Between Instagram and Dribbble, inspiration is always at your fingertips. It has never been easier to fall in love with design all over the world. My design style and technique has adapted and grown with the many influences and trends I come across. While I enjoy discovering wacky inspiration that's the opposite of what I do, I often find myself following people I aspire to be more like. I love tedious line work that makes your hand cramp — the detail and texture you can achieve from just lines and dots is incredible. Here are five people whose work I enjoy: 2 designers, 1 studio, 2 printmakers. Each have completely different aesthetics but accomplish the similar principals. I can use these words to describe them all: complex, balanced composition, and pleasing to the eye.
1. Brian Steely
What I most enjoy about Steely is his impeccable line work. Every line is purposeful. Steely seems to always have a clear vision of what he wants his projects to look like and executes as such. Often his work uses a very limited color pallet which I think is key, if there were any more colors it might get distracting of overwhelming. Steely knows just when texture will enhance the look or that flat and clean would be better.
2. Jay Fletcher
Jay Fletcher excels with shapes and color. I can’t say I have ever seen a piece of his that I have not been impressed by. Fletcher’s solutions are always clever, as if every solution was never supposed to look any other way. His color pallets are unique and his illustrations are well paired with typography. While texture can sometimes muddy a piece or gradients can look tacky, Jay Fletcher is the master. Each are artfully implemented in appropriate places.
3. Forefathers Group
Forefathers Group is a studio with designers from all over the world. It’s evident from their vast body of work that each designer is influenced by their area. Forefathers comes through with out-of-the-box web design that is exciting and visually pleasing without overlooking the UX. I really love the overlays and layering because it adds so much visual interest while still being organized. The illustration is thoughtfully incorporated and the hand lettering is always paired well.
4. Lacey Law
My god, the detail! It’s incredible to look at this and realize it is all carved into wood. Any mistake can’t be erased. Law manages to create these insanely complex compositions that are perfectly balanced. The illustration style is what I aspire to with my printmaking. With just lines and negative space, she creates texture and depth, shadows and light. The fur and feathers on the animals are captured just right.
5. Lloyd Stratton
Stippling is an extremely hard and tedious form of illustration, you have to know exactly where every single dot needs to fall. Stratton makes it look easy. He know exactly where his light source is and uses the negative space to highlight that. Because of the strong light source, he can create deep shadows as well. I love the simple compositions and the very minimal use of color. While the compositions are simple, the execution is anything but.