Design inspiration from the real world

Published by Nela Dunato on in Inspiration

Burgundy leather purse and gloves
Oh look, my purse matches my web site!

I had the idea for my web site design for a looong time. I had wireframes sketched out, my character drawing, and the only thing left to do before I started seriously working on my design was picking out a color scheme. I wanted to use my favourite colors, which are black, red and purple. I had a black & red scheme already on In Obscuro, so I thought purple would be nice for this, with beige text and contrasting elements.

This purse I bought recently answered my dilemma. It has both dark violet and dark red shades (burgundy and maroon), which I love wearing and they look great together.

Other things around my apartment started popping up. For example… these books that are over a hundred years old:

Old books, Jules Verne

And of course, my sketchbooks.

Sketchbooks bookmarks

And more stuff, like these velvet pillows…

Red velvet pillows

And various dark red cardboard boxes with flourish patterns.

Red flourish cardboard boxes

Oh, and even my slippers! With the purple socks of course.

Burgundy flourish slippers

Hmmm I don’t think I ever wore these two shirts together… it was about time I started, right?

Red sweater over a purple turtleneck

Of course that I’m in no way original in using this particular color scheme, or the emulation of physical materials such as textile tags, paper etc. – and I’ve certainly been using them myself for years on my various projects. The “step away from the computer” mantra has been repeated over and over on design inspiration sites. I’m not offering a brand new perspective here. This is just my collection of “behind the scenes” photos that I thought might be fun to share.

Create your personal branding

I wanted to highlight the point that if you’re making your new personal portfolio site or promotional materials, the best place to look around and find design inspiration is in your own home. That way the design will be infused by you.

Personal branding doesn’t end with your logo and website. It doesn’t end with the language you use when you’re writing e-mails to your clients, either. I used to think that it did, and what I do in my personal time doesn’t affect my clients at all. But the way I see personal branding now, it’s about accurately representing your best traits and personal style, so that you may attract the very people who will accept you as you are.

The term “personal branding” sounds a bit icky, doesn’t it? It implies a mask, a packaging… and we know what branding means for companies. You tailor a desired image, and then make all the products, visuals and language in line with the brand. Personal branding as described in self-help books is often portrayed that way – make a persona, and play it. Change your posture. Change your wardrobe. Change your language.

That’s not what I meant when I say one should make a personal brand. I’m saying we should turn it on its head and do vice versa – produce products, and use visuals and language that are so you.


Some blog articles contain affiliate links to products on Amazon or Jackson's Art Supplies. I’ll get paid a few cents if you buy something using my link, and there’s no extra charge to you.

8 responses to “Design inspiration from the real world”

  1. Thank you so much for this post about personal branding and design ideas from the real world. Sometimes it´s this easy and we all might forget about the stuff, we have at home, to develop our personal branding not only for business purpose. Thanks again and keep doing it- there are so much thoughts to check out here.

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