism and modernism.
27. Friends of Type
Created by four designers and lovers of lettering, you’ll find fresh and original typographic design and lettering posts updated daily. Sketchbook in style and handcrafted in nature, it’s a font of knowledge and inspiration.
A showcase of the hottest in web design, httpster is a perfect place to boost your creativity to see how graphic design skills turn sites from good to great.
Choosy in its selections, SiteInspire is a collection of the best web design out there, specialising in clean and simple sites. Sometimes, less is definitely more. You can even submit your own design for inclusion.
You know the font you want but you can’t find it? Head to Typewolf, an independent typography resource to make it easy to find the perfect lettering for any project.
31. Eye On Design
The blog of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Eye on Design showcases the best new multidisciplinary work from emerging and established designers across the world.
32. Web Designer Depot
Sharing the latest and greatest findings, tips and techniques for web designers, you’ll learn plenty to help you tackle web projects here, or pick up some expert insights to help you translate your graphic skills to the digital landscape.
A weekly roundup of the most outstanding web designs and helpful blogs filled with advice and tips, you’ll never struggle with a web project again with the help of Line25.
34. It’s Nice That
Championing creative inspiration, It’s Nice That is a portal for every design sector with a graphic design hub covering everything from typefaces to currency redesigns.
You can browse this selection of high-level design inspiration by keywords or even colour, so if you want to be inspired by blue or a particular phrase, this site can deliver.
An online magazine devoted to typography, icons and visual language, it features contributions from designers around the globe to inspire and stimulate the senses.
The title says it all. This is a passionate and joyful blog that celebrates designers who are dam good at what they do — from thoughtful design to strategic branding.
38. The Fox Is Black
Combining the best of art and design, expect to see everything from experimental photography to upcycled furniture, cutesy illustrations to daring music cover art. A great place to discover new talent and get a sense of the wide range of projects to which you can apply your own design talents.
A vast resource of visual inspiration covering graphic design, typography, illustration and much more, with a bunch of tutorials to help you brush up on some of your software skills.
40. Brand New
A portal to get you talking about corporate logos and brand identities, Brand New offers up opinions on redesigns for largely well-known products and big companies. A lively comment section accompanies each post, while the insights from site editor Armin Vit are a fantastic way to really tune your brain into design thinking.
41. Design is Kinky
Established in 1998, Design is Kinky serves up a seemingly endless and carefully curated selection of big, bold graphic design in all its glory.
Providing a healthy daily dose of creativity, Visuelle is a regularly updated feed of links to the best new design work plucked from studios and designers around the world and across a range of disciplines.
Despite the rise of digital, you’ll still find plenty of love for print in the design world. And nowhere celebrates it better than Print.pm, a visual supply of great print design examples, from magazine spreads to billboard posters. If you’re looking for ideas for your own layouts then this is a great place to start.
44. The Inspiration Grid
Much like the name suggests, The Inspiration Grid offers visual-heavy block content, with a nice wide range of themes and topics that cover any and everything creative.
A shining example of the power of collaboration — FormFiftyFive is curated by a team of more than 30 designers from the UK and further afield. The site has now been going strong for over a decade, delivering a mixture of links, image galleries and work examples, alongside more in-depth features and interviews.
46. I Love Ligatures
Celebrating the seemingly simple but often unheralded art of typographic ligatures, this vast Tumblr stream features endless well-chosen examples. The is one for type enthusiasts, or those just looking to add a little creative flourish to their designs.
Benoit Berger and Nathalie Kapagiannidi from Parisian graphic design studio Say What, generously share their own image hunting work in the form of the beautifully presented Mirador blog.
48. CSS Tricks
Want to sharpen up your digital skills so you can transfer your graphic design chops to the web? Well, becoming savvy with CSS should be high on your list of priorities. You won’t be surprised to hear that this site is full to the brim with tips on the essential style sheet language, but it also offers wider ranging advice and updates on the latest developments in other areas of web design.
It started as way of keeping track of her favourite finds on the web. It’s turned into an exceedingly popular design blog by Swiss-born, NYC-based designer Tina Eisenberg—the creative mind behind awesome products such as Tattly and beautiful to-do app TeuxDeux.
A plentiful supply of links showcasing the latest and greatest design projects, events and news that the internet has to offer. Run by the mighty graphic design enterprise Under Consideration, Quipsologies is beautifully presented too and outlines the carefully chosen typography used throughout the site.
Read more here:: 50 essential design blogs to inspire your creativity In 2016