Inspiration: Design Ideas For New Projects

It can sometimes be difficult for graphic designers to find inspiration for new clients – especially when it is an industry you have not explored much in the past and have little knowledge about.

Looking for inspiration for your graphic designs can also be a time-consuming task and eat into your fee. Sometimes it’s a better option to think abstract and see what surfaces. Here are some ideas we’d like to throw into the ether. See how these work out for you.

Use geometric shapes

geometricGeometric patterns are nature’s own design. There are five principle shapes from which all other patterns can be made from – square, circle, triangle, cross and spiral. Because they are natural patterns and often symmetrical, the human eye instinctively finds them appealing and they communicate to the subconscious.

If you are designing a logo, always use geometric shapes. These are the building blogs to the most effective logos – which is why all the major companies use geometric shapes, usually inspired by the artwork of ancient alchemists.

Designs from world cultures

Design concepts inspired form other parts of the world can do wonders for your graphic designs. Some people will be drawn to a symbol from another culture because they are familiar with, whilst others may be curious to know what it is. Other cultures can appear exotic and intriguing.

When you are using symbols and cultural visuals from other nations, you do have to be careful to avoid stereotypes or use the symbol out of context or it could offend people of the host nation – and cultural appropriation is hot gossip that can reflect negatively on a brand.

The stitch-in-text effect

stitched-effectIf you need to go for a modern design that requires an edge of sophistication, but appeals to a wide audience, the life-like features of the stitch-in-text works very well. You do need to choose this design wisely though.

It obviously works well with fashion, but may be considered too cliché or even a clash, so why not use it more artistically and create a brand label for a client you can imagine wearing on your clothes as a statement of expression such as a food item or sport – something that represents a person’s identity. To design a stitch-in-text check out this tutorial.

Transparent backgrounds

We’re big fans of transparent backgrounds. They are a cheat sheet for making bright and busy designs look less confusing and easier on the eye. When images are feature-rich and overwhelming, they need toning out a little.

For example, let’s say your client wants a colourful floral arrangement in the background or multiple items that cause visual chaos. These type of feature-rich displays can be masked over by using a semi-transparent second layer. It doesn’t hide the main features, but tones down the glare.

If you do need inspiration for your graphic designs on a regular basis, we recommend checking out Pinterest – and if you want to follow particular designers you feel drawn towards, check out these tips from the guys over at canva.

How To Enhance Brand Image By Promoting Brand Culture

Modern consumers don’t want to be sold stuff. If they want to buy something they will make their own decision. And the choice of company they choose to purchase from is the brand they resonate with the most.

It is therefore important to establish and a brand identity, and to build your image it is important reveal a brand culture. Let customers know what is happening behind the scenes and introduce them to your company in the real world rather than a faceless corporation with a snazzy logo.

Brand personality

To win over the attention of customers, you need a brand personality. This comes across in the voice of your content, but can also be promoted through branded content that provides customers with an insight to your business activities and events.

When you have a party, post pictures on your social media accounts with some witty captions that make people chuckle. Show your customers that you are responsible, but know how to have fun. Obviously make sure the images and stories reflect your brand so choose a suitable setting to host your party.

Introduce your staff

Although it is a good idea to introduce the key members of your team on the about us page, the little blurb box does not reveal too much. So showcase your staff in blogs with interview and news reports. You may even want to make a short video.

By that we don’t mean generic posts that say, “Hello, I’m Sam and like to walk my dog.” There has to be a story to tell. Concentrate on achievements and celebrate special events. If someone is running in a marathon or doing charity work drum up interest before the event and get your audience interested to know the results.

Show a humorous side

When people read content, they want to be entertained, so throw a few witty remarks or anecdotes into your blog articles and make the read more enjoyable.

Get customer feedback

To promote a brand culture, you need to be active on social media. So fish for feedback by asking your customers what they want to know about your company.

You can even involve customers to promote your brand culture and your products by asking them how they are finding your product. This could more risqué if the customer has a bad experience so you will need to be confident you will get plenty of positive responses.

Tell your company story

Every company has a story to tell. How did you get to where you are today? Where did you start? A brief history that reads like a Wikipedia entry is boring, so go into more detail and make it interesting.

Talk about your failures and how you overcame adversity or found solutions. When you show you have got grit, determination and ambition, customers will respect and trust you.

It is important that you create a brand image for your online business that people can identify with. Highlighting a brand culture is an effective way to support your marketing efforts and invites your customers to get to know you better.

Photoshop Tips for Lighting Effects

Effective lighting on digital images can have a massive impact on an audience. And Photoshop is a great tool that gives designers numerous options of creating stunning lighting effects that give images visual dynamics.

Lighting plays a vital role in artwork and helps the finished product look visually engaging and feel more alluring. Whether you are using lighting to enhance images, highlight features or just tie a piece together, here are a few ideas you might like to try out.

3-cosmic-lightsLight Streaks

Light streaks have a real digital, futuristic feel to them. They are also versatile and can add drama to images, or when used more subtly will draw attention to detail that you want the viewer’s eye to catch.

All you do to add light streaks is select the pen tool and draw a path for where you want the lines to go. You can find a full explanation for how to include light streaks in your image designs in this tutorial.

Eclipse effectsolar-eclipse

When you want to include a design that is out of the world, the classic eclipse effect is a great choice. Mesmerising, impressive and just downright cool, the eclipse effect is a great design skill to perfect.

The process of designing an eclipse effect may be a little more complicated than other lighting options you have in Photoshop, but for dedicated professional and curious learners, it is worth the effort. Check out this tutorial to learn how.

cool_space_lighting_effect_by_drkzin-d4b9ju8Space lighting effects

If you want to take the space theme one step further then check out these amazing ideas for inspiration. With little application, designers can create images from outer space and design any world you can imagine.

Photoshop enables designers to create planets, exploding nebulas, star systems and any other intergalactic image you like. If you really want to impress your audience, space lighting effects work a treat.

Luminescent lines

Luminescent linesAnybody that has used a computer is probably familiar with the luminescent lines on screensavers, but designers can put them to much better use by including them in ads or on web designs.

Glowing energy lines give glossy ads a powerful effect that make the image stand out and guides the eyes of the viewers to the features you want them to notice. Luminescent lines are an effective mechanism and not difficult to produce in Photoshop.

Abstract lightingAbstract lighting

An engaging background adds depth to your designs and abstract lighting effects can enhance artwork in various ways. By using Photoshop’s brush tool designers can create an illusion that inspires, excites and intrigues.

There are many ways to design abstract effects in Photoshop and you will find lots of tutorials and ideas to get you started around the internet.

The ideas above are just a few snippets of inspiration you can get for lighting up your next Photoshop design. Although many of the examples are intended to be eye-catching, it is worth noting that using lighting effects serve a function, so use lighting appropriately to enhance artwork, and not destroy it.

Design Tips From the White House!

Being creative director at the White House is one of the most high profile jobs in the design industry. Until just a few weeks ago, the person in charge of the President’s creative output was Ashleigh Axios. Tasked with “conceiving and managing the execution of projects to engage the American public about Obama’s policies – as well as presenting the US President in a favourable light”, this is a job not for the faint hearted.

Make your content engaging

shareIf there’s one thing that governmental design has to be, it’s engaging. The projects that Ashleigh Axios was working on were designed to connect with the public, explain policies and make the American people feel included and involved with the work the President was doing.

When President Obama revolutionised the American healthcare system, the creative team at the White House had him explain the changes and the new system on a popular YouTube show. This made the policy a lot more accessible to everyday people and made the changes seem more human and more relevant than if they’d been announced from a podium in front of the press.

Create a diverse workforce

In order to appeal to a diverse audience, you need to have a diverse workforce. The Obama administration was the first to include interns from the opposing party in its design team. Though they kept these Republicans well away from the Twitter account, this enabled the designers to come up with ideas that would appeal to a wider cross section of the public.

A diverse workforce is also better able to innovate and come up with new and exciting ideas, two things that can make a big difference to the quality and the effectiveness of your output.

Don’t be afraid to have fun

Though many of the design projects carried out by the creative team at the White House are serious and important, they haven’t shied away from poking fun at the President and the administration when appropriate.

Playing with your brand and being brave enough to make fun of your organisation is a great way to show a more human side of your company. It also shows that you have confidence in your business and that you have a strong corporate identity.

Embrace your mistakes

Whether you’re the head of a local design company or the President of the United States, mistakes will happen. Owning up to your errors and learning from the things that didn’t go quite right with help you to grow as a professional and ensure that the decisions you make in the future are the right ones.

For more design tips and ideas, have a look around our site today.

What Do Colours Really Mean And Does It Matter?

When you look at a colour what do you think?

If you are like most people you will ordinarily like it, or nor like it. Or you might be indifferent. This is what your conscious mind thinks.

Yet colours are much more powerful and have a resonating affect on our sub-conscious mind – the mysterious unconsciousness we have within us that stirs our emotions. It is the sub-conscious mind that colours communicate with. Therefore colours have an affect on how we feel whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Furthermore, every colour emits a different emotion.

Why some colours evoke emotion

Psychologists say colours are rooted in your experience and culture. This revelation comes as quite a shock to many people despite knowledge of colour psychology kicking about for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese used colour for therapeutic purposes.

Modern day researchers are rediscovering this phenomenon. Studies show that colour has an effect on mood, feelings and behaviour. And major corporations know colours influence purchasing decisions.

Have you noticed how banks often use blue in their colour scheme? This is not a coincidence. Supermarkets use orange or yellow. There is a reason for that. It’s the same reason fast-food chains use red in their brand logos.

Bright colours stimulate your sub-conscious and compel you to act hastily. There is something sexy and racy about red that burns us with desire. There’s a reasons the high street’s turn red in the lead up to Valentine’s day.

Why colour is an important part of design

The reason fast-food restaurants and supermarkets use red, yellow or orange is because they evoke a sense of urgency. There is something in our sub-conscious mind that compels us to act hastily when we see bright colours.

You may notice that a lot of eCommerce sites also include bright colours. Buy buttons on websites are often orange, yellow or bright green. That’s because web designers understand the psychology of colours.

Now think about social media networks. What colour springs to mind? Are you thinking blue? The leading social networks all feature some form of blue in their logo other than Google+… but Google includes blue in its company logo.

This is because blue creates the sensation of trust, security and authority. This is why the NHS and numerous insurance companies use shades of blue. Look around and you will find an emerging trend in colour association.

So do you still think colour psychology is a load of old nonsense?

If you do, then you are probably not evoking the emotion you want in your customers. Does the colour of your logo and website reflect how you want customers to perceive your brand?

The colour and design of your website, logo and marketing materials have more sway over your audience than you may think!

The Power of the Polka Dot in Graphic Design

Of all the patterns that appear in graphic design, the polka dot is one of the most versatile, eye-catching and has stood the test of time. After first appearing in the world of fashion in the mid-19th century, this spotty design has been used in countless art and graphic design works, adding visual interest, fun and a quirky touch to all of them.

In fact, the polka dot is so iconic that many artists and designers have based entire series and brands around the aesthetic, creating iconic works in the process.

article-0-0F6B384B00000578-786_634x428Damien Hirst

One of the most famous British artists of all time Damien Hirst has used the polka dot in some of his most instantly recognisable works. Known as the ‘Spot Paintings’, the simplicity of Hirst’s pieces have inspired countless artists and graphic designers and have created a brand new aesthetic all of their own.

Cath Kidston


One of the most famous contemporary designers around, Cath Kidston has taken full advantage of the creative potential of polka dots in designs across her collection.

By using polka dots to add interest and character to the background of her designs, Kidston has managed to create a unique aesthetic and an instantly recognisable brand. Even when the dots themselves are replaced with flowers or birds, the regular intervals and geometry of the underlying polka dot design still helps to unify the piece and make it stand out.

Roy Lichtenstein

roy1By appropriating an aesthetic first used by comic books, Roy Lichtenstein took the polka dot to brand new heights. Working in the 1960s Lichtenstein helped to bring the pop art movement to prominence, create a unique and iconic aesthetic of his own as he went.

Work inspired by Lichtenstein can be seen across the web, with thousands of websites, products, apps and logos bearing elements of his ideas.

She Who Bakes

Another fine example employing the power of the polka dot (if we do say so ourselves) is She Who Bakes. Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 14.42.02 Designed by the creative cats at Clockwork Moggy, the site uses elements of pop art to create a striking aesthetic. The monochrome polka dot background helps the content to jump off the page, giving the site a strong identity and an instantly recognisable look.

Inspired by the strong personality of the site, and the artistic preferences of the client, the look of the site combines classic elements of pop art and contemporary digital design.

To find out more about our designs and the work we do, have a look around our site or get in touch with one of the members of our creative team.

Graphic Design and the Oscars

The Oscars is arguably the biggest show in show business. With its A-list line up, glamorous ceremony and legendary status, the awards show attracts a global audience of around one billion.

With such an iconic reputation to live up to, it’s no wonder that the tech team behind the Oscars put a huge amount of effort into creating the graphics for the show. In 2015, the intros for the awards categories were one of the highlights of the event, with all of them perfectly designed to show off the nominations in each category.

The importance of intro sequences

As we saw in 2015, Oscar intro sequences are a fantastic way to set up a category and get the audience excited by the nominations. The creative genius behind many of last year’s best intro sequences was Englishman Henry Hobson. A graphic designer who’s worked on the past eight Oscars broadcasts, Hobson has a lot of experience when it comes to creating eye-catching images for star studded events.


Having worked on the Oscars in various capacities for so many years, and having watched the role of graphic design slowly evolve and develop within the awards show, Hobson has now taken on an overall design role, helping to bring unity to the title sequences and create spectacular intros.

In fact, the role of graphics within The Academy Awards has now grown so much that the show employees three designers, two illustrators and twelve animators as well as Hobson, showing just how important the aesthetics of these sequences are.

Hobson’s main goal in creating intro sequences has been to reflect the nominees and the category he’s representing within the graphics themselves. By incorporating the films into the sequence in this way, Hobson has managed to create a unique aesthetic and title sequences that get the audience genuinely excited.


Graphic design and the Oscars

Considering how important graphic design is to the Oscars, and the movie industry in general, it’s surprising that the medium is only now beginning to receive the attention it deserves.

Though film posters, title sequences and fonts have long been iconic to the movie going public, the industry itself is yet to acknowledge graphic design with an Oscar of its own. Until they do, designers will have to make do with stealing the show at the Oscars and using the Academy Awards to showcase the incredible work they do.

Iconic Examples of Typography

Whether it’s on a logo, company name, artistic statement or poster, typography can completely transform a design, turning it from something everyday into something extraordinary. At its best, typography is an art form in itself, allowing designers to confer meaning, expand on ideas and create entirely new aesthetics.

In some cases, typography becomes so iconic that it takes on a life of its own. Fonts become so instantly recognisable and so evocative they can be used to enhance other designs or even to create an entire brand.

Keep Calm and Carry On


A motivational poster created by the British Government in 1939, Keep Calm and Carry On was largely forgotten until an original copy of the design was rediscovered in the year 2000 by a bookseller in Alnwick, Northumberland.

The font and layout of the poster have now become so iconic that any text displayed in the same format is instantly recognisable as a parody of the original. Though the original campaign in the 1940s was relatively unsuccessful, the design can now be found on t-shirts, mugs, postcards and key rings around the world.



Victoria and Albert Museum – V&Av-and-a

One of the most influential museums in the country, London’s V&A has used typography to great effect in the design of its logo.

Helping to give the museum a contemporary identity, this modern typographic image has helped to make the Victoria and Albert Museum relevant to a whole new generation of

Star Wars


With its plain black background and yellow outlined font, the Star Wars logo is one of the simplest you could come across. However, the logo’s two-tone design has inspired countless copycat images and its impact has been felt throughout the world.

A fantastic example of ‘less is more’, this iconic typographic design will live on in fans’ hearts, and in cinema history, for ever more.



Coca Cola

With Coca Cola such a big global brand, it’s no surprise that the company’s logo is one we all recognise instantly.

Though the logo has been subtly updated through the years, it retains the essence of its original design. Coca Cola have capitalised on the iconic status of their logo by offering customCoca-Cola-personalised-bottlesers personalised bottles complete with their name emblazoned on the front in the historic font.

As well as originality, what all of these iconic examples have in common is simplicity. Allowing the typography to speak for itself, these inspirational designs have created new aesthetics, new identities and new legends.

To find out more about creating outstanding typography, get in touch with a member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.

Best of Festive Design

From Christmas cards to festive decorations and winter getaways to special promotions, this time of year has always been an important one for sales and marketing. As a result, a huge amount of brochures, posters, greetings cards and websites are made especially for the Christmas period, with designers working throughout the summer and autumn months to create those perfect pieces.

As Christmas imagery has been used, reused and then used some more over the years, coming up with original and exciting festive design isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are a few inventive minds out there pushing at the boundaries of Christmas aesthetics, creating stand out printed and digital designs as they go.

Christmas cards

christmas-card-designs-2aWith around a billion Christmas cards sent every year in the UK, coming up with a design that’s new, exciting and innovative is almost impossible.

These customisable cards from David Papov are notable for their minimalism, bright, bold colours and eye-catching design. Perfect for families who want their cards to stand out from the crowd and for businesses looking for a festive message with a difference, these contemporary cards will help you to send your Christmas greetings in style.



Festive emails

With a number of businesses choosing to convey their Christmas message via email, there are a variety of interesting and eye-catching designs and templates available online.

To make the most of this digital medium, a lot of companies choose to include a discount code or limited time offer with their festive email. The perfect way to drive traffic to a site and promote customer good will, including a Christmas offer in your festive email campaign could help you to make this year your most successful yet.


Magazines and brochures – Festive Design

a598ef22381123.56045f468240aMost magazines and brochures get a festive makeover at this time of year. Helping to get readers into the holiday spirit and encourage a bit of festive spending, these Christmas covers help to boost sales and good will.

The cover of the Washington Post’s Art & Style Magazine is a good example of innovative Christmas design. By putting a twist on classic images and colours, the designers have managed to create a cover that’s instantly festive while at the same time exhibiting some outstanding design credentials.



Offering designers the perfect chance to flex their creative muscles and let their imaginations for your festive design run wild, the Christmas period is the perfect time to show off innovative print and digital design. To find out more, get in touch with a member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.

Trends in Fonts and Typography in 2015

Whether you notice it or not, typography is an integral part of your internet experience. Every website you navigate to has chosen its font for a reason, with every embellishment, adaptation and innovation designed to influence your impression of the site and affect the way you think about the brand.

As with any kind of design, typography styles change over time. To make sure that your website and printed materials are contemporary and on trend, take a look at the most influential typography trends of 2015.

Handwritten Fonts

Though handwritten fonts have been around for a while, 2015 has seen a big increase in their use and popularity.

KR final logoRGB

Logo Design for Katharine Roberts by Clockwork Moggy

Perfect for startups, small independent businesses and larger companies trying to create a more personal feel, hand written fonts are best suited to titles, headings and other small segments of texts and when matched with a hand drawn logo or icon can look spectacular.

Dramatic Fonts

Though many designs rely on images and graphics to create eye-catching looks for their sites, type can also be used to great effect when building a dramatic and arresting design.

Candy inc. final-RGB

Logo Design for Candy Inc by Clockwork Moggy

Large, oversized text and fonts that have been adapted to suit the context of the site and the client company are fantastic for creating drama and visual interest using text alone.

Photo Overlays

As the internet becomes more photo and video heavy, increasing numbers of designers and web designs are creating home pages that are built around a single image.


This is example is from a Dutch wind surfing website (

Typography is then used over that image to create a striking, simple design with a huge amount of impact.

Back to basics

As well as beautifully embellished fonts and intricate headings, we’ve also seen a move towards a more basic typography style throughout 2015. Using strong, simple lines and clear, concise fonts, designers have been creating a range striking typefaces with a unique graphic element.


Logo Design for Camilla Seton By Clockwork Moggy


Perfect for modern companies and businesses that want their site to look a bit different, this look is one that’s set to grow in popularity throughout the coming months.

Vintage Type

The use of vintage type has increased considerably over the last few years. Full of character and with a distinct quirky touch, this kind of type is ideal for companies that want to connect with their audience and show that they have the personal touch.

As a central part of any digital or print design, typography needs to be selected carefully and thoughtfully. To find out more about choosing the perfect font for your next project, talk to a friendly member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.



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