You probably know this feeling…you sit down, ready to start designing a logo for your client and…nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The logo design inspiration fountain runneth dry.
If that sounds like you (sometimes), you’re definitely not alone. It’s something all creatives struggle with, which is why we have terms like writer’s block and designer’s block.
And if you are hit with designer’s block, sitting there stewing about it is rarely the best way to approach the situation. So to that end, let’s go through some tips for where to get logo design inspiration when you need help. I’ll split the list into two parts:
- A list of websites where you can get design inspiration
- Some non-website tips to help get the creative juices flowing
What’s The Line Between Inspiration and Plagiarism?
I want to lead with this because it’s a hot debate whenever the topic of inspiration comes up. My take is this:
If you have to ask the question, you’re probably leaning towards plagiarism.
Inspiration should be about using an existing idea to inspire a new idea. It’s not rote copying.
While not all of my tips involve looking at other people’s work, I think it’s important to consider because you always want to stay respectful of the work and creativity of others, even if you draw on it for inspiration.
The Big Tip: Logo Design Inspiration Websites
The Internet has left us spoiled for choice when it comes to logo design inspiration. Beyond the ability to instantly pull up any brand’s logo from pretty much any point in history, there are whole websites dedicated to providing you with an easily filterable gallery of logo inspiration.
Below, I’ll take you through some of the best options when it comes to inspiration sites.
Behance and Dribbble
I lumped these two together because I’m guessing you’re already familiar with them if you’re a graphic designer.
While it’s not all logos, you can find plenty of logo inspiration by simply searching for something like “logo”.
Rather than opting for any type of filter, Logospire is one long infinite scroll of logo design inspiration. You just keep scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling. Until you find one that catches your eye.
The sheer volume of logos flashing by is a good way to break free of a design funk.
Logopond is the opposite of Logospire. Instead of one long feed, you can search for logos by both title and tag. Then, you can further refine your queries by categories like:
- Client Work
- WIP (work in progress)
- Student Work
- For Fun
If you want inspiration on a specific topic, it’s a good option for niching down your inspiration sources.
LogoLounge is another inspiration site that focuses on making designs searchable. Currently, LogoLounge offers up more than 260,000+ designs, which should give you ample opportunity to strike inspiration.
To browse all those logos, you can search for keywords and then sort by chronological order.
The only downside? LogoLounge is not free. If you want access to those 260,000+ searchable logos, you’ll need to shell out $100 per year.
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s basically a collection of different topic boards called “Subreddits”. These subreddits cover pretty much every topic in existence. Including…
You can find subreddits for both pure design inspiration, as well as for design critiques that might spark something creative in you. It pays to search around, but some good starter subreddits are:
- Logodesign – all about logo design.
- Designinspire – not updated that frequently but good when it is.
- UnsolicitedRedesigns – a fun concept that might spark something.
Non-website Ideas for Logo Design Inspiration
If the websites alone aren’t lighting a creative fire for you, here are some other ideas to help get the creative juices running.
Brainstorm With a Mind Map
Sometimes it pays to go at things conceptually. Brainstorm ideas, concepts, and aesthetics that apply to the logo. Then use mind mapping to connect associations and find patterns.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of mind mapping as it applies to design, The Graphic Design School put together a great post with some examples of how mind mapping can help spur creativity when it comes to graphic design.
To actually get your thoughts down, you can either use pen and paper or go high tech with a tool like MindMeister.
Doodle it Out
It’s easy to become too focused on creating something “productive”. Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and just let your mind take your design wherever it wants to.
Imagine you’re back in your middle school days just doodling away on your notebook. Even if you don’t find sudden inspiration in the doodles, you’ll still succeed at clearing your mind, which is a win all by itself.
Go For a Walk
I’ve met plenty of designers who swear their best source of inspiration is stepping away from the screen and going for a walk outside, whether that means nature or the city streets. Not only is it another way to take your mind off the issue, but it also opens you up to all sorts of inspiring sights and sounds.
Additionally, a Stanford study found that a “person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.” So walking is actually scientifically proven to make you more creative!
Look to the Past
If your client is an established entity, they may have a back catalog of logos that you can pull inspiration from.
Can you take one of their original concepts and pull it into the modern world? Or maybe an element in their old designs kicks you into gear.
Live to Fight Another Day
If none of the above is working for you – you may just need to completely take a step back and return another day.
Sometimes it’s just not the right time for creative work – and when that happens, there’s no use banging your head against the wall (unless you have an unavoidable deadline, of course).
The array of logo design inspiration websites that have popped up make it easy to quickly draw upon hundreds of thousands of logo examples. But they’re not always an instant source of creative eureka.
Sometimes, it pays to step back and let your mind wander by mind mapping, doodling, going for a walk, or anything else that helps jog your creativity loose.
But as we as know – this is a fairly personal thing. So I’d love to hear from you all. Where do you look for logo design inspiration?
Article thumbnail image by besunnytoo / shutterstock.com