guest post by melanie burk: finding inspiration

all this week, melanie burk from fifth & hazel is guest posting on the stationery place. since she's a fantastic graphic designer, i was curious as to where melanie finds inspiration and ideas for her work. today she gives us an inside look. - L

A few months ago I was able to travel to the New York Stationery Show, which was amazing. There were hundreds and hundreds of stationery shops, with different products, styles and ideas. I left inspired and in awe- I loved seeing so many different designers pursuing their own dreams and creating their own designs. I also left feeling excited to design- and it really made me push myself in where I find my own inspiration, and what drives me to create stationery.

I became a stationery designer because I wanted to create something meaningful and beautiful, and so to me- finding inspiration that is meaningful and beautiful- is really important. I think in today's age we often start with inspiration in what is in front of us- blogs, etc. But I think sometimes it is good to look for inspiration from other places. Here are some of my favorite places to draw inspiration from:

1. Art. I love studying art- modern art, classical art, and also photographs. I love looking at brush stroke, color, patterns, contrast, etc. While I was in NY I stopped at the Met, and spent about 2 hours in a small section on Polynesian masks/shields. I left with pages of notes and ideas, and tons of ideas I have been dying for a little time to put on paper. I am always amazed at how the simplest artistic things can inspire me. (here is a photo I snapped of one of those Polynesian shields-amazing!)

2. Music. Sometimes when I am feeling stuck on a design... I turn on some music, and just stop. I write down what I feel, and what designs I imagine would represent a certain song... and it really works sometimes! (A favorite for me is Bon Iver)

3. Nature. I am a California girl, and so I grew up surfing, hiking, camping, and just always being outdoors. I am always amazed at how much better I design if remove myself out of my office, and go outside for inspiration. I am always taking photos of patterns that I find in flowers, rocks, water, bubbles- I am amazed at the many many patterns I can draw out of one flower. (Here are some photos I have snapped lately on some hikes)

4. Classical Graphic Design. I love, love, travel posters. I have a bunch of vintage travel posters up in my house. I find that the classics always inspire me in a different way. Here is one of Venice I have in my kitchen. (You can purchase that poster here: http://goo.gl/FzaBg)

I think ultimately it doesn't matter where you draw inspiration- as long as it really pushes you to do the best design possible, and makes you excited to push yourself. What about you... have you made a list lately on what inspires you? I bet it might surprise you.

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