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

Whenever I work on an illustration, the objects don’t always have to look like they do in real life. They can look like how I perceive them in my mind. Breaking away from reality is the privilege you have as an illustrator. There are, in fact, no boundaries. Illustrating is creativity in its pure form. It is endless and that’s why I love it so much.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Pokedex Link

Drilled down to just the basics. Great work. I love the hard edged clean shadows and the high contrast of the bright colors palette.


Image credit: Justin Mezzell6. (Large preview7)

Bake Shop Link

It took me some time to see the face. You could see a dog at first, too. The mustache will help. :) Having to look and analyzing is what I also love about this one. I also see a fork in the wheat.


Image credit: Steve Wolf9. (Large preview10)

Floyd’s Bakery Part II Link

Great to see the previous branding evolving into a badge design. Love the connection between the ‘F’ and the ‘D’.


Image credit: Steve Wolf12. (Large preview13)

Le Tour by Carla Fuentes Link

Love the details that are present in this great texture work. There’s a certain uniqueness to this pencil drawn style.


Image credit: Carla Fuentes15. (Large preview16)

Printing Link

Great to see some illustration work that tackles printing services. Some subtle gradients & textures. Love the ‘movement’ in the legs, and the shape of the hair.


Image credit: Timo Kuilder18. (Large preview19)

3d Cake car Link

I would buy an ice cream from this nicely designed 3D truck. The tires are especially well done.


Image credit: Selver21. (Large preview22)

Proud & Punch Link

Brilliant summer vibe and colorful message. The aquarelle effect fits perfectly. Wouldn’t mind a taste with such lovely packaging. It expresses the fruity juiciness very well.


Image credit: Proud & Punch24. (Large preview25)

Secret Woods Link

With September being the new August here in Belgium, it’s too early for me to start thinking about Fall, but that’s not a valid reason to exclude a beautiful photo like this. The mystery wondering is strong in this one. Perfect path to cruise on. Very inviting indeed!


Image credit: Heiko Gerlicher27. (Large preview28)

Team Olympique Link

Admiring how well balanced everything is in this poster for the Lacoste Team Olympia runners. Typography is also cleverly integrated, and the Comoros are just perfect.


Image credit: Mike Lemanski30. (Large preview31)

Alamar Link

Alamar, Ciudad De La Habana, Cuba. Sunset 8:11pm. Nature’s gradients at its best.


Image credit: Eric Cahan33. (Large preview34)

Fragment d’éternité Link

Speaking about nature and its talent for creating beautiful gradients. Wouldn’t mind enjoying this view for a while.


Image credit: Girolamo Cracchiolo36. (Large preview37)

Joy Division Link

It has been a while since I last added something from Swissted. Joy Division at lyceum theatre, 1980. When you turn an indie rock show flyer into international typographic style poster this is the result.


Image credit: Swissted39. (Large preview40)

Colorful Geometric Link

Wonderful experiment with colorful geometric shapes. Almost looks like some modern apartment building with terraces. Love the highlight and shadow effect created by such perfect overlays and transparencies, in combination with only a bare minimum of gradients to keep the overal style extra clean.


Image credit: Ray Oranges4542. (Large preview43)

Geometric Bicycle Link

Another inspiring example of using geometric shapes to create a bicycle with a minimum of detail.


Image credit: Ray Oranges4542. (Large preview46)

Volcano View Link

The right amount of light, colors and composition! Santorini sure has one of the most breathtaking sunsets. One of those places you’ll want to put on your to visit bucket list.


Image credit: Abbs David48. (Large preview49)

Ready for Takeoff Link

These kind of illustrations are just absolutely fantastic. They look straight out of a 60s magazine. A wonderful source to study all the texture overlays and shadows. Photographically realistic shown in every detail, wrinkle, glow or sparkle. It’s all there.


Image credit: Alexey Kot51. (Large preview52)

Her Living Room Link

Part of series of illustrations for an exhibition that portray the fashionable lives of the Shanghai women in the 30s. Love how the dress is constructed with a beautiful pattern. It immediately grabbed my attention.


Image credit: Jun Cen54. (Large preview55)

Kinderdijk, Holland Link

Beautiful shot of a Unesco World Heritage site in Holland called Kinderdijk. It has 19 windmills strung out on both sides of the canal.


Image credit: Remo Scarfò57. (Large preview58)

Nomad Hill Link

Inspiring patterns collage. Great color selection as well. It’s amazing what you can achieve as a result starting from simple shapes when you apply the right colors, and the right composition. It all looks so simple, but it is not.


Image credit: Andrew Littman60. (Large preview61)

Dave Matthews Band Gorge Poster Link

Another piece of exceptional work by DKNG. Just study all the details and discover the depth in the landscape background, even when you look through the windows of the van.


Image credit: DKNG63. (Large preview64)

Ticket App Illustration Link

Nice header illustration for a concert ticket application. For starters the colors are spot on and the texture is very much up to par as well.


Image credit: Matt Carlson66. (Large preview67)

Dallas Child Magazine Link

Really a perfect example of great use of simple colors and shapes. Those leaves are pretty close to perfection.


Image credit: Steve Wolf69. (Large preview70)

Sales Dashboard Link

A dashboard hub concept. Such great typography choices in here.


Image credit: Bethany Heck72. (Large preview73)

Fire In The Sky — Arto Link

Almost looks like a foreign planet. Some great clouds and an exploding sky.


Image credit: Arto Marttinen75. (Large preview76)

FM Magazine — Fast Changing Link

Illustration for FM Magazine about companies and the fast changing environment. Most notably in this one are the bright colors that are working well together. Love this early 90s looking pattern in the shoe and the book at the book at the bottom right. You can find this kind of pattern (named ‘Capsules’) in Adobe Illustrator’s ‘Basic Graphics Textures’ pattern library which you can load from the Swatches panel via ‘Open Swatch Library > Patterns’.


Image credit: Andrea Manzati78. (Large preview79)

De Stijl Link

Poster for an exhibition based on oil on canvas painting called Counter-Composition V, 1924 — by Theo van Doesburg. Strong composition, very simple and eye-catchy.


Image credit: The Medium Control81. (Large preview82)

Wedding Invitation Tom & Karlien Link

Such a beautiful and original approach to a wedding invitation. Love how the dress is like the centre of everything and I especially like the two kids at the end of the table.


Image credit: Jacques & Lise84. (Large preview85)

Cosmópolis Pt.4 Link

One of the nice collection of illustrations that show a famous city. This one is about San Francisco. An inspiring color palette and many small details to discover. Beautiful flat 2D illustration style with a subtle depth created through colors.


Image credit: Aldo Crusher87. (Large preview88)

Jumping Link

The horse is nicely simplified and the diagonal items, and beautiful gradient effects perfectly show the notion of speed.


Image credit: Jones & Co90. (Large preview91)

Club Kiddo Co. ✳ Flag 3 Link

Part of a series of some inspiring flags. Quite delicious.


Image credit: Eight Hour Day93. (Large preview94)

Cover For Settings Magazine Link

Cover for an interior magazine. Interesting use of textures and subtle 3D effect. The highlights and shadows are so well done here. You feel the daylight shining through the window.


Image credit: Twistedfork96. (Large preview97)

Kingfisher Link

Without a doubt the most beautiful little bird that you can spot in Belgium if you are lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time. Those colors and little details in its feathers!


Image credit: David Man99. (Large preview100)

Daybreak At Val d’Orcia Link

This is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect lighting. This photo just looks like a painting.


Image credit: Fabbrica della Bici102. (Large preview103)

Yolomites5000 Link

Out of the forest, back to the views. The nicest surprise you can get as a cyclist. After some rough section you come into this kind of view. Reward score! The Dolomites can do that for you.


Image credit: Gruber Images105. (Large preview106)

Native Specimen 2 Link

Wonderful example of what can be achieved when you combine typography smartly. Featuring a lovely new typeface called Native.


Image credit: Bethany Heck108. (Large preview109)

Het Financieele Dagblad Link

Beautiful work from Amsterdam-based illustrator Jacob Stead. Great for studying the inspiring texture usage. Also a perfect example of going beyond reality and expressing the message directly.


Image credit: Jacob Stead114111. (Large preview112)

Het Financieele Dagblad II Link

The colors used here are so wonderful. The detail in the faces and the hair are quite amazing even on such a small size. The proportions are far from real which adds extra strength in this illustration. Just look at that huge body as he seems to grow out of the cubicle, compared to his tiny feet and hands. I think the message gets across just perfectly.


Image credit: Jacob Stead114111. (Large preview115)

Electronic Pig Link

Again a perfect example of how illustrations are so perfect to translate to anything if your imagination is there.


Image credit: Jacob Stead117. (Large preview118)

Mountain View Link

The flow of this composition is just really beautiful. I feel it captures the Fall season as well with the color choices.


Image credit: Dmitrij120. (Large preview121)

Geometric 3D Link

Excellent use of a well balanced color palette in combination with such well aligned geometric shapes and a bit of 3D achieved by these subtle gradient effects. So well done.


Image credit: Ray Oranges123. (Large preview124)

Tycho — Epoch Link

Boldly go into new musical territory. Tycho’s newest ‘Epoch’ is making me look forward to the upcoming album. As always the matching artwork is on par as well. Simple and beautiful.


Image credit: Tycho126. (Large preview127)

Apex Experience Link

Editorial illustration that matches an article focused on body language and behavior during a flight. Many nice subtleties to discover here. The expression on the faces is inspiring as those are so difficult to get right.


Image credit: Bee Johnson129. (Large preview130)

Paul Simon — Graceland Link

Minimalistic and great in composition. Perfect for a classy album. Ideas like these are treasures.


Image credit: Eric R. Mortensen132. (Large preview133)

Eau de Paris Link

The special style of Rick Berkelmans aka Hedof. An illustration for the 2016 campaign for Parisian public water company Eau de Paris. The colors, and the overwhelming round shapes sets this one apart. There’s an animation134 as well created by Benjamin Moreau.


Image credit: Hedof136. (Large preview137)

Staircase den Bell Link

Looking up or looking down, it’s all part of the thinking process of how you would get an awesome shot. This one of the staircase of “den Bell” Antwerp is just an example of that. Just fascinating to look at.


Image credit: Things I See139. (Large preview140)

Bicycling Magazine Link

Great collection of spot illustrations created for bicycling magazine. Love the disproportion of the bicycle.


Image credit: Alex Perez142. (Large preview143)

Teatros Luchana Madrid Link

Part of refreshed brand/corporate identity of Teatros Luchana Madrid. Interesting diagonal red overlay effect, and typographical choice. The rest can be seen here.


Image credit: toormix145. (Large preview146)

Water Link

Beautiful image with moody sky. Wonderfully composed & perfect focus. Such perfect vanishing point!


Image credit: Cuba Gallery148. (Large preview149)

Internet Tarot Link

A bit of humor. Not sure what this means but someone could pull the plug. :)


Image credit: Justin Mezzell151. (Large preview152)

All I Need Is Blue Link

Part of a photographic series that focuses on the color blue. Such perfect scene. It’s wonderful, so be sure to check out the rest, too153!


Image credit: François Peyranne155. (Large preview156)

(yk, il)

Footnotes Link

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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

  1. 1

    Stef Hamerlinck

    October 5, 2016 6:18 pm

    Lovely collection! Thanks Veerle

  2. 3

    Amazing and inspiring! thank you so much

  3. 4

    Very cool, thanks!

  4. 5

    What a collection, I’m really impressed! In our agency (tłumaczenia Slavis) we have many times to do with images / photos inserted into documents prepared for printing, f.i. magazines, which we have to prepare in Photoshop, but we only rarely can see so beautiful and interesting images. Thank you!

  5. 6

    Wow this is such an amazing collection. All images are very impressive and refine. Thanks


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