Find Your Inspiration…
There are plenty of people publishing great examples of typography for your inspiration.
So, I wanted to share a collection of “not-so-common” resources that I find inspiring; as well as a few of the mainstream feeds in case you’ve missed some.
Vintage Typography Inspiration
I’m absolutely not promoting smoking, but these are incredible tokens of our past. Cigarette cards used to come in every pack of cigarettes as a memento of sorts – simply to get you to buy more or to collect them all – like the toys in a McDonald’s happy meal. Although the front of these cards are mostly illustrations or photographs, once you click on the examples on the website you can see the typography and layout on the backs, and they’re utterly fascinating.
These are remnants of a better time. This collection is almost 30,000 images deep. I Love Old Signs! is another Flickr group (over 90,000 photos) that has some classic type treatments and typography that simply break the rules of Today’s design standards.
Courtesy of AllPosters.com, that National Park you visited this summer can forever be immortalized on your wall. The artists behind these treasures are the only ones I will allow to stretch fonts, only because the complimentary artwork is so astounding.
I bookmarked this site upon arrival. Right now, it’s 11 pages of classic design at it’s best. I have always been a fan of coaster design – I know, call me weird – but they are commonly overlooked pieces of art.
This a tumblr account to follow if you want strictly vintage everything. The typography on old products that Jonathan has collected here are beautiful. This is a “Must Follow” for designers.
Flickr in general, is a great website for typography inspiration, but it’s not just photography. Jeffrey Conner’s BikeGeek collection of vintage bicycle headbadges is incredible.
Flicker does it again. This group of Flickr users has dedicated their time to gathering scanned images of vintage matchbooks to share with the masses. I recently visited an antique shop, and found myself rifling through old matchbooks the entire time I was there. They had several baskets of these gems, but I couldn’t think of a good reason to actually start a collection, so this group is the perfect solution.
Old school baseball and boxing posters are some of the best vintage posters in my opinion. They’re always out to impress. By typing in, “vintage baseball posters” into Pinterest, you will find tons of incredible inspiration. A Google Images search of vintage baseball tickets is great as well.
Feeds of Typography Inspiration
This site may overlap with a few of the other typography aggregators, but they publish collections of about 20 examples at a time. It’s a great present for your daily inbox if you subscribe to their newsletter.
Design You Trust has managed to gather collections of others’ inspiring typography. One my favorites was 50 Yummy Food Typography Artworks, because of its uniqueness as the artists used everyday food to not only catch your eye, but probably make you hungry as well.
Stunning. This is essentially Pinterest for serious designers in general, not just typophiles. You’ll find yourself opening a new tab for every project.
The only way posters are featured on this site is through submission and editorial approval. Theses posters have some of the best uses of typography you can find – I would put this site in an elite category. Posters from all over the world can be found here. Excellent uses of standard fonts in stunning layouts to expand your mind and how you use your everyday fonts.
Mr. Cup is a great design site overall, but their annual letterpress calendar is a handy printed source of daily inspiration to hang on your wall.
This site is one of the larger aggregators available, making it easy to search a number of sites at one time.
Serial Thriller is similar to From Up North, but if you have a tumblr, this is probably one of the best accounts you can follow for typography inspiration.
Anything that is posted to Behance with the keyword “typography” gets served here. I opened close to 10 browser tabs just visiting – you can’t help but keep scrolling.
This website is run by a few artists that accept submissions as well – but, essentially it is a great collection of “art in the wild”. They also pull from some artists who truly understand the art form of typography like Glenn Wolk, Kyle Letendre, Rob Draper, Luke Lucas, Juantastico, and BMD Design.
Zoom out a couple clicks in your browser first, unless you like being overwhelmingly immersed in typography. This website has specific contributors that it pulls images from, often linked to their Instagram feed. They even have a shop available to purchase some of the products that they have designed.
What I love most about this site is the ability to search images by color. WLT is a subsidiary of I Love Typography, ILT; which, is a great blog of incredible content to follow – they also have The Font Wall.
Drool. I’m drooling. Literally. The average designer’s thought process does not include using letterpress, without ink, on a thin sheet of paper, and backlighting to really “make it pop”. There are some truly forward thinkers on this website.
This an excellent Flickr collection of “typography in the wild”. Close to 6,000 photos and counting of inspiration from contributors’ daily lives.
Hashtags for Typography Inspiration
I’m certain that 75% of my Instagram feed is from hundred of accounts dedicated to sharing great artists and their work tagged with hashtags like #typography. Even searching Instagram for hashtags can help you discover more artists to flood your feed with inspiration.
I’ve always been a huge fan of ESPN’s magazine layout. Now that I think about it, growing up with my ESPN subscription, it was probably one of my first true inspirations to typography and layout. I would spend just as much time reading, as I would analyzing and admiring the design of the magazine. Now, courtesy of the internet, I can revisit many of the page layouts and see how they incorporated photography, graphic elements, titles, and body copy columns all over again.
Also, using keyword modifiers like, “newspaper layout”, “ESPN layout” and such, will give you really great results in Pinterest.
It’s great seeing moving type – unless you’re watching a movie intro like Zombieland, typography is stationary.
Some Most of these probably won’t do you a whole lot of good, but it’s an excuse to get lost in a GIF wormhole, while being “inspired”. This isn’t exactly inspiration, but some of their Animated Text stickers (NSFW) could break the internet.
Dribbble is a great design community to see what new projects some of the biggest artists and companies have released.
Web Typography Inspiration
This is the first thing that always comes to mind when trying to find a great new combination of Google Fonts. If your branding needs a facelift, I strongly suggest this resource. Fox & The Grapes’ cursor reminds me of the state-of-the-internet circa 2001.
Typewolf provides a great monthly newsletter with incredible resources to buy the newest and best fonts available; as well as some of his favorite websites.
This is where you’ll find the cream of the crop. Some of the best examples of modern web design can be found at Awwwards.com. Spending some time following links in the different nomination categories can really help you forecast up and coming web design trends.
Miscellaneous Typography Inspiration
If you went to design school like me, you may have purchased a few a Jim Krause’s books while searching for some inspiration with your assignments. How Design and Jim Krause are giving us all a free 16-page ebook of the Type Idea Index. Some of these examples are essential and basic but are still a great and simple reminder of what you’re capable of doing with typography.
My fellow Minnesotan, Nicole Meyer, took on the daunting task of branding all 10,000 of our lakes (give or take a few), one per day, until she was done. She did an outstanding job! After a year on the project, she has taken a break from this project – and I don’t blame her – but it’s still a fine example of minimalist branding and typography.
These are just a few of the great resources I have found – this list easily could have gone on for days. If you think we missed one or would like to be added please let me know. Keep collecting and sharing!