form inspiration

I’m kind of stuck in a form finding rut. Anyone with good suggestions for form inspiration?

some random thoughts :slight_smile: :

The moment of piercing (sharp meets soft… stress and stretch lines etc)

layering, clustering, or patterns (for some reason I’m phobic to but strangely obsessed by caterpillar eggs at the moment)

anti-surface (achieved with optical effects or natural materials)

it’s late …

Look for mathematical forms in nature, a good start is Romanesco Broccoli

Go to an art museum.
Go on a nature hike.
Go to some art galleries.

Sit on a busy corner and watch people.

start with a different medium you’re used to. If you’re used to sketching on paper first try 3D rendering or clay modeling. I look at design blogs for inspiration, usually save the pictures of designs that intrigues me onto my hard drive and browse through them once in awhile. Look at nature stuff, small microbacteria size things, deep under water creatures, repeating patterns. Go back to basics and practice piercing, cradling, wedging, dominant, subordinate exercises.

Grab some beer and get drunk.

Don’t think.


Art in nature… nature documentaries are full of forms and design through evolution.

Sculpture can be full of form inspiration. Cloud Gate in Chicago was a big influence on the form of one of my designs

Also, geometric patterns can be found in the most obscure places.

I remember one of my tutor saying “how would you describe soft to someone who can’t see or feel?”

try that


or try a Pollock

just write down list of characteristics with regards to …
product /user/environment
tries to develop the forms/explorations…with single or multiple characters.

wouldn’t generating moodboards help you find a form.

Identify your target market, your age range and then look for products within that category. then throw the damn thing out when you realize its a waste of time and you have a decent form.

Just take your mind off it, like when pooping, if you push to hard you get piles.

Go to coroflot !
Look at some portfolios for inspiration

good point. I’m on there almost everyday just to see what is new. Important to stay up on what is happening. Just as important is staying up on totally non design related things. Think of inspiration like a pantry. When it is time to cook, your pantry has to be stocked. If you have to go out shopping before you cook, you are delaying the meal.

another good suggestion is to start an image collection for inspiration on your computer. every time you come across something neat, save the pic. that way, over time, you build up a compendium of stuff to look at. I currently have over 15,000 pics of shoes (i’m a shoe designer), 3,000 photos and graphics and more (portfolio sketches from others, etc.). built up over 8+ years. I’m always adding to it, and make a new Lightroom catalog to go through the pics for each project so I can pick out select inspiration images for quick review.


I think this is an excellent suggestion. Like most of us, I have project files, but I also continually drop inspiration images in these files as I come across images that are pertinent, even when the project is over. Chances are I’ll do something similar at some point, so having the reference on hand is nice… when is that terabyte flash memory laptop coming out?

Go to coroflot !
Look at some portfolios for inspiration

I do this often myself. But i never find myself saving anyones work, i keep the influence and the appriciation when i look at it not to print and investigate.

When im working though i try to not take references unless it involves a layout compsotion with known objects to support it, which probably might be a bad idea when your knowledge isnt upto date, effecting proportions etc, but the outcome is mostly unique because i did not think of a particular model of inspiration.

Taking image inspiration is the best way forward, but taking a short walk in a familiar place and trying to find little differences in details also helps.

Go on a bike ride, and photograph things that jump out to you. For a project recently I had a few words to go from and photographed things that reminded me of those, helped me start my form ideas. Nature really is one of the best inspirations I have found.