It’s one thing to be creative. It’s another thing to be a creative, where coming up with ideas is your job. That’s a tall order, requiring fresh ways of thinking and the know-how to take ideas from hypothetical concept to reality. Throw in tight deadlines, complex projects, and clients who demand the best—oh, you thought being creative was easy?
Definitely not. But there are plenty of talented people who create amazing things every day, and they do it through hard work, lots of coffee, and a few key sources of inspiration. We spoke with the people behind some of the best work on the Internet, like Amanda Clelland, Creative Director at Barton F. Graf, Chris James, Executive Creative Director at BBDO Clemenger, and more on what tools they rely on to keep the good ideas flowing.
Executive Creative Director at BBDO Clemenger
James has a full roster of sites he likes to visit for inspiration, including Creative Review, Dribbble, Creativepool.com, and The Daily by L2inc. Other favorites include PSFK, which he calls “a constant source of inspiration” because it “pushes conceptual thinking into spaces that make us creatives feel uncomfortable.”
He also has some go-to websites for more specific inspiration. For help with chatbots, he heads to Chatbot’s Life. “When I need a little bot inspiration this is currently my geek out destination,” he says.
Another favorite is Type Token. “I like to relive my past life as a typographer,” he says. “I can be often found sipping a cold beer whilst reminiscing about beautiful typography.”
Executive Creative Director @Huge
For image inspo, Nolan heads to writer, photographer, and DIY fashion designer Ava Nirui’s Instagram, where she has amassed an impressive following for her off-the-wall reimaginings of designer clothing.
Nolan also looks to a number of websites for good reads, like The Intercept and The Outline, keeps up with trend forecasts via the WGSN daily email, and finds stellar visuals at jjjjound.com and siteInspire.
Creative Director at Barton F. Graf
Clellend first checks in at a few top-notch lifestyle sites for inspiration, including MessyNessyChic, which she describes as “a mood board of information for just about anything from life & style to travel & food recommendations.”
Nowness is another lifestyle-with-an-artistic-twist site she likes. It’s “an award-winning movement for creative excellence in storytelling” that covers a wide range of topics from art and design to travel.
And finally, Buzzfeed. Yep, that’s right—although it’s easy to get lost in “What Kind of Cereal Are You?” quizzes, for Clelland, the site is a great resource for the latest news and to see what everyone’s sharing on social media.
Director of Business Development at Mother
Unlike the others listed here, Roan approaches creativity from a business angle: “I'm genuinely inspired by some of the seismic shifts driving the business of creativity,” he says. For starters, he likes L2's weekly "Winners and Losers" video roundup and the Digiday Podcast hosted by Ben Morrissey. “He's great at pushing beyond the PR talking points and asking the tough questions,” says Roan.
Roan subscribes to a pair of newsletters for inspiration as well. In his inbox you’ll find the Benedict Evans Newsletter (“Indispensable reading for anyone interested in where the market is going”) and the REDEF Newsletters (“If you're going to read any ‘curated’ newsletters, make it these”).
To round things out, he also keeps an eye on the Twitter feed of Matt Powell, Sports Industry Analyst at The NPD Group. “He provides a singular point-of-view on sports, fashion, music, and culture all through the lense of footwear,” says Roan. “He's a great example of a holistic, integrated thinker.”