Instagram: The Great Motivator
Inspiration isn’t a constant, even for the most experienced graphic design professionals. In fact, inspiration tends to ebb and flow throughout our creative lives, and the amount of motivation we have at any given moment depends on a number of factors. When we’re inspired, we feel wonderful: we’re on a roll, producing idea after idea and kindling creatively unique projects seemingly out of thin air. On the other hand, if we’re tired, overworked or ill, it can be much tougher to rise to that same level of activation. At those times, projects generated by other graphic design visionaries can give us a little extra boost. With that in mind, here are nine of the best graphics experts you can follow on Instagram.
Arguably the most masterful calligraphy proponent on the internet, Seb Lester is known for his unique reinterpretations of famous logos. Companies like the New York Times, Gap and Nike as well as big-name franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter have all been given the Lester treatment in recent years. Seb makes things even more interesting with his engaging videos, which untangle tired brains and give viewers fresh perspective.
If you need to create an upbeat message but don’t have the energy to form a cohesive plan, look no further than the works of Anthony Burrill. Based in Kent, Burrill graduated from the Royal College of Art in London and went on to find worldwide fame as a print maker and graphic artist. A king of typographic design, he crafts mainly text-based compositions and compelling posters, some of which have found permanent homes in cultural and design-centric museums around the world. Anthony Burrill’s illustrious clients have included Apple, Google and the London Underground.
UK-based designer Mike Kus was one of the very first creatives to make an account on Instagram, and he still maintains a strong presence there today. Kus presents Britain as almost nobody else can, shooting and posting stunning shots of the coastline and interspersing those photographs with cityscapes, country scenes and artistic compositions. If you like geometry, join almost a million other social media users and start following Mike Kus’ Instagram account: you won’t be disappointed.
Heavily involved in film, Annie Atkins’ designs revolve mainly around graphics props. Her previous projects have included The Grand Budapest Hotel, Penny Dreadful, The Boxtrolls and other well-known films. If you find yourself looking at movie backdrops and scenes, wondering, “Where do they get those props from?” you’ll really enjoy Atkins’ Instagram account. As well as her professional work, Annie posts regular pictures of her surroundings and frequently hosts courses on graphic design for filmmaking for followers who want to take things one step further.
Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister lives and works in New York City, where he forms one half of the full-service creative agency Sagmeister and Walsh. He guides his clients through the entire creative process, from idea generation to prototype production and beyond. Sagmeister and Walsh specialize in brand creation, commercials, books, apps, and many other project types. Renowned in the graphic design world, Stefan Sagmeister was voted the most influential graphic design visionaries of the past 20 years by Computer Arts Magazine.
Kate Moross takes the world and distills its color to produce some of the most outstanding and vibrant designs we’ve ever seen. From models with multicolored hair to high-definition party shots, Moross’ Instagram account is a trove of vivid inspiration. Bubblegum pop-infused props and a love of Japan stand out in all her designs, which pack enough punch to get you working on the dullest day. A self-ordained “problem solver,” Computer Arts Magazine recently named Kate Moross as one of the three most inspiring creative professionals of the last two decades.
Known for his sophisticated style and his unique take on typography, Brooklyn-based Barcelona native Alex Trochut uses angular geometry to his advantage. Trochut’s body of work includes magazine spreads, book covers, bags, posters and many other striking designs. The professional music industry loves Alex’s work, and his clients have included Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones, Wiz Khalifa and Vampire Weekend. He’s also worked on a freelance basis for the New York Times, Penguin classics and other prestigious publications.
Evocative and deeply nostalgic, the photographs on Brenton Clarke Little’s Instagram stream slow you down, bringing life into sharp focus. Clarke Little has a magical way of capturing mist over water, smoke, snow and other natural phenomena. He’s also a great portrait photographer, capturing the genuine spirit of his subjects in a street-photographer’s lens. An experienced drummer, Brenton’s love of music also plays a large part in his creative processes.
A favorite among packaging designers, Riley Cran’s designs are effective, colorful and incredibly fun. Riley’s clients have included Amazon, Red Bubble, Condé Nast and Yale University, and his work has been recognized by publications like LogoLounge, HOW Magazine and Communication Arts. If you enjoy Cran’s work and want to include a little of his creativity in your own projects, visit Lost Type, which he founded in 2011, to purchase unique typefaces your own clients will love.
When you’re feeling burned out, blue or just a little tied, you can fire up your Instagram feed and scan through the latest offerings by these artists to gain a bit of additional pep. Many graphics professionals find it helpful to create a record of the designs they find most compelling. You can do that via Pinterest, or if you prefer something more tangible, you could physically print out your favorite Instagram photos and paste them into a good old-fashioned notebook. It’s up to you. Who knows—in five years, you might make the list of graphic design visionaries as you inspire others to keep their creative juices flowing.