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The Best Inspiration Techniques for Graphic Design Ideas
By James Marvin

Graphic design can be a tough industry to get into. Skill will only get you so far if you don't know how to properly market yourself and prove that skill. Everybody knows that a portfolio is one of the single best methods for a graphic designer to prove his or her efficacy at the craft, but designers who are just starting out don't have pieces that they can showcase yet. How do you even start building a quality portfolio of works if you need that portfolio to get your first client in the first place? The best thing for any graphic designer to do in this situation is to make a series of mockups, or fake advertisements, images, etc., that showcase their talent. Most people don't even know where to begin, so here are a few graphic design ideas for starting out and getting inspiration for your first pieces.

To start with, it's always helpful to head to the internet. Finding tutorials that you can follow step by step is an excellent way to learn and utilize new techniques. You might also start to see how the same techniques can be used in different ways for unique results. If you follow a design tutorial that you used on the internet, don't include it in your portfolio. Rather, take those techniques and come up with a result that is completely your own. Use the tutorial as a source of inspiration. Another hands on approach to this is to find designs that you admire and then try to recreate the effect without any step by step guidance.

A graphic design tutorial should ideally have approximately 12 of your strongest works. This doesn't mean taking your first 12 works and calling them your portfolio. You should ideally create 3 or 4 times that amount and then select the best 12 out of all of them. A lot of beginners attempt to simply cram all over their work into the portfolio, but all that does is showcase the average pieces side by side with the good ones. When you take your portfolio to a potential client, he is more likely to form an opinion based on the works of the poorest quality than the best ones.

If you are stuck for graphic design ideas to work with, just go for a walk down the street and look around at the advertising that you see. You can even do this in your own home or design studio by looking through magazines, books, or newspapers. Ads for imaginary corporations are a good starting point, as are CD labels or book covers. Anything that features a strong, focused design can be used for inspiration. If you really need to get the creative juices flowing, just get out a pen and begin abstract designs as they come to your head. If you use a software like Photoshop for your designs then just begin playing around with the various tools and look for interesting effects. Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources, so always keep an open mind for your graphic design ideas.

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