How I Start Every Design Project

Ever project starts with what I consider my *absolute favorite* part of the whole design process: gathering inspiration.

Whether it's going through a previous collection or looking for new places to get content, I always make sure to spend a few days refining the feel right.

A few places I can't get enough of:

1. Dribbble
2. Pinterest
3. Muzli
4. Tumblr
5. Magazines/objects

Each platforms has it's benefits and pitfalls. Pinterest, for example, would require me to begin pinning several items before the algorithm gets the vibe right and serves up similar content. Dribbble is more specifically for design and really cool graphics, and less general inspiration (which is necessary sometimes). Muzli is great in so many ways, but generally is more for articles and individual stories. Tumblr is very much a hodgepodge of content but gets me to open up my mind a bit. And lastly, looking at mags/objects sometimes puts a limit on all the potential on the internet but the tactile nature of it is exactly what a brand requires. Overall, all of them have different ways to find awesome nuggets of beauty to craft the right "mood". So my recommendation is to grab a little from all. 

Here are a few examples of moodboards.

Tight on time? Feel free to grab inspo from me:

Craving freedom? Read this.

Ahhhh, freedom. We all want it. Freedom from being stuck in an office against our will, freedom from location, freedom from mean people, freedom to create more happiness. Of course, I could talk about how technology has allowed more freedom in our lives. But I don't want to talk about that, because there's a big elephant in the room around what really prevents us from feeling free.

I'm talking about freedom from yourself. Freedom from the incessant chatter of your mind, telling you to go in a million different directions but ultimately leading you to nowhere. The you who's not where you want to be, and isn't happy with anything. 

Have you ever traveled somewhere and coming back and realized that the hyenia in your everyday life, in your "normal mind and life" are still living there, much to your demise? Have you ever woken up one day and asked yourself, how on earth did I get here? Of course you have, we all have been there. Myself included.

The key point here is to not continue to blame your past or look downwards upon your future. The past is long gone. Those decisions you made in the past have led you to where you are now. The future has not yet happened so there's really no reason to dwell in that space.

The key of course, is to focus less on the past or future, and more on the here and now. Right now, you're reading this. Right now, you can look about you and see your marvelous body and the light shining through this incredible invention we call a computer. You simply need look around and rather than see all the kitchen plates piling up, or your significant other's weaknesses, or your friend's who are flaking on you, to see what you actually HAVE right now in your life and feel grateful for the little things. It's all the little things that make up the big things (your body included...just consider that you're made of atoms!). The point, my friend, is to seek the beauty in these tinier moments and realize that this is life...this is the flow of life and you're very much a part of it.

The first trick is when you're going down that rabbit hole of negative self talk, to catch yourself. You simply NOTICE that you're thinking these negative thoughts. And you don't stop it, you don't talk down on it, you simply watch it and follow your thought. You continue to watch how you think and quickly you'll realize how unbelievably ridiculous it is. Then, once you've gone along for the ride long enough, ask yourself if you're willing to see everything differently. To say that yes, you're capable of freedom right now. You're capable of peace right now. You're capable of happiness right now, you need just consider the possibility.

Also, if you have something huge in your life that's preventing you from moving into a state of happiness, consider the small things (break it into small pieces) and find more freedom in accomplishing those tasks one at a time. Be willing to tackle the beast by going after its tail first. One thing at a time. Small things at a time. Noticing the pleasure of one thing at a time. Just look about is everywhere. 

The little willingness to see it is all you need.