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Breaking Out Of The Box: Design Inspiration (July 2016)

With the summer holidays coming up, I’d like to share a couple of inspirational illustrations and photos which I hope will help you daydream and relax. There’s no doubt that there are a lot of great techniques out there — they just need to be discovered.

While going through this month’s collection, you’ll notice some pretty interesting and refreshing color combinations. I’ve made sure to include a good bunch we can all admire and learn from — I hope you’ll agree! Get ready to enter the summer with a big spark of inspiration.

The Art Of Storytelling Link

Very nice metaphor to use books as flat buildings to make you think about the stories behind each of those windows. Perfect for a subject such as “the art of storytelling”. Beautiful geometry at work.


Image credit: Dean Gorissen6

Life — Love — Home — Time Link

A very colorful 4×4 typographical illustration about the 4 elements on which human existence is based: Life, Love, Home, Time. There’s a great system at work here. The color combination and 3D effect is very well and cleverly done.


Image credit: Federico Landini7

Material I-II Link

Matthias Heiderich inspires me to look up and try to spot patterns in buildings when walking around in the city. So many interesting things to discover when you actually take the time to look. Learn to look and you see so many inspiring things.


Image credit: Matthias Heiderich8

Great Sand Dunes National Park Link

This looks like it could have been shot at the Sahara but it was in fact taken at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. I admire how you can see structure in the sand in the first part but in the back it’s like perfectly flat.


Image credit: Daniel Burka9

American Psycho Link

Re-interpretation of the movie poster for the classic American Psycho. A personal project by Tomasz Majewski. Makes me think of my art class during my school time period where I had to sketch my hand. It’s all about putting the shadows and highlights on the right spot.


Image credit: Serial Thriller10

The New Yorker – Malika Link

New work by Malika Favre for The New Yorker. Her typically elegant female characters in combination with bright colors are always inspiring and very recognizable as her style.


Image credit: It’s Nice That11

Önundarfjörður Link

Abandoned house in Önundarfjörður in the West Fjords of Iceland. Iceland is a pretty photogenic place. This was taken around 3 in the morning. The light on the mountainside is fantastic!


Image credit: Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir12

Thirst Too, Seeks Quality Link

I love these vintage ads to study the textures, the transparency in the vase, the reflection etc. It’s all done with such photographical detail, and realistic perfection. The shadow silhouet is really cleverly done, especially the bottle is truly amazing. This one is an old Coca Cola ad from the USA (1950).


Image credit: Design is fine13

Sprout Link

Sebastian Weiss’s photography is fueled by his interest in unique architectural urban shapes. He’s also one of the most popular architectural photographers on Instagram where he is posting under the alias “Le_Blanc14“. Antinori nel Chianti Classico, Bargino, Italy. Besides the beautiful lines, I truly love the contrasting color palette.


Image credit: Sebastian Weiss15

UEFA EURO 2016 Poster Series Link

Sean Ford created a real fun and inspiring personal project for the UEFA EURO 2016 campaign. He created a series of posters for each country using elements from their respective flags. Putting the elements bigger in the background works wonderfully well in this case. Be sure to check out all others16.


Image credit: Sean Ford17

New Recipes Link

Colorful things always attract my attention. These custom letters are very well executed and it’s pretty sweet as a whole.


Image credit: Ross Moody18

Coffee Wars Link

Fun illustration for an article on escaping the clutches of the hipster barista invasion. There are a few good details in it that are nicely hidden until you look closer.


Image credit: Dean Gorissen19

Sailing Mark Link

Very nice mark. Broken down to just some basic elements and it works wonderfully well. Looking at some of these pieces you’ll probably be thinking, “I wish I had thought of this”.


Image credit: Steve Mark20

No Diving Link

New photographs21 in the swimming pool series by Maria Svarbova. No surprise it’s as good as the first one. The colors are totally doing the heavy lifting, and the post processing creates a fitting mood. Very nice!


Image credit: Maria Svarbova22

Textured Vet Link

Creating textures that lift an illustration to the next level is a talent I admit I’m jealous of. This illustration uses an inspiring color palette and textured background.


Image credit: AQ studio23

Metro Bee Link

Part of an identity for a bee relocation specialist. What I like here is that the bee was hand drawn with micron pens, something I still love using too, though I used it constantly in my early days. It’s first been drawn out on paper and then scanned into Illustrator; then redrawn over it, and the lines were refined with the pen tool. I love the rough feel to it.


Image credit: Andrew Littmann24

Airline Passengers Rights Link

I picked this one for the way the figure is drawn. The large hand, arm and trouser gives all this a uniqueness to it. Looking closer is a great way to learn.


Image credit: Sergiy Maidukov25

Assonance – Poster Design Link

Visual identity of the “ESPE – Assonance Choir”, mixed choir of over a hundred people. This identity is mostly developed on the posters of the concerts. On every poster, the logo appears in a big size at the center and is used as a grid. In the background, classic paintings illustrate the theme of the concert. Wonderful usage of overlay effects!


Image credit: Graphéine2726

Assonance – Poster Design II Link

Another poster that shows the visual identity of the “ESPE – Assonance Choir” on a grid. Beautiful overlay effect, and great typography too.


Image credit: Graphéine2726

Lighthouse Anglesey Link

A lovely sea breeze and a moment of peace to take it all in. Lovely shot from the South Stack lighthouse.


Image credit: Bright n Beautiful28

Net Magazine Cover Link

Editorial illustration for the cover of Net Magazine. The idea was originally to have a “revolution” of people scattered around the word “Sketch” since that now is considered cooler than Photoshop. I love the chaotic busy look here while it still feels like it’s all going smooth as an oiled machine.


Image credit: Neil Stevens29

The Painted Photograph</h3

One part of a set of rigorously composed, scenic character portrayals that merge the pictorial traditions of cinema and documentary photography. Great colors!


Image credit: Dean West30

Conceptual Digital Illustration Link

It has been some time since I last featured something from Riccardo Guasco. Riccardo’s style never stops to amaze me. The ZIP document has a very different realistic design style, and somehow it still all works well together.


Image credit: Riccardo Guasco

Type opener for Popular Mechanics “How to Make Anything” issue. Lovely clean 3D look, and composition with lost of details and nice subtle textures in places which makes it interesting to keep looking at.


Image credit: Matt Stevens31

DNA Doctors Link

It’s always fascinating to dissect the fantasy that went into creating the illustration. Love the vintage look here, and how the line patterns are applied to add shadow and highlights. It adds this subtle depth effect, while on the people, especially the clothing, it’s done more flat and clean as if the 2 tand into the spotlight.


Image credit: Steve Scott32

Occupy Catwalk Link

Editorial illustration for an article about the changing face of fashion. The thought that went into dresses on the models are really inspiring. What’s also very well done it how the yellow is applied. You would think a combination of yellow, lavender blue, and pink will never go well, but this proofs that it’s all about how the colors are applied. The highlight and shadow on the audience, and people on the catwalk is also very well done.


Image credit: Steve Scott33

Daphne / Illustrator Startup Screen 2015.3 Link

The new Adobe Illustrator start-up screen for version 2015.3 is the work of Giulio Iurissevich. His illustrations are difficult to miss with graffiti-like aesthetic featuring striking silhouettes coloured by vivid printed designs.


Image credit: Giulio Iurissevich34

A Ride In The Dolomites I Link

My friend Ashley Gruber had a little mountain adventure with a scenery that just screams wanderlust. The Dolomites never stop to amaze me with their beauty. One day…


Image credit: Ashley Gruber3735

A Ride In The Dolomites II Link

Here’s another one. If this gets your appetite going and you’re up for a serious adventure listen up. It’s too much for me, but if you want to ride a 120k-ish and 5000m of climbing you are in for a treat in the weekend of September 10/11. My friends are organizing this “wonderous adventure36” in the Dolomites.


Image credit: Ashley Gruber3735

Lollipop – Giulio Link

Another piece of urban-inspired art of illustrator Giulio Iurissevich. Giulio focuses on the human figure and especially on the slight nuances of expression in the portraiture of girls’ faces.


Image credit: Giulio Iurissevich38

Longines Masters Link

Posters made for the Longines Masters, the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping. Love how the horse is constructed from colorful shapes. It comes together very nicely and draws all attention to the horse. Beautiful colors and lines.


Image credit: Riccardo Guasco39

Sound Drips Link

Cover for a guide to understand ambient sounds. Simple usage of shapes in combination with smartly chosen colors can lead to beautiful results.


Image credit: inzpired40

Eurostar x Lyon Link

Illustration for the Eurostar Lyon campaign. Lyon, the city of 2 rivers, the belly of France, of food & wine. The food looks super delicious I must say. Admiring the textures & color choices.


Image credit: Maïté Franchi41

Summer Band Camp ’16 Link

Adorable creatures, especially the birds. Inspiring composition as well. This illustration would fit wonderfully in a children’s book.


Image credit: Matt Carlson42

Soil Link

Oh my! This is delightful! The shapes and colors are so sweet. Looks super easy, but trying to accomplish, it never is. At least not in my case.


Image credit: Andrew Litmann43

Street Life Link

Great detail and a lovely warm color palette. Some amazing details too. The reflection on the windows is so fresh. The bricks motif is also truly inspiring, same for the volume on the trees.


Image credit: Matt Carlson44

Party Poster GSD&M Link

Killer concept of merging that phonograph with the boombox, makes it a modern vintage mashup. Like!


Image credit: Steve Wolf45

Veranos De La Villa Link

Great idea to use real life objects to create a set that represents the summer program events in Madrid. Be sure to watch the video46 as you’ll see it all comes to life. The color palette is also perfectly chosen. It totally sets a distinguished style.


Image credit: Rebeka Arce47

Ministry of Silly Walks Link

Brilliant cover for The New Yorker based on the famous sketch of the Monty Python comedy television show ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. Created for the Brexit cover story: Barry Blitt’s “silly walk off a cliff”.


Image credit: The New Yorker48

In Pieces II Link

Another one in the ‘In Pieces’ series from Brooklyn-based photographer Dean West where he collaborated together with renowned LEGO® artist Nathan Sawaya. The project features a series of typical North American ‘picture postcards’, each containing items created from thousands of blocks of LEGO®, glued together in reflection of the pixel assemblages of the digital age.


Image credit: Dean West49

Lake Louise, Canada Link

I would almost say that you hear the silence but that wouldn’t make sense. Lake Louise, Canada, such a great scenery to take in. Love the bright red accent of the canoes.


Image credit: Faye Cornish50

Swimming Link

I’ve always been a fan of watercolor pencil style drawings, plus I like to swim. This illustration scores on both. The pastel colors, the subtle blush on the girls cheek, it’s all just right. Here’s to a Summer with many swimming opportunities.


Image credit: Julianna Swaney51

Free Map Bruges Link

This year’s Use-It map of Bruges done by KHUAN+KTRON. Brightly colored illustration of one of my favourite Belgian cities. I love how everything is simplified into this cute flat 2D style.


Image credit: KHUAN+KTRON52

de Correspondent Link

Editorial illustration for de Correspondent about the pharmaceutical industry and database marketing. Special how the face is almost 3D like.


Image credit: Maus Bullhorst53

Dolomites – Heart Of The Alps Link

The Dolomites, probably Europe’s most beautiful mountains chain. Such an impressive and striking impression that these world-famous limestone giants leave behind.


Image credit: Kilian Schönberger54

Wemokki Link

The shapes of the faces are refreshing. Not easy to achieve this perfection to draw people in this geometrical style. The color palette is also very well done and eye-catching.


Image credit: Maus Bullhorst55

Shape Study Link

Wonderful study of shapes. Shapetastical! Great for studying the wonderful textures and patterns usage in there. Beautiful color palette too.


Image credit: Matt Carlson56

Sunrise Phu Quoc Island Ocean Link

Such a wonderful moment with brilliant colors captured at sunrise at Phú Quốc, a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. Available as a wallpaper57.


Image credit: Pexels58

Artemus Link

A very nice identity design for Artemus, a new craft brewery in Paris. These are the front labels. Great colors and typography.


Image credit: Riley Cran59

Tour de France 2016 Link

Nice little tribute to what many will call ‘the greatest cycling race of all’. Clever to work with bigger proportions for the bicycle. Beautiful color palette too.


Image credit: Jones & Co60

(ms, il)

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/04/web-developer-guide-color/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/06/improving-ux-for-color-blind-users/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/color-theory-for-designer-part-3-creating-your-own-color-palettes/
  4. 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/colors-in-corporate-branding-and-design/
  5. 5 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/10/the-code-side-of-color/
  6. 6 https://www.behance.net/gallery/4972457/The-Art-of-Storytelling
  7. 7 https://www.behance.net/gallery/31377525/Life-Love-Home-Time
  8. 8 https://www.behance.net/gallery/37477585/Material-I
  9. 9 https://twitter.com/dburka/status/740347797866582016
  10. 10 http://serialthriller.com/post/145397085483/american-psycho-by-t-httpifttt1tfrpps
  11. 11 http://www.itsnicethat.com/news/malika-favre-new-yorker-cover-010616
  12. 12 https://www.flickr.com/photos/rebba/27514549406/
  13. 13 http://www.design-is-fine.org/post/145046454025/coca-cola-ad-1950-usa-source#notes
  14. 14 https://www.instagram.com/Le_Blanc/
  15. 15 http://www.le-blanc.com/content/sprout/lightbox/
  16. 16 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38144063/UEFA-EURO-2016-Poster-Series
  17. 17 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38144063/UEFA-EURO-2016-Poster-Series
  18. 18 https://dribbble.com/shots/2760687-New-Recipes
  19. 19 https://www.behance.net/gallery/24441067/Coffee-Wars-Only-Lovers-Left-Alive
  20. 20 https://dribbble.com/shots/2757512-Sailing-Mark
  21. 21 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38069813/No-Diving
  22. 22 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38069813/No-Diving
  23. 23 https://www.behance.net/gallery/30935463/Textured-illos-set-(2015-16)
  24. 24 https://dribbble.com/shots/2762464-Metro-Bee
  25. 25 https://www.behance.net/gallery/35064335/Various-illustrations-Set-13
  26. 26 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38268749/Assonance-Poster-Design
  27. 27 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38268749/Assonance-Poster-Design
  28. 28 https://twitter.com/mytextiles/status/737161653914095616
  29. 29 https://www.behance.net/gallery/31119657/Net-Magazine-Cover
  30. 30 https://www.behance.net/gallery/30582439/2015-2020-(ongoing)
  31. 31 http://hellomattstevens.com/blog/new-work-popular-mechanics
  32. 32 http://steve-scott.tumblr.com/post/142732784579/dna-doctors-illustration-for-venner-shipley
  33. 33 http://steve-scott.tumblr.com/post/143422647749/illustration-for-the-australian-newspaper-on-the
  34. 34 https://www.behance.net/gallery/18487793/daphne
  35. 35 http://gruberimages.tumblr.com/post/146260098424/and-now-its-official-the-yolomites5000-will
  36. 36 http://gruberimages.tumblr.com/post/146260098424/and-now-its-official-the-yolomites5000-will
  37. 37 http://gruberimages.tumblr.com/post/146260098424/and-now-its-official-the-yolomites5000-will
  38. 38 https://www.behance.net/gallery/32114639/lollipop
  39. 39 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38424451/Longines-Masters
  40. 40 http://inzpired.co/post/146499778412/artistsagents-this-is-the-first-in-a-series-of
  41. 41 https://www.behance.net/gallery/35329821/Eurostar-x-Lyon
  42. 42 https://dribbble.com/shots/2787317-Summer-Band-Camp-16
  43. 43 https://dribbble.com/shots/2770135-Soil
  44. 44 https://dribbble.com/shots/2758424-Street-Life
  45. 45 https://dribbble.com/shots/2765024-Party-Poster-Unused
  46. 46 https://vimeo.com/170969729
  47. 47 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38706693/Veranos-de-la-Villa
  48. 48 http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/cover-story-2016-07-04
  49. 49 http://www.deanwest.com/home
  50. 50 https://unsplash.com/photos/n3XTxxV7qhI
  51. 51 https://www.flickr.com/photos/ohmycavalier/9515346290/
  52. 52 http://khuan-ktron.com/Bruges
  53. 53 https://www.behance.net/gallery/32421629/de-Correspondent
  54. 54 https://www.behance.net/gallery/35746977/Dolomites-Heart-Of-The-Alps
  55. 55 https://www.behance.net/gallery/35990061/Wemokki
  56. 56 https://dribbble.com/shots/2801275-Shape-Study
  57. 57 https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-sea-dawn-landscape-33227/
  58. 58 https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-sea-dawn-landscape-33545/
  59. 59 https://dribbble.com/shots/2807963-Artemus-Artisan-Brasseur
  60. 60 https://www.behance.net/gallery/38431079/Tour-de-France

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Veerle is one of the fascinating minds behind Duoh!, whose love for design in all its various forms shines through. She is a graphic/Web designer hailing from a small but beautiful European country called Belgium. You can follow her on Twitter and read her blog at http://veerle.duoh.com/.

  1. 1

    Lovely! The Sailing Mark and the DNA doctors really inspired me to restart some personal projects!
    Thanks a lot!!!

    1
  2. 2

    Paolo Terno

    July 8, 2016 9:09 am

    UEFA EURO 2016 Poster Series: interesting but with error.
    Italian flag must have the green field on the left… The italian flag was born from french flag: the green is in place of blue.

    1
  3. 3

    The second picture of this post, I really couldn’t figure out what exactly that was! Then I took a close look & it’s “Life Love Home Time”

    Really outstanding! Love the way you have written this.

    2
  4. 4

    Awesome list for Design Inspiration.

    0
  5. 5

    UEFA EURO 2016 Poster Series: interesting but with error.
    Italian flag must have the green field on the left… The italian flag was born from french flag: the green is in place of blue.

    0

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