graphic design portfolio examples

Graphic Design Portfolio Examples to Inspire You + Important Tips

Newly graduated? Actively seeking employment in the field? Super comfortable in your current position?

No matter what your status, the Go Media team suggests you regularly work to keep your design portfolio up-to-date.

Seasoned designers, we know that this task may seem daunting. However, in order to show beautiful work, you simply have to put the time in. Being methodical about adding work is far easier and more effective, in our view. Slow and steady always wins the race.

We have launched a couple blog posts about what your design portfolio should include. They are:

How to Have the Best Graphic Design Portfolio on the Block: 3 Tips and
How to Create a Graphic Design Portfolio 

Here are five of our most important tips.

  1. Only show your very best work. Your portfolio should be well curated. Less is often more.
  2. Cover all of your bases. If you have excellent work in branding, print, web, illustration, show us. Well-rounded designers are few and far between.
  3. Tell us a story. We love case studies! Show us your thought process from start to finish. Include illustrations, notes and various rounds. Address failures & successes along the way. We love to see how designers move throughout the design process. No matter what the outcome, we will respect you for guiding us along your path.
  4. Put as much time into your portfolio as you did completing the project. If you took eight hours to create a logo for a client, take roughly eight hours to work on that respective portfolio item. Dedicate yourself to mocking the logo up on multiple templates until they look perfect. Write, rewrite, proofread the copy to go along with your portfolio item. Construct a thorough case study as referenced above. If your logo appears in a store, restaurant or other location, go out and photograph it! Take time editing the photos so that they are professional in quality. Gather testimonials on your work if possible. Don’t stop until you’re proud.
  5. Show that you can work with clients & meet deadlines. Students, this one is for you. If you have not yet had experience in the field, ask your friends and family if they need any design work. This will get you some freelance work in the door and show us that you have experience, no matter how minor, working for clients. Get ready to illustrate the work you’ve done in your portfolio, as well as discuss how you communicated with them and managed to meet important deadlines.

Here are some portfolios that have inspired us with notes about why we enjoy them.

Ekaterina Oloy
Los Angeles Based Illustrator, Artist and Visual Storyteller
What We Love: Katia’s Portfolio is instantly spellbinding. Each project is accompanied by a full case study or accompanying materials that help you relate to Katia’s
work. This is the standard that all other portfolio’s should be judged against.

Skinny Ships
Design and Illustration by Richard Perez and Jennifer Derosa
What We Love: The cleanliness and fun spirit of the work. It makes you want to work with them.

Hom Sweet Hom
Hand Lettering by Lauren Hom
What We Love: High-quality, vibrant work that hits you in the face!
Great brand consistency

 

Ron Draper
Artist and Designer living in the UK
What We Love: Nice high-quality, bold imagery. Some portfolio items tell a story of Ron’s process.

Jordan Metcalf Studio
South African Graphic Designer
We love Jordan’s copy. As you know, we love a story and it gives more substance to his work.


Chuck Anderson
No Pattern Studio – Chuck Anderson
Artist, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Creative Director
What We Love: Chuck’s Portfolio is filled with over-sized, juicy imagery.
The quality of his presentation, in our opinion, is simply on another level.

Kate Moross
Designer
What We Love: Kate’s bold and captivating presentation

Erik Marinkovich
Lettering Artist and Designer
What We Love: Clean and crisp overall. The work is breathtaking! Copy is simple and straightforward.

Creative Mints
A Boutique Human-Centered Design Agency from Prague
specializing in Branding, UI and Illustration
What We Love: Creative Mints shows a beautiful variety of work in their portfolio

Go Media’s Online Portfolio
We couldn’t let you leave without bragging about our own graphic design portfolio!
Here at our Cleveland Graphic Design and Web Development Firm, we love showing off the work we do in the areas of not only design and web, but print, illustration and web marketing.

Our Rich Wonder portfolio item is a great example of one of our case studies. We used illustration to help us
explain our thought process through the project.

We hope you enjoyed this post and it inspired you to add to your portfolio today!

90’s Graphic Design Mood Board

The 90’s were a magical time – a time of the Docs, Game Boys, and the sweet, sweet sound of AOL dialing-up. As everything that was once old is new again, the 90’s are making a come back.

Design trends from this era can be found in posters, album covers and fonts. As artist Dave Perillo has shown, even some of our favorite old friends are back in action. Deservedly so.

Dave Perillo’s art can be found on http://montygog.blogspot.com/

What about 90’s design is worth reintroducing, you ask? We created a mood board of sorts to answer this question and hope it helps uncover the truth. Below you’ll find 90’s posters, graphics, album covers, products, and other elements that may inspire you to create your next design piece enhanced with 90’s elements. We have arranged the elements in four categories. We hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

90’s Design

1 – Color like WHOA.

The 90’s was at once a wave of color and a dash of grunge. But for this moment, at least, we are rejoicing in glorious brilliance of it all. Think Pretty in Pink (literally), color pops, neon lasers and this 90’s cup design that kind of grows on you after awhile. Totally unapologetic!

90's cup design

2 – Chunky Fonts.

If you take a broad look at fonts in the 90’s, you will see a lot of thick lines and truly unique fonts driven by theme. Oh – and we loved a drop shadow!

3 – Photo Posters

The focus around many of the posters or album art in the 90’s was around one simple graphic or photograph.  Many of these are iconic posters and I think their simplicity speaks volumes.

4 – From Bold & Vibrant to Black & White (and Red)

Though this era gave us a lot of pink, we also saw a lot of stark contrast – black & white – sometimes with pops of red.

What did you love most about design in the 90’s?

For more 90’s Graphic Design, head to the Go Media Pinterest Board.

Inspirational Illustrators on Instagram

Stop and Follow These Super Fun, Empowering Illustrators on Instagram

Follow these Illustrators on Instagram

Hate social media bringing you down? Hate scrolling and slowly feeling down about yourself as the posts roll by? Follow these ten illustrators on Instagram we suggest below and you’ll perk right up. We promise!

We are all about inspiration these days. We have started a Facebook group for creatives and hope you’ll join. Head to the We Are Weapons – Go Media Creative Crew on Facebook and request to join in on the conversation.

A few more notes before the inspiration begins:

selfcareisforeveryone

A space that honors the importance of choosing self-care over self-harm.

Inspirational Illustrators to Follow on Instagram

ladieswinedesign

Empowering creative ladies! Started by @jessicavwalsh
powered by awesome ladies worldwide in over 200 cities.


recipesforselflove


hellomynameiswednesday

THEY/THEM pls | queer trans artist & activist


onbeinginyourbody

A way of being | A space for embodied wisdom


positivelypresent

Original artwork © Dani DiPirro
DC-area artist + author


tylerfeder

illustrator trying her best


 

gemmacorrell

infamous anti-socialite and pug lady


bethdrawsthings


florencegiven

London Based Artist & Social Issues Advocate

70s graphic design

70’s Graphic Design Inspiration

70s Graphic Design: Ideas from our Pinterest Board

As you may have noticed, companies and designers have been drawing inspiration from of our favorite decades lately. Graphic design inspiration from the 1970’s is all the rage. There is something about the thick lines, bold color choices and simple layouts that really speaks to us still. So today, we are throwing down some vintage inspiration from this decade in hopes that it inspires your next project. Enjoy!

For more 70’s graphic design and 70’s inspired design, head to our Pinterest board.

IDEA Magazine | Tribute to Saul Bass (and Associates) in 1979 | design et typo
1970 Jerzy Flisak – Those Who Wear Glasses
1970 Danuta Zukowska – Circus
Japanese Poster: Expo ‘70. Yusaku Kamekura. 1967
Vintage sony logo. Mid-century. Good colors.
Hollywood Bowl program, 1970 – Deborah Sussman
Herve Morvan Foire de Lyon Poster 1970
Rainboeing the Skies Ad 1971
Aeroflot International Route Map, 1970
1974-1975 Canadian Broadcasting Corp Annual Report
Buamai – Aisleone – Graphic Design, Typography And Grid Systems
Cepelia, 1973, by Jan Mlodozeniec
Wiktor Górka 1971
Weltspartag 1975, Advertising Poster
Olympiad Games Program, 1976
Gorka Wiktor – Cyrk Kobieta na wrotkach, 1970
Antoni Cetnarowski, 1970, Upside down cyclist, CYRK.
Jaroslav Fišer, 1971
Jan Mlodozeniec, 1 9 7 8, Cepeliada 78.
Hubert Hilscher – Plakat Secesyjny, 1971
Vintage movie poster 1973 by Jerzy Flisak: Dramat zazdrosci
Jerzy Treutler, Seal with 2 balls, 1971
Japan World Exposition ’70
David Bowie poster, 1972
television with the ramones, 1974
Novum Gebrauchsgraphik 4/1972 — Jan Buchholz

For more 70’s graphic design and 70’s inspired design, head to our Pinterest board.

21 Hand Lettering Artists to Follow on Instagram

Hand Lettering Artists to Follow on Instagram

Wandering around Instagram, we found some really beautiful examples of hand lettering that we thought we’d share. We thought they might inspire and ignite your next project. Enjoy the hand lettering artists to follow on Instagram and please click on each image to learn more about the artist who created the individual piece.

For more hand lettering inspiration, check out our post “Letters We’re Loving: 30+ Hand Lettering and Typography Inspirations” and
one of our most popular articles, “100 Top Resources for Typography and Hand-Lettering

Elizabeth Gray (thegraytergood)

Hand Lettering Artists to Follow on Instagram

Lisa Quine (lisa_quine)

Hand Lettering Artists to Follow on Instagram

Pierre Boisson (pedrodelabedida)

Katie Made That (katiemadethat)

Loren Klein (lorenkleindesign)

Talita Marques (marquestalita)

Maxime Bolis (maximebolis)

Saori (_lil.something_)

Jessica Renna (jessicarenna)

Michael Moodie (michael_moodie)

Loz Ives (idleletters)

Shauna Parmesan (weneedtotalkproject)

Tiffany Dewitt (livelongandletter)

Annick Martin (annick.martin)

Indysign (theindysign)

Jessica Nam (jessicanam)

Tearapart Intajak (tump_tearapart)

Emmy (redpolarbear_)

Devin Rista (devinrista)

Joanna Walters (jopeydopes)

Deirdre (the designer) (deirdrethedesigner)

Cleveland Design Firm Go Media launches Forest City Shuffleboard brand

Branding Cleveland’s Own Forest City Shuffleboard

Princess Leia Fan Art

Inspiration of the Day: Here’s to Princess Leia

Princess Leia Fan Art

Our hearts are broken over the loss of Carrie Fisher, so today we’re honoring her in today’s Inspiration of the Day post. Please enjoy this work we found on Dribbble and Behance created by artists we admire, which honors her and the characters she played so eloquently.

Hero image, Princess Leia, by ttya on Dribbble

Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Leia by solo artwork
Leia by solo artwork
Лея и Джабба by by Natalia Dekalo
Leia by Natalia Dekalo
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Organa by Leonard Peng
Organa by Leonard Peng
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Kawaii Star Wars - Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Kawaii Star Wars – Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata

100+ More Poster Design Inspirations

100+ Poster Design Inspiration

Hey designers, want way more inspiration? Attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today, our focus is poster design inspiration. For more, check out our past posts, including:

50+ Gig Poster Designs We’re Obsessed With
Instant Inspiration: Exceptional Gig Poster Designs
40+ Cool and Inspiring Poster Designs
50+ Inspiring Poster Designs

Enjoy!

Click on each poster for more information >>

1 Poster Design Inspiration Poster Design Inspiration 3f189c1ffae5b788ab51984cdc5b98a0 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13

12

57 58 59 60 61 62 71 70 69 68 67 66 65 64 63

91

103

102 92 93 94 101 100 99 98 97 96 95

Which poster was your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!

Inspiration of the Day: 11/2/2016 – Pin Design

Pin Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today, our focus is pin inspiration. Enjoy!

Cover Image by Alexandra Cook

Pennant Pins by Jacob Boyles
Pennant Pins
by Jacob Boyles
Cabin Love Enamel Pin by Amy Hood for Hoodzpah
Cabin Love Enamel Pin by Amy Hood for Hoodzpah
Source Goodies by Ryan Putnam
Source Goodies by Ryan Putnam
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Super Team Deluxe: Command Z by Justin Mezzell
Falcon Lapel Pin by Rogie 👑
Falcon Lapel Pin by Rogie 👑
Oregrown pin by Brian Steely
Oregrown pin by Brian Steely
Sasquatch Troop Badges by Matt Kaufenberg
Sasquatch Troop Badges by Matt Kaufenberg
Guarded Enamel Pin by Lauren Dickens
Guarded Enamel Pin by Lauren Dickens
Owl & Goat pin by Brian Steely
Owl & Goat pin by Brian Steely
Enamel Pin Mockup by John Oates for Focus Lab
Enamel Pin Mockup by John Oates for Focus Lab
Super Team Deluxe: Untitled-1.ai by Justin Mezzell
Super Team Deluxe: Untitled-1.ai
by Justin Mezzell
Super Team Deluxe: Pen Tool by Justin Mezzell
Super Team Deluxe: Pen Tool
by Justin Mezzell
Salt Flats Enamel Pin by Amy Hood for Hoodzpah
Salt Flats Enamel Pin
by Amy Hood for Hoodzpah
Meh by Drew Melton
Meh
by Drew Melton
WORK DAT BODY by Drew Melton
WORK DAT BODY
by Drew Melton
Enamel Pins? by Aaron Eiland
Enamel Pins?
by Aaron Eiland
E-X-P-L-O-R-E Pin Badges 2 by ∆ Studio–JQ ∆
E-X-P-L-O-R-E Pin Badges 2
by ∆ Studio–JQ ∆
I Feel You Heart Pin by Jeff Finley
I Feel You Heart Pin
by Jeff Finley
Freddie and Co Pin by David Sizemore for MailChimp
Freddie and Co Pin
by David Sizemore for MailChimp
Stay Curious 02 by brian hurst
Stay Curious 02
by brian hurst
Fuck Pins by Joanna Behar
Fuck Pins
by Joanna Behar
Generic Pins by Spencer Charles
Generic Pins
by Spencer Charles
Sad Ghost Pin by Joanna Behar
Sad Ghost Pin
by Joanna Behar
Skull Pin by Cameron McMaster
Skull Pin
by Cameron McMaster
Two Cents Enamel Pin by Dan Draper
Two Cents Enamel Pin
by Dan Draper
Wolfie Pin by Joey Ellis
Wolfie Pin
by Joey Ellis
Cosmic Cuties 1st Edition by Siamés Escalante
Cosmic Cuties 1st Edition by Siamés Escalante
Fantome D'oeuf Enamel Pins by Alexandra Cook
Fantome D’oeuf Enamel Pins by Alexandra Cook
Hustle Harder Lapel Pin by James Lafuente
Hustle Harder Lapel Pin by James Lafuente
White Owl Pin. by vacaliebres ©
White Owl Pin. by vacaliebres ©
Flavor Pin Trading Club #1 - SWEET! Ice Cream Lapel Pin by Nick Williams
Flavor Pin Trading Club #1 – SWEET! Ice Cream Lapel Pin by Nick Williams

Inspiration of the Day: 10/5/2016 – Inktober

Inktober 2016 Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today, we’re kicking off this month with inspiring work from artists participating in Inktober, a drawing event created by Jake Parker whereby artists are challenged to do one ink drawing a day for the entire month of October according to the following prompts.

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Are you participating? If so, share a link to your work with us in the comments below. We’d love to be inspired by you and follow what you’re working on, too.

Onto the work!

Inktober Title by Joel Santana
Inktober Title by Joel Santana
Hidden by Mona Karaivanova
Hidden by Mona Karaivanova
Inktober drawing by Frank Sandres
Inktober drawing by Frank Sandres
Inktober Day 3 by Gretchen Ellen Powers
Inktober Day 3 by Gretchen Ellen Powers
Michael Myers Halloween Print by Michelle Coffee
Michael Myers Halloween Print by Michelle Coffee
Inktober - Fast by Michael B. Myers Jr.
Inktober – Fast by Michael B. Myers Jr.
Are you in Inktober guys? by Denis Pakowacz
Are you in Inktober guys? by Denis Pakowacz
Sailor moon de boas by Caroline
Sailor moon de boas by Caroline
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Inktober 2016 Day 3: “Collect” by Mair Perkins
#1- Fast by Sveta Oleinikova
#1- Fast by Sveta Oleinikova
Drumroll, please! by Maria Watson
Drumroll, please! by Maria Watson
Inktober sketch number four by Renée van den Kerkhof
Inktober sketch number four
by Renée van den Kerkhof
Inktober 2016 — "Heavenly Blue" by Sarah Sugarman
Inktober 2016 — “Heavenly Blue”
by Sarah Sugarman
Inktober/moth by Nevena Katalina
Inktober/moth
by Nevena Katalina
Inktober 2016 - Fast by Rolling Rook Studio
Inktober 2016 – Fast
by Rolling Rook Studio
inktober_2016_1x
Inktober 2016 by Ryan Terry

Inspiration of the Day: 9/28/2016 – All the Kawaii

Kawaii Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Kawaii is the name of the game today. How will this inspire your next design?

Header image by Clémentine Derodit

day creatures by yoyo the ricecorpse
day creatures by yoyo the ricecorpse
kawaii inspiration
Bae bae cats personal project by Beatriz Alvarez
kawaii inspiration
The Little Mermaid by Jerrod Maruyama
kawaii inspiration
Fantome D’oeuf Enamel Pins // www.alxndra.com by Alexandra Cook
Space bug 34 by Yoyo The Ricecorpse
Space bug 34 by Yoyo The Ricecorpse
kawaii inspiration
“Al Mond” almond glass of milk Art Toy by Maria Filipe Castro
kawaii inspiration
Mogu All by Taka Yamaguchi
kawaii inspiration
Little Heads by Clémentine Derodit
The Secret Life of Sushi by Jonas Mosesson
The Secret Life of Sushi by Jonas Mosesson
kawaii inspiration
collection illustration / 10 by ChocoToy cute
kawaii inspiration
dial dial dial…. by Ziqi Wu
Cowly and Carmi 3D by Charuca Vargas
Cowly and Carmi 3D by Charuca Vargas
Mon-Mon by Patricia Mafra and Goncalo Nobre
Mon-Mon by Patricia Mafra and Goncalo Nobre
Banh Mi Boi by Kevin R. Johnson
Banh Mi Boi by Kevin R. Johnson
SUMMER 2016 WORK by Mitsumi Flores
SUMMER 2016 WORK by Mitsumi Flores
There´s no place like home by Azul Piñeiro
There´s no place like home by Azul Piñeiro
Kawaii mood! by Pupa Pupapop
Kawaii mood! by Pupa Pupapop
OWÖ by Micaela Carbajal
OWÖ by Micaela Carbajal

Have a great day, everyone!

Inspiration of the Day: 9/14/2016 – DIY Business Card Designs

Business Card Inspiration 2016

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today we’re going to narrow in on folks who added some handmade love to their business card designs. How will this inspire your next business card design?

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Colorful Business Cards by Robin Gillet and Estelle Phillibert
MYLÈNE POISSON SOMMELIÈRE by Caserne, Elizabeth Beudoin, Ugo Varin, David Tremblay
MYLÈNE POISSON SOMMELIÈRE by Caserne, Elizabeth Beudoin, Ugo Varin, David Tremblay

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Custom Ring Stamp Card by Mikey Burton
Custom Ring Stamp Card by Mikey Burton
Matière Noire Handmade Business Card by Burak Kaynak
Matière Noire Handmade Business Card by Burak Kaynak

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Spray Painted Business Cards by IS Creative Studio
Spray Painted Business Cards by IS Creative Studio

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Hilary's by Ghost
Hilary’s by Ghost

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DIY Business Cards by Lark and Linen
Handmade business cards by frametouch
Handmade business cards by frametouch
Handmade Hello! Logo Design and Hand Sceenprinted business cards by Jade Jefferies
Handmade Hello! Logo Design and Hand Sceenprinted business cards by Jade Jefferies
Painted Business Cards by Art Bar
Painted Business Cards by Art Bar

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Stamp Business Card by Giulio Mosca
Stamp Business Card by Giulio Mosca
Hand transferred business cards by Foreign Policy
Hand transferred business cards by Foreign Policy

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Watercolor Splatter Business Cards by Rebekah Murray
Watercolor Splatter Business Cards by Rebekah Murray
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Indigo Dipped Business Cards by Jessi Gilbert

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Inspiration of the Day: 9/7/2016 – Beverage Packaging Design

Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today we’re going to narrow in on killer beveraging packaging design inspiration. Let’s take a look at what our fellow designers are doing over at Dribbble, shall we?

Cover image and beverage design packaging designed by your friends here at graphic and web design studio Go Media.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Cans by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Trophy Room Strong Ale for designbrawl.com #SBDesignBrawl by Luke Flowers
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Moet Packaging by Valentina Badeanu
St. Laurent Gin ‘sneak peek’ by Chad Michael Studio
Good Fizz by Lydia Nichols
Miller High Life & Harley Davidson by Derrick Castle
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
One Last Shot by Joseph Alessio
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Rum by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Bib & Tucker Bourbon by Tom Lane
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Honey Dill Vodka by Emrich Office
Belgian Golden by Jeremy Taff
Elephant Sloe Gin by Simon Frouws
Independence White Rabbit by Canales & Co.
Duran by JC Desevre
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Legend Winter Ale by Gardner Design
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Cameron's Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers
Cameron’s Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers

Have a great day, everyone. See you next Wednesday for more inspiration!

Monday Morning Motivation: Talks that inspire us the most

Every so often, we all need to pull up TED.com or YouTube and find a motivational talk to give us the strength we need to get through a challenging day or simply for a breath of fresh air. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorites with you. Please leave a comment below and let us know which speeches light that spark for you. We’d love to check them out.

——

Graphic Designers Favorite TED Talks

The surprising truth about what motivates us
adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA

——

Graphic Designers Favorite TED Talks

Stefan Sagmeister’s
The power of time off

——

bryan

Joe Smith’s
How to use a paper towel

——

wilson

Andrew Solomon’s
How the worst moments in our lives
make us who we are

Malcolm Gladwell’s
The unheard story of David and Goliath

Simon Sinek’s
How great leaders inspire action

Robert Waldinger’s
What makes a good life?
Lessons from the longest study on happiness

——

heather

Amy Cuddy’s
Your body language shapes who you are

Monica Lewinsky’s
The price of shame

Margaret Heffernan’s
The dangers of willful blindness

These Are Things’s
How we learned to stop worrying and enjoy the ride

Ira Glass
…On Storytelling

——

aaron

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Michael Pollan’s
Edible Education 101

Dan Gilbert’s
The psychology of your future self

Dan Gilbert’s
The surprising science of happiness

——

michael

From TED’s Radio Hour:
Brand Over Brain

graphic designers favorite ted talks

From TED’s Radio Hour:
The Power of Design

graphic designers favorite ted talks

Weapons of Mass Creation

My love letter to Weapons of Mass Creation

[Notes from the road: As I begin my journey back to Scranton – heading east on route 80 with a long road ahead – I have plenty of time to process all the amazing memories dancing around my brain from a very inspiring three-day weekend. And even though my head’s still spinning, I wanted to get down as many thoughts as possible while they were still fresh.]

The Quick Pitch

Not only am I beyond thrilled with my experience at Weapons of Mass Creation, I’m making it a personal goal to tell as many people as possible about this gem. Whether you’re just out of design school, working full-time but doing a side hustle, or a few years in to running your own shop, you need to attend this conference. A 3-day all access pass to the fest only costs 120 bucks (It’s a very budget-friendly conference) and on top of that, they’re always running deals (if you’re into that sort of thing). I got 50% off for being an Arsenal member! The workshops are extra but are also very affordable (ranging from $30-$60) and all talks are included in the price of admission. Bottom line, in a world full of email communications, Skype meetings and Slack hangouts, this is a chance to spend some quality time with a ton of amazing like-minded creatives.

My Personal Journey

This was my first trip out to Weapons of Mass Creation, and for those who don’t know, WMC is a Cleveland based 3-day conference that celebrates design, entrepreneurship, and creativity. The festival is presented by Go Media and is the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears by an amazing group of folks including Heather Sakai (@sakaipower), Bryan Garvin (@bryangarvin) and countless other hard-working volunteers. For the past few years, I’ve heard wonderful things about WMC Fest, mostly through my dealings with Go Media and their design resource site Arsenal, but for one reason or another, I never made the trek out. This year was different.

Weapons of Mass Creation
The Ohio & State Theatre. Home to Weapons of Mass Creation 7.

When my family and I relocated to Scranton in 2015, I left a ton of great creative friends back in Philly, and while I’m still in the process of carving out a network in my new home, I knew that this was one thing WMC was known for. On top of that, after a topsy-turvy first year of running Variant, I was feeling over-worked, creatively exhausted and burnt out. So not only was I hoping to connect with members of the community, I was also jonesing for some inspiration, advice, and positive energy to recharge with. So after a nudge from my lovely wife, I decided this was the year to make it happen.

While I wasn’t able to go to attend every workshop and talk, I tried my damnedest to cover a ton of ground and what follows is a spin through my experience. Let’s dive in.

Weapons of Mass Creation
A look inside the lobby of the spectacular Ohio theatre

Workshops

Between Friday and Saturday, the fest offered a diverse collection of workshops including – to name a few – Meetings with an Impact, Creating a Killer Portfolio, and Going Big with Lettering. (See the full list)

“DON’T FOLLOW YOUR PASSION,
FOLLOW YOUR EFFORT”

 – Mark Cuban

I decided to spend the bulk of my Friday attending the workshop “How to Start and Build a Profitable Design Business” run by Partner, and Chief Experience Officer of Nine Labs, Brad Weaver.

Brad is the man. Extremely passionate and knowledgable, he offers a direct and sometimes sobering playbook on what it takes to become a successful and sane creative owner. That sane part is crucial! He breaks it down into some key steps, and while he peppers in basics of getting up and running – like registering for a corporation, tax IDs, etc. – the real meat of his talk focuses on becoming profitable. This includes tips for building out your network, calculating shop costs, price bracketing, contracts, all things I found truly helpful. And while I walked out feeling encouraged that I’m doing a fair amount the right way, I did feel there are some things I could be doing to sharpen up my operations. My key takeaways were not only reassessing my value, but making sure I’m locked in on my shop costs, so I can work towards increasing profits. I got a ton out of this workshop and encourage anyone thinking of starting a creative shop to check it out. If you can’t get out to see one of his talks live, don’t worry, the dude wrote a book on it!

To learn more about Brad, you can check out ninelabs.com, follow him on Instragram (@bradweaver) or other social sites (@sbradweaver)

Weapons of Mass Creation
A few of my favorite speakers from this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation. (Left to Right) Jay Wallace, Isabel Urbina Peña, Stefan Sagmeister, Jillian Adel

Speakers

One thing that sets WMC apart from some of the bigger conferences is the speaker schedule. Instead of trying to jam as many talks as possible into the weekend they left a bit of breathing room, which meant I could pretty much see everything I wanted throughout Saturday and Sunday. Nice!

“SO MUCH OF THE CRAFT IS MUSCLE MEMORY”

– Sean Starr

Bright and early Saturday morning I decided to check out “Coffee With a Sign Painter,a Q&A with legendary sign painter Sean Starr (@starrstudiostx). I went honestly just because I was curious and turns out he’s not only crazy talented but a really awesome down-to-earth guy who’s been doing this forever. He’s a craftsman who’s spent years perfecting his trade, and takes it really seriously. I loved hearing his story, his process. It was just refreshing to hear a creative craftsman talk so passionately about his trade. Bonus: I added a new documentary to my queue, “Sign Painters: The Film” which Sean is a part of.

“LIFE IS GOOD, WORK IS HARD”

– Jillian Adel

Next up was art director and letterer, Jillian Adel (@jillianbadel). I’ve been a fan of Jillian’s work since we connected back in 2015, right around the time she relocated from NY to LA. Her story, entitled The Upside of Frustration, centered around getting sick and tired with her daily grind and “boys club” surroundings in New York and deciding to reboot, invest in herself, and move to California. It’s a very brave, very inspiring story. She talked a lot about getting started, putting a ton of energy into marketing herself, and figuring out who she was and what kind of creative work she wanted to do. Great talk! She’s awesome person and a wildly talented creative. You can find more about Jillian Adel over at her site.

“IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO IT RIGHT,
WHEN ARE YOU GONNA HAVE TIME TO FIX IT?”

– Jeral Tidwell

Jeral Tidwell (@artboytidwell) was the next speaker of the day and is a well-known illustrator who gained a ton of notoriety in the 80s and 90s from his work in the skateboard scene (Or as he likes to say, making money drawing a skull, eating a skull, eating another skull). I walked in a few minutes late, but got the sense he was just going to wing it. The title of his talk was Copyright, Analog Art, and Thinking Like a Bad Ass but you could tell almost immediately he wasn’t going to stick to that. To hear him tell it, he decided to speak more candidly after walking around Ink Wars the night before, and hearing folks saying things like, “I would never be able to do that,” “I’m too scared,” and “Wow! They’re so talented, I can’t do that.” All those moments of insecurity bouncing around the crowd made him stop and think, so he decided to shift things a bit and use his platform to address it. He admits his “I’m too stupid to know any better” approach to work/life has done right by him, and spent the majority of his talk using that philosophy to encourage everyone to not let fear get in the way. “Stop saying can’t, forget about what everybody else thinks, and just go off and be a bad-ass!”

The back half of his talk focused on his current journey after another wild idea. After years of being a successful illustrator, he and his wife are now building a free art school in an under-served area in Louisville, KY. They sold their house, moved into this vacant 15,000 Sq. ft. warehouse, and are working their asses off to create this public space. Here’s a guy that just decided he wanted to do something good in the world and instead of overthinking it to death and talking himself out of it, he just said “Fuck it” and is now working to make it happen. How inspiring is that?!

Amazing talk. Raw and extremely empowering. Despite the fact that he was spinning through this stuff as it came to him – or at least that’s the way he framed it – it was really well put together.  You can follow Jeral on Instagram and check out his work site Humantree.com. Hopefully he’ll add some progress updates in the near future as the school project develops.

“FIND A PROFIT IN YOUR PASSION”

– Mark Brickey

Mark Brickey (@Markbrickey) hosts a podcast called Adventures in Design and his “Staying Free as a Freelancer” talk focused on finding a profit in your passion. After years of working as a successful freelancer, he took a step back and realized how frustrated and overworked he had become, basically feeling like he traded in one boss for twenty. So he set a new goal of becoming client-free and walked us through the three C’s that helped him – calculator, calendar and checklist. Now Mark makes a living hosting the AID podcast as he travels the world talking to successful independent creatives who have carved out their own paths.

“THE DAY I GOT FIRED,
I WAS ON MY WAY TO A JOB INTERVIEW”

– Jay Wallace

The Stake Is High” was my first talk of the day on Sunday and featured Jay Wallace (@JayGWallace), an Ohio-based designer, illustrator currently working for the MLS Soccer team, Columbus Crew SC. Jay shared his short, sweet, and sharp personal success story about transitioning from side work to doing what he loves full-time. What really resonated with me about Jay’s story was his mantra about never settling and staying hungry. Even if you’re at a job you like and have settled into, reminding yourself that “This is not my end-game, this is not the end of the line for me.” There is nothing wrong with constantly challenging yourself to do the next thing and Jay definitely walks that walk. Do yourself a favor and check out his work, I have a feeling he’s destined to do great things.

“LET’S BRING BEAUTY BACK”

– Stefan Sagmeister

I’m going to out myself and confess that up until this year I had no idea who Stefan Sagmeister (@stefansagmeister) was. Having a background in film, I sometimes find myself in a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to the design world. Turns out this guy is a design rock-star. He’s been doing it a really long time (including a long run in design for the music industry) and has become extremely influential. I first heard of Stefan and his firm Sagmeister & Walsh through his documentary “The Happy Film” which premiered at 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. I loved the mission of the film and was very much hoping his talk would cover some similar ground. He did not disappoint, and was by far my favorite speaker of the conference. His talk was on Why Beauty Matters and focused on the importance of not only looking for beauty but how is makes us feel. Not just in terms of our quality of life (Eg. searching for things that are beautiful, finding meaning in beauty) but also in how we translate that into our own creative work. Honestly, there’s too much to try and cover here, so I’m planning on a separate post. He also has an ongoing photo series where he celebrates the beauty of album art and posts daily shots of four covers from his personal collection to his Instagram account. Definitely worth the follow.

“FOCUS ON BEING BETTER,
BIGGER WILL HAPPEN ON ITS OWN”

– LL Bean

Wilson Revehl’s (@wilsonrevehl) talk about Go Media’s Best/Worst Year used the story of Moby Dick to illustrate the trials and tribulations his design shop went through pursuing a high-profile international client. Stocked with both professional and personal life-lessons, Wilson did an excellent job despite the heavy subject matter. I’m sure all small business owners can relate to his story as we’ve all that “What if we land this huge client? moment. “Should we take it on? Can we quickly scale or should we stick with our slow and steady approach?” And while it was definitely sobering at times, he offered up some wonderful advice, shared some empowering moments and left me with a ton of great takeaways. You can find more out about Wilson and Go Media over at their site. 

“WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DECIDE TO IGNORE THE CONCEPT
OF WHAT SOMETHING “IS” OR “SHOULD BE”…

– Isabel Urbina Peña

Artist and type designer Isabel Urbina Peña (@Bellera) closed out WMC 7 with a beautiful talk entitled “Everyone Else was Already Taken,” which included highlights from her journey from Venezuela to New York, finding her design style and eventually discovering a unique way to present her work to the world. It was very refreshing to hear that while most of us spend our time creating for ourselves and clients, it’s almost as important to focus on presenting that work in a way that enhances the personality of the project. You can find out more about Isabel over at her beautiful site.

The Dropbox Vendor Village, located in the lobby of the State Theatre.
The Dropbox Vendor Village, located in the lobby of the State Theatre.

Vendor Village

The Dropbox Vendor Village was an overwhelming gathering of inspiring creatives, all of which were super cool. Great conversations with a ton of killer creative folks doing amazing work. Highlights for me included:

Snakes + Aceys –  On top of being awesome people, Hannah and Anthony of Snakes + Aceys also create incredible apparel and posters.  I grabbed their “Land of the Free” tee as well as their Weapon of Choice poster series created for WMC.

The National Poster Retrospecticus – Based out of Austin and featuring more than 400 hand-printed posters by over 125 of the most prominent poster designers in the USA, the NPR tour was alone worth the price of admission. Not to mention, JP and Andy are hilarious. I picked up two prints from Daniel Danger, a Primus 2015 tour poster and the Retrospecticus Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tour poster from 2014.

Charlie Wagers  – Another super talented artist who creates gig posters and enamel pins through his co-venture, Lost Lust Supply Co.  I picked up his gorgeous Ray Lamontagne tour poster, and a couple of his enamel pins.

Eleven by Seventeen – Keith is a poster designer who’s recently branched out into the world of alternate move posters, very much like myself. So obviously we became best friends. Super great guy.

Also this…

Letterpressing prints with Cranky PressmanTons of awesome swag from Jakprints including some delicious creative juice • Hands on screenprinting of a WMC shirt courtesy of Real Thread • Jeff Finley and his Starseed Supply Co. • Flying destroyer disk by OK Pants • The super ladies representing Cleveland’s economic development program.

When planning your trip to WMC 8, definitely be sure to bring a little extra spending money, because I guarantee you’re going to find something at the Vendor Village that’s a must have.

Weapons of Mass Creation
Ink Wars 2016 Champ Katia Oloy (@ekoloy) in the midst of creating her masterpiece.

Parties, Podcasts and other highlights

  • Crashed the VIP party on Friday night in order to be a guest on Bryan’s live recording of We Are Weapons. Listen to it! 
  • Watched in awe as a group of talented illustrators competed in Ink Wars. The theme? A mashup between Superman and the awkward teenage years. In the end, Katia Oloy (@ekoloy) was awarded the prize belt.
  • Attended the live recording of Adventures in Design with Mark Brickey.  The evening’s guests were Jeral Tidwell, Jamal Collins, and the Fest’s Emcee Aaron, better know as Ok Pants. (Side note: Aaron did a terrific job. He’s a Cleveland-based designer and you can check out his stuff here.) The highlight of the night was learning about Jamal Collin’s work with the Boys and Girls club in Cleveland teaching them to things like Photoshop and exposing them to the possibilities of being creative professional. Amazing work. Follow @Jayworking if you want to keep up with the wonderful work Jay’s up to.
  • Teaming up with some other South Jersey natives to take on our dreaded foes up in North at the Jak Prints official after party.

    Weapons of Mass Creation
    Fourth St, Cleveland. Home to a ton of great restaurants including Mabel’s BBQ and Greenhouse Tavern.

    Cleveland Rocks!

    Cleveland is a great town and reminds me of Philly in a lot of ways. Great sports town, awesome food, cool people. Plus Cleveland’s riding high thanks to the Cav’s big win this year, and getting some national love courtesy of hosting the RNC. A few random tidbits:

    Eating a hotdog topped in Mac n Cheese, bacon and fruit loops thanks to Happy Dog • Catching an Indians game at Progressive Field (They played Wild Thing!!) • Walking around the spectacular venues at Playhouse Square • Heading over to 4th street and grabbing some wings @ Greenhouse Tavern (No, I didn’t try the pig’s head)

    Wrap it up Gary

    Bottom line, I would encourage anyone that’s a creative looking to learn, be inspired and hang out with tons of like-minded folks to check out Weapons of Mass Creation next year. Somehow – surprisingly –  they’re struggling a bit to stay alive and I think it’s because of their grassroots approach. They’ve done a great job of keeping the conference small and intimate without help from huge corporate sponsors, and while that makes the festival extremely special, it also puts some financial strain. So please do whatever you can to support them. It’s a very worthwhile design conference put on by an amazing group of people and I could not recommend it more.

    To learn more, donate, sign up for email updates or see if there’s a way to get involved, head over to wmcfest.com.

———————-

Thanks to Gary from Variant for this incredible write-up! Please visit Gary over at his official site, or get social with him over at his Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. – the WMC Fest team

Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs

Inspiration of the Day: Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs

Located here in the heart of Cleveland, we can’t help but to be huge fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sunday, June 19th was a momentous day for our entire city. The curse was indeed reversed and we became the champions we were (kind of) patiently waiting to be. We’re still high on life over here and the following designs have us feeling even more so.

Found on Behance and Dribbble, shout-out to our fellow designers for their incredible talent. Note: header art by: Magdalena Orpych

Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
2016 NBA Champions – Cleveland Cavaliers by Joe Caione
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
2016 NBA Finals Game 4 Matchup Graphic by Joe Caione
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
The Chosen One by Patrick Ellasos
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
Game 7 by Magdalena Orpych
JR Swish by Brady Patterson
JR Swish by Brady Patterson
Cleveland Cavaliers - NBA Champs by Fisher Adkins
Cleveland Cavaliers – NBA Champs by Fisher Adkins
cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers by Tong
ESPN: NBA Finals illustration
ESPN: NBA Finals illustration by Oliver Barrett
Curse Reversed by Tom Johnson
Curse Reversed by Tom Johnson
Official NBA Project: Final Render by Gavin Campbell
Official NBA Project: Final Render by Gavin Campbell
LeBron James by Yann Dalon
LeBron James by Yann Dalon
Glory of the King by Henry Han
Glory of the King by Henry Han
LeBron Dunk by Dan Noakes
LeBron Dunk by Dan Noakes
LeBron James by Alessandro Pautasso
LeBron James by Alessandro Pautasso
Ohio Against the World by Brady Patterson
Ohio Against the World by Brady Patterson
New Cleveland Cavaliers by Tom Galmarini
New Cleveland Cavaliers by Tom Galmarini
LeBron James – Redeemed Nike Poster by Michael Bower
LeBron James – Redeemed Nike Poster by Michael Bower
Eastern Conference Champs by Joe Caione
Eastern Conference Champs by Joe Caione
The Return by Dave Szalay
The Return by Dave Szalay
Painting • Kyrie Irving • by Mattia Iurlano
Painting • Kyrie Irving • by Mattia Iurlano
NBA "All In For Cleveland" T-Shirt by Tak Wong
NBA “All In For Cleveland” T-Shirt by Tak Wong
There’s no place for two kings by Vladislav Lakshe