5 Books to Help You Break Out of Your Creative Envelope

Universal Principles of Design
125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler

Universal Principals of Design

If one book exists that can help you step out of a design rut, this is it. Now, when I refer to design, I mean real design from start to finish, not just producing a piece of work based on a spec. The book is essentially a textbook, but it does a great job of getting you back to the fundamentals. So, instead of obsessing over why your color swatch is not working, you think bigger picture about why your overall approach is not working. Anyone who has gone to school for anything from graphic design to interface design has probably already learned most of the concepts in this book, but it is a great way to get yourself back to basics if you haven’t been in class for a while.

A Growing Collection of Director Wes Anderson’s Bold Color Palettes

When it comes to making films, there are few who include more design elements than Wes Anderson. One of the most striking tools he uses is color. His craftily arranged scenes (which are mostly symmetrical) are infused with imaginative palettes we don’t see in most of today’s films. Like the Beyoncé palette inspiration we covered not long ago, this is a fantastic source of inspiration for any project.

Western Films Are Brown and Dusty, Right? This Color Analysis Says We’re Wrong.

A little while ago Kevin Ferguson went on a western film viewing binge. When he was done he’d seen 50 of the classic cowboy movies, a whole lot of John Wayne and a lot of riding off into the sunset. His western obsession didn’t end there. Intrigued by the color in each film, he compressed its imagery into a single frame – an analysis of its form and light. Each of his ‘summed images’ reveal the color palette, mood and dominant framing technique that make a film’s running length.

Need Color Inspiration? Take Some Tips from Beyoncé

Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. If you need more convincing, just take a look at the entrancing little blog Beyoncé Palettes. Here the singer’s many, many photographs are used as the source for inspired color palettes which harmonize with Queen Bey herself. Whether you’re painting the kid’s room, designing an event website, or searching for a look to set your latest poster apart, this creative exercise is a great example for any designer.

Blind Painter Uses Texture of Paint and His Sense of Touch to Create Vivid Paintings

Before going blind at age 30 due to epilepsy, John Bramblitt had never even painted before. Now he has published 2 books on painting, gives speeches at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and makes a living off of his colorful paintings. He claims to see more color now that he is blind than he did in his 29 years with vision.

A 1000-Piece CMYK Color Gamut Puzzle (With Each Piece a Different Hue)

If you’re obsessed with colors you’re in for a treat. It has been called “part objet d’art, part meditative practice,” Clemens Habicht’s puzzle consists of 1000 pieces, all with an individual hue from the CMYK color gamut.

Is It “Crimson” Or “Sangria”? Consult The Color Thesaurus

Anyone who has purchased a can of house paint or a bottle of nail polish knows that there is more than one way to say “red.” To keep track of the various synonyms for common colors, author and artist Ingrid Sundberg created her own Color Thesaurus.

Colorful Expressions of Motion and Emotion: Ballet Dancers Amidst Explosions of Color

So much emotion can be conveyed through the movement of the body. Ballet dancers have the ability to make us laugh and cry without saying a single word. While watching the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dancers in motion, photographer Jana Cruder was inspired to add color to the mix. The dancers added colored cornstarch to their graceful poses and with Cruder behind the lens magic was created. Although Cruder and the dancers might tell a different story of how challenging and messy it was to get these shots, the images turned out vibrant and elegant, looking almost like computer generated special effects. We have a small sample of the images here, but you can see the rest of this gorgeous photo set here.

Inka Matthew Matches Miniature Everyday Objects to Pantone Swatches

You can’t not live under the influence of Pantone. Their catalogue of colors is the biggest inspiration for even the smallest things in our world.

Designer Inka Matthew decided to focus on those tiny tones that often go unnoticed in her project, Tiny PMS Match.

Fluid Graffiti Portraits by Noé Pauporté

Emerging from swirls and splatters, and vibrantly colored geometric patterns, come realistic portraits. Born in 1985, Noé Pauporté has been drawing since he could hold a pencil, but he didn’t hone his overlapping character graffiti on canvas until 1998. The self-taught artist studied at the foundation for Fine Art in Brussels paints both realistic and imaginary characters using varying techniques such as acrylic, ink, bomb, Posca, pencil, and oil paint. He focuses mostly on living creatures in his artworks, humans especially. He also composes electronic music under the name KhromaSoma.