Learning design in any medium takes time, but ultimately, clear thought and vision will differentiate “me too” work from the sublime. While every designer should learn the essentials of their craft and work to acquire the requisite skills, it is equally important to endeavor to challenge ourselves and find means of inspiration. Here are five lists of five of the best Instagram accounts which I recommend as potential inspiration for your work, to challenge you to think differently, or expand your aesthetic understanding.
Leaders in design
Five designers, or design firms, to learn from. As Michael Bierut says, “hijack your mentors.” Follow their Instagram’s but also have them mentor you. Michael Bierut is the greatest logo designer currently working; his philosophy on logos will change the way you think about them. His work for clients like MIT Media Labs is an education in and of itself.
Among other notables are Aaron Draplin and The Studio. Draplin’s “vectors are free” is a tip that will save young designers. The Studio’s H&M Typography might be the most beautiful typeface ever created and they also know how to deploy it.
Start with a grid
Grids, grids, and more grids. Thinking in terms of grids and the three basic shapes — square, triangle, circle — constitutes a challenge. Learn to think in terms of shapes and master Adobe Illustrator’s shape builder tool and you can rule the world.
Developing an aesthetic is a skill; proper use of colors, conveying movement, etc. all take time to learn. Aggregations of Instagram’s best can inspire your design.
Designing a logo may be the hardest thing one can undertake. It requires clear thought, simplicity, and cannot be trendy. Not everyone can do it, but watching others and understanding what a logo is can be the best education in the craft.
Finally, five that inspire me everyday. Daily Minimal changed the way I think about design. Kinfolk’s aesthetic is second to none, Vitsœ is Dieter Rams to the max, and Malika Favre’s work is awe inspiring. Then there’s Little Mountain Print Shoppe, the reason I became a designer.
If you appreciate the recommendations on the list and want to follow one more Instagram you can follow my work @nathan_dawdy_design.