Graphic design is a creative endeavor in many ways. Like any artistic work, it is easy to get burned out and run out of fresh ideas. It is important to refill the creative well from time to time, as Julia Cameron, author of “The Artist’s Way,” would advise.
One way you can refill your creative well and gain some inspiration for your own unique designs is by visiting sites that are unique and artistic. While there are hundreds of destinations available, nine stand out as most inspiring to graphic designers.
1. The Design Museum, London
The Design Museum is located in Kensington. The museum focuses on many different aspects of design, including graphic design, product design, architecture and fashion. The museum hosts an annual competition for designs from that year. The exhibits change often, so each visit will bring fresh inspiration. The museum also offers courses and workshops to learn from experts in their industry.
2. Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland
Fogo Island Inn is a remote hotel in Newfoundland, so you can get away from the busyness of life and recharge in nature a bit. The building itself has an interesting design, rising from a rocky, snow-covered landscape and resembling a square icicle on stilts.
The island has seven different seasons, and is warm in the summer and cold in the winter. The island is off the northeast coast of Newfoundland in Canada. The entire island only has about 2,395 residents. It is known for plants and wildlife. If nature inspires you, then this is a definite must on your inspirational bucket list.
3. New York City Subways
If you take a trip to New York City, you might expect to visit the Museum of Modern Art, or perhaps peruse statues and bridge architecture for inspiration. Have you ever considered the subway for inspiration? Take the time to ride on the subway and you’ll see art all around you.
The subway itself is adorned with advertising, which is a form of design. The interior of the subway system is a design feat in itself, as is the mapping of the subways. You’ll also find street art in and around the city, which can inspire you to add big block lettering to your own designs to give them a youthful vibe.
4. Las Pozas Sculpture Garden, Xilitla, Mexico
Las Pozas Sculpture Garden is located in Xilitla in central Mexico. If you’re up for a trek through the rainforests, studying this sculpture is something that may trigger new ideas for your designs. At a minimum, you’ll be awestruck and refreshed from the trip.
The sculptures are part of an estate built in the 1930s and ‘40s. The grounds are located on over 80 acres and include natural waterfalls and concrete and metal sculptures amid a variety of indigenous plants.
5. Icehotel, Sweden
There is something breathtaking about ice and the way it forms into crystal clear, glistening perfection. No other design quite captures the beauty of ice the way that the Icehotel in Sweden does. Although the hotel takes visitors year round, during the coldest months of the year, the hotel brings in artists to sculpt everything from ice chandeliers to an ice bar to ice bedrooms.
It is basically a hotel and art exhibit in one. It is located in the Swedish village Jukkasjarvi and is a mere couple hundred kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
6. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the capital of South Korea and is known for its mix of imposing skyscrapers set amid Buddhist temples and street markets. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza features some of the best design in history. Statues of Buddha still reside in the city, gazing at skyscrapers of modern design.
7. Fairhope, Alabama
When you think about destinations you should visit, a small town in Alabama may not come immediately to mind. However, this little town started as an artists’ colony and continues to inspire creatives to this day. The city is located right on Mobile Bay.
Be sure to visit Main Street, where there are unique little shops with local artist offerings. As a bonus, if you want to take along your canine companion, dogs are welcome in Fairhope. Many of the shops keep out bowls for visiting dogs.
8. Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain
Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain is an outdoor wooden canopy that shades a street market and square. The structure was designed by a German architect and measures 85 feet high. It looks like a giant wooden mushroom and has four different levels.
In the basement is an aquarium. The ground level is the Central Market, with the market in the fresh air but the structure offering shade. The roof is an open-air plaza where events are held. At the very top of the structure are some terraces offering views and a restaurant. The unique design shows that you can make something functional even out of a design that appears dysfunctional.
9. Mustangs by Robert Glen, Las Colinas, Texas
Mustangs by Robert Glen is a sculpture you must see if you’re looking for ideas on how to show movement in your art. Texas is known for its wild mustangs, and the statue is a symbol of that time in the state’s history. While the fountain is a good place to start your journey, there is an entire museum devoted to how Glen created his mustangs and his process as an artist. The museum is directly across from the fountain. You’ll also find more sculptures of all sizes there by the same artist.
More Places for Graphic Designers to Visit
There are hundreds of sites you could visit, museums to traipse through and inspiration to be found all around the world. These nine destinations are a good place to free your creative juices and find something to admire in what other artists create. Perhaps one of these destinations is a day trip for you.
The key to being a designer who grows and becomes more inventive year after year is to open yourself to learning new things. Find artists to inspire that you might not have considered. Don’t overlook any type of art. There is something to be learned from everything around you.