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Trying to do more personal design projects. These were just really fun to do. I have a second batch of these coming in but I haven’t finished them yet so I’ll post them later.


DBH mixtape O6: Needs More Bass

O1. Classixx - I'll Get You
O2. Bondax - Baby I Got That
O3. StewRat - Empty
O4. The Weeknd - Wanderlust (Snakehips Remix)
O5. Tinashe feat. Schoolboy Q - On (TOKiMONSTA Remix)
O6. XXYYXX - Witching Hour
O7. Brasstracks - Say U WillO8. Snakehips - Gone (feat. Syd)
O9. BEEAR // FACE - Taste My Sad



I finally decided to get a Facebook page for my blog. I initially didn't really think much about it because I didn't really understand the point of creating a Facebook when someone already has a blog with the same content. But I realize the unique aspect is being able to communicate with those who share like interests. 

In my case, my humble blog is really just an outlet for me as a designer. I found myself posting design and blog related links occasionally on my personal Facebook and it felt almost discouraging. It's not that I don't think my friends would appreciate the posts, but it's more like, I don't feel like everyone cares. Creating a separate Facebook page for all my design related posts seemed like a good way to share my passion with those who actually do care about it and that reaches out to more than just my mutual friends. I can have a public space for other designers, those passionate about music / design / photography to come together and share that mutual passion.

Another thing I have been wanting to do is working on expanding myself as a designer. I can't learn and grow if I'm constantly doing the same things. I'll have a place where I can share but more importantly, a place for me to grow as a designer. I hope others will come and share my design journey with me! 

Come check it out! Facebook.com/deadbeathustler


DBH mixtape O5: New Age Groove

NEW AGE GROOVE (32mins / 10 tracks) 

O1. Crayon feat. KLP - Give You Up
O2. Fantasy - Breakbot
O3. Kido Yoji - Orion
O4. Lemaitre - Fiction
O5. Bruno Mars - Treasure (Romanza Winter House Remix)
O6. Mystery Skulls - Unstoppable (Nico Vetter Remix)
O7. Pnau - Baby (Breakbot Remix)
O8. Shook feat. Ronika - Distorted Love
O9. Michael Jackson - Love Never Felt So Good


RAW: Juicing - stupid fad or healthy alternative?

If you live in California, you're probably no stranger to the infamous "juice cleanse" hype that's been going around for the last couple of years. For whatever reason, Californians are notorious for picking up on fads that just sound a bit on the absurd side. But as with anything else, I always try to do my research. It's ignorant to simply dismiss something just because it's a 'fad'. As the saying goes, "don't knock it until you try it." 



Several months back, a friend of mine came to me proposing the creative aspect of his brand. Now, granted, I get a lot of design proposals from friends and family. Unfortunately, I'm not able to fulfill every single request. That would be crazy. But I knew he had a lot of passion into this project and if determined enough, it could fruition into something very promising. So I decided I'd jump on board and we've been brainstorming back and forth for a while now. Just recently, we met up and discussed what exactly his vision was and where the direction was going. Before, I didn't really have a clear enough understanding to really start on anything. I'm proud to say that we've finally got some ideas on deck now!


Tech For Thought: You've Got Mail.

56K. AOL. Instant Messaging. Ah, the good ole days. I don't know about you guys, but back in the day, email was the SH*T. And I'm talking like, before even AIM was a thing. Before instant messaging became a hit, all we had in terms of digital communication was e-mail. Whether you were engaging in chat rooms with random and potentially creepy strangers or just trying to update your relatives from across the world, e-mail was the prime way to communicate. 


Mood Board: YKM

Boy, let me tell ya, there is no greater feeling than having design work that is actually enjoyable. I kinda forgot what that was like for a good chunk of my career because I was used to the 9 to 6 grind. And there's nothing wrong with the 9 to 6 grind for the most part. I love my working environment but to be honest, the work itself is far from "fun" or even creative. It's much more technical and redundant. So when a design opportunity knocks on my door and yells "FUN!", I take full advantage of it (and trust me, it doesn't happen very often). I had a client reach out to me for a project that I pretty much jumped on in a heart beat because I love the field of work they do and what they are asking for. Actually, this is 1 of 3 projects I jumped on board! All of which I'm pretty excited to bring into fruition. 

I created this mood board based off the feedback I was getting from the client. She and I have similar aesthetics so I already knew things were hitting off to a good start. A good mood board gives you an overall idea of how the branding should be displayed. This was actually the second mood board I created for her because she wasn't quite feeling the first one. It's a good thing because we established something she did like and did resonate with. My professor throughout my first two years in design school always had us create mood boards with our projects. I loved making them then because I'm a completely visual person (obviously :P) and I still utilize them now in my career. In essence, they are just pretty inspirational images to look at. But it can also be used as a crucial tool of communication with a client. If you haven't started utilizing mood boards for any design works, whether it's at your job, for yourself or freelance projects, I highly recommend you doing so. And besides, they are a lot of fun to make. Time-consuming yes, but definitely FUN.


dbh mixtape O4: Synthetic Fantasy

SYNTHETIC FANTASY (22 mins / 8 tracks)
O1. FLUME - Sleepless (Cosmo's Midnight Mix)
O2. AlunaGeorge - Superstar (Cosmo's Midnight x Lido Remix)
O3. Foster The People - Best Friend (Wave Racer remix)
O4. Ghost Town DJ's - My Boo (Wave Racer remix)
O5. DCUP - Don't Be Shy (Wave Racer remix)
O6. Perseus - Shadow of the Beast
O7. Destiny's Child - Say My Name (Cosmo's Midnight Bootleg)
O8. SNAKEHIPS - Forever

Cosmo's Midnight, Lido, Flume, Wave Racer among other electro fusion artists are highlighted and collected into this mix.

How do I describe the kind of music in this mix? Mix up some electro sounds with tight 80's synths and trap beats. Add a bit of R&B, some 90's tunes with a new wave groove and you get something like this!
Fusion electro music is easily becoming my favorite genre. Most of these artists grew up in an era where nostalgia plays a big part in their own music making. You can tell by the old school tracks they use. Blending their own nostalgia with the new era of electro sounds, they create something truly unique.

I hope you enjoy this mix because it includes some of my favorite tracks of the moment.


WIP: Vector face

Ever since I've been searching for more artwork to put on my wall, I've had this itch to make some artwork myself. Now, I know that I'm a designer, but being a designer doesn't always mean we can do fine art. In fact, my fine art skills are terrible. I can easily copy an object or image that I see in person and transfer it over to my own canvas, but I don't come up with original art very easily. Perhaps I lack imagination......but I'd just like to think it's not in my technical skill to draw well. It's kinda strange because as a child, I was drawing all the time. But it doesn't matter because there's always vector art! Vector art is basically illustration for graphic designers. The art is purely 'vector' based, which essentially means creating art with lines in Illustrator or Photoshop. It's a bit complicated to explain, but vector art does not use PIXELS so you can blow the image up 1000x's and it will still look clean. This is my work in progress to revamp my vector art image for my own branding. The first image is the old art.

 As you can see, I cleaned up the image a bit so it has cleaner lines than the previous work. I also added subtle details while still maintaining that minimal look that vector art uniquely obtains. I figured it would be nicer to show that she has a nose and some details in the ear.

I made this girl more advanced because she has shoulders! lol The old image was just a floating head, albeit a cute floating head. When it's finished I'll display how I use this image in my own branding. 


Decorating: Prettying up my wall!

A few weeks ago I went to an anime convention in San Jose called Fanime. For me, it was more like a nice, relaxing vacation than anything else but I got a couple of art pieces from the Artist Alley there that I'm super in love with. I'm not one to try and justify paying a ton of money for art pieces, but when I see something I like I know I have to have it. Besides, cats from Sailor Moon and something related to League of Legends? How could I resist?

I posted this on my Instagram. It's sitting nicely above my desk. 
As you can see, there's not much on my wall. But that will soon change. 

Here's a close up of the artworks
(By CHIKADRAWS)                                                           (By JUSTDUET)
In previous times, I've always just put up random things on my wall but I kinda want to be more conscious of what goes up now. I loved framing these two and I think all my future artwork will be framed as well. Framing just gives it a nice, clean structure and doesn't seem so random. I've talked about it several times before, but I hate decorating when I know I won't be living in the same place for a long time. I don't know how long I will be at this apartment, but I don't want to fill my wall with a bunch of stuff only to have to take it down. At the same time, I want my home to be a place where I can feel happy and be proud to be at. Over time, I hope to collect pieces of artwork that I can really cherish for years to come. Of course, I'm not talking about Picasso paintings. Let's be realistic, even if I could afford a fine art piece, I wouldn't put it on my wall. I'd rather support not-so-well-known artists that create art pieces I really LIKE based off characters and places I actually admire.

Do you have artwork hanging on your walls? If so, what do they mean to you?


Photoshop tip: All natural baby! (sorta...)

I'll be honest, when it comes to photo editing, 'subtlety' isn't exactly my best practice. It's mainly a personal preference because I sometimes like the overly done, obvious filter applied, obnoxiously colorful photograph. So it's not everyone's cup of tea but it's just what appeals to me. But to be fair, whenever I'm working for someone else on their photographs, I can't simply edit the way 'I' want to edit them. Most people opt for the clean, subtle and 'natural' looking photographs because most people want their photographs to look genuine and not overly photoshopped. And when it comes to being 'natural', I rely on these FOUR photoshop tools: Brightness & Contrast, Levels, Exposure and Curves.
I will have to preface by saying that how your original photograph was taken will also play a part in how nice the photograph will come out. Anyone even remotely familiar with photography knows that lighting is pretty much everything, but many people who aren't familiar with cameras do not realize that a photograph isn't just post-processed to look good. If the original photograph has bad lighting to begin with, it will always be difficult to get it to look any better and 'naturally' better at that.

Take for example this photo above of my ZOYA nail polish remover. The image on the left is straight from the camera. The product was taken with natural lighting on a cloudy day, which according to some photographers, say is the best damn weather for lighting and I have to agree. The image on the right is post processed in photoshop with some light editing here and there. The difference is still very apparent.

Whether your photograph has great lighting or 'ok' lighting, you can still tweak it a bit to look better, naturally. Here's my PS tip using the mentioned tools.

I generally start with the Brightness/Contrast tool. It's all about subtlety here, so I generally boost the brightness and contrast up only by a bit (anywhere from 5-15 is okay). Brightness is as it sounds, however boosting the brightness setting too high can completely wash out your photograph so don't go overboard with it! Contrast sets your blacks blacker and your whites whiter. Again, generally avoid going too high with these settings so your image looks more natural.
LEVELS is all about the lighting. INPUT LEVELS changes the lighting on highlights, shadows and midtones, as indicated by the three arrow marks. You really need a light hand when playing around with these levels because too drastic of a change will make your photograph look unnatural.

OUTPUT LEVELS controls the 'overall' lighting in your image. This is a good tool to tweak your image with very small amounts to give it a little boost of light if it's too dark or vice versa if it's too bright.
CURVES is a tool I pretty much use all the time for basically everything I edit. Not only does it change your color inputs and outputs, it changes your lighting as well. Some may argue what the difference is between LEVELS and CURVES if you can change the lighting in CURVES as well as LEVELS but CURVES gives you a little more specificity in your lighting and is also used to control lighting in colors. I generally tweak these points only a very small amount to give my photos an extra bit of VIBRANCY. (Basically LEVELS + CURVES doubles up your lighting options)
The last lighting tool I use is EXPOSURE. Exposure is one of those tools that you will not use often and if you do you'll probably only use the bare minimum amount of editing with it. It's a super strong tool that in my opinion, is best used for scenic photographs (landscapes, outdoor, cities, etc.) This tool pretty much tries to emulate your camera's exposure settings. The main purpose of it is to try and fix those original settings. I know it's a bit confusing because all these tools seem like they are trying to do the same things but they all change different details of your photograph so trust me, they all have their purpose. But the main reason I use EXPOSURE is for the OFFSET option, which gives my image a bit of a MATTE finish which makes shadows (or blacks) softer and not too harsh.
This original photograph (left) was taken with automatic settings in my camera so the lighting wasn't that great to begin with. It's subtle, but you can see how the details really make a difference. The white part of Jax's fur looks much whiter and clearer. His eyes look more vibrant and his black looks more black. It's really about bring out the clarity in your images. I would like to think it's the difference between not having reading glasses and having reading glasses (if you need it). Although, I wouldn't know much about that since my eyes are terrrrrrribbbble so I need hardcore glasses and it would actually look like this instead.....

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this quick photoshop tip! (I promise it's QUICKER once you actually do it lol)


insta-favs: simple & colorful

Haven't compiled an 'Insta-favs' since I came back and started blogging again. I thought I'd share my favorite Instagram pix from the beginning of the year until now. They're just so fun to look at when you compile them and you can also get a good sense of someone's style and what they like. I think this perfectly describes my aesthetics: simple black, white and neutrals with pops of color. I think in another post I'll blog about what apps I use. But I think it's pretty obvious here that my main squeeze app is none other than the amazing vsco app. Who doesn't love vsco? Everything looks so vintage and moody, I'm freaking obsessed with it!


Pillow Talk

I've been on an 'Interior' decorating kick lately. To be honest, decorating and making my tiny apartment a 'home' was something I was always passionate about but I always thought that this place would be very short term. I really didn't imagine that my bf and I would be living in this apartment for more than a year, because this isn't exactly the 'nicest' place. It's not "ghetto" but it's just really tiny.

But I've come to accept the fact that financially, we aren't in the position to move to some bigger fancier place. And that's okay but I definitely want to design my home so that it feels like a place I want to return to each and every night. So I've been doing some research, trying to do some DIY projects as well as purchase some things here and there to make our apartment a home for us.

I'm currently obsessed with H&M's home department. They have so many inexpensive and cool/cute stuff for decorating. And it's really all about the little things: A cute pillow, artsy fridge magnets, quirky lamps and coasters. I haven't actually purchased anything yet, but I'm planning on getting a few things for our living room. Our couch isn't very 'nice' to say the least.....it's probably the cheapest couch at IKEA currently lol. But we didn't really feel like a nice couch was necessary because we didn't want to become couch potatoes glued to the TV all day. But when guests come over, that's when I wish we had a comfier couch. Nonetheless, I figured a simple solution may be cool pillows! I've been looking all over online and in stores for some pillows that don't look too weird on our plain couch but are comfy and still add a pop of 'fun' to it. feel free to throw any links my way if you know of any good places to get cool pillows from!


What happened to fautography?

Hey remember when I used to post photos only on this blog? You don't? Oh okay, but once upon a time, this blog was all about my love for 'photography'. I had to call my own snapshots "fautography" because I honestly didn't have the audacity to call myself a photographer on any level. It was more of a hobby to me than anything else. Since I found my 'niche' for blogging, I naturally integrated into focusing on graphic design but photography will still be a topic I'll eventually focus more on again. It's just been harder to really venture out and find the time to go out and take quality pics that aren't just of my home, cats or random trees.

Photography will always be something that sparks my interest, but it's a medium that is still relatively new to me. I have a lot to learn in terms of taking photographs and making them visually interesting and effective. I don't want to just take any random photograph and then post them. I'm way too picky to do that. So I always try to make sure that whatever goes up on my blog is something I can be proud of. And a good, well thought out photograph can keep me motivated as a designer as well! So stay tuned folks!

DBH MIXTAPE O3: Into The Night

INTO THE NIGHT (44mins / 10 tracks)
O1. WAVE RACER - Rock U Tonite
O2. BOMBS & BOTTLES - Pregame
O3. DISCLOSURE - You & Me (Flume Remix)
O4. DAN BLACK - Hearts (Louis The Child Remix)
O5. BONDAX - Fires feat. Josh Record
O6. FOXES - Let Go For Tonight (Fred Falke Remix)
O7. KIARA - Bonobo
O9. FINAL DJs - Gossip Country (Justin Faust Remix)
1O. MORJAC & FRED FALKE - When We're Together feat. Sarah Tyler

I've really been diggin the electro/house fusion R&B sounds lately. I'm a fan of classic R&B so of course having a fusion genre like this resonates with me because I do listen to electro/house music. I've selected what I'd like to call, "chill" tracks with a bit of a pumped up edge to them, perfect for night drives or working on projects at odd hours of the night.

Thanks for listening!


design inspirations

I get asked what 'designers' I'm most inspired by but to be honest, I wouldn't be able to state a name. It's not that I don't truly admire some designers out there, in fact the ones I admire most are small town designers and bloggers. But my biggest inspirations are actually two quite well known names: Kate Spade and Starbucks coffee! I just think everything about their aesthetics is what I love in my own design style.


'Tech For Thought' - Can you live without your phone?

The other day I was thinking about how addicted we all are to our cellphones and how it's brought upon a negative impact on my own life. I find myself at parties, surrounded by people or with friends and going through my phone constantly. Not only does it disconnect you from the people around you, but it can turn even an extroverted, social individual into an anti-social one. I used to always be the talkative one at parties and now I feel like I rarely ever talk. Well, okay that's not exactly true either, but I noticed how being so absorbed into technology has turned me more anti-social than I would've liked.

But why is it that people are so addicted to being on their phones? To be honest, it's just easier. If you're bored, the internet is full of amusement. Or say you're just an awkward person by nature and you don't have much to say. Whipping out your cell phone puts that awkwardness on the back burner, at least temporarily. The thing is, even awkward people get less awkward, by ENGAGING in real conversations with REAL people. With practice, introverted quiet types even become more sociable and outgoing. There are times when you can't just put those moments on the back burner either. Like when you're doing an interview for example. I had a three hour interview not so long ago with a company in downtown and I kept thinking about how nice it would be to reach for my phone and just pretend they weren't there. Even though I consider myself pretty 'pro' at interviews at this point in my life....I still get those awkward moments with interviewees who I don't think I really match up with in terms of personality and those moments get awkward fast.

I'm trying to be better at this and feel like I've improved slightly. I am more conscious about taking out my phone when eating out with friends or even eating with my boyfriend but as they say, 'old habits die hard'. I think most of the time I just whip out my phone when I want to take a photo but it's something in general I'm constantly trying to improve on because I know the more I take out my phone, the less I want to interact with people IRL.

Challenge yourself. Disconnect from the online world when you're not at home, especially if you're on vacation or with friends for an extended period of time. Bond, play and have fun -- without technology. It may not seem like a big deal to most people but these things build up over time. And the more we disconnect from the real world, the harder it will be to connect to the real world. Technology is amazing for what it can do for our daily lives, but at the end of the day, it's a piece of machinery. It's man made. There is no emotional or psychological level of bonding that you can adhere to technology the way you can with real people.

In the words of the late Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, "Ain't nothin like the real thing"

RAW - COPYCAT: Taking inspiration or taking credit?

Let's face it, ORIGINALITY IS DEAD. And I'm talking real originality -- the kind of stuff that comes out of nowhere, from nothing. You might wake up one morning and come up with some of the best designs you've ever created, but they were probably inspired by something you already saw. Even if most of us are not consciously trying to copy someone's work, our subconscious picks up on everything we've come by. I've rarely come by a website these days and think, "wow this is so original...". Everything is inspired by something else and in the design world, it's very obvious that every designer has gotten some kind of inspiration from another designer. 


FREEBIE: Photoshop Actions - COOL CAT & HAZY

I've been wanting to post up some design freebies for a while now but just didn't get around to it. Filters aren't always the best option for a photograph, but they certainly have their own flare. You can enhance your photographs with these freebie actions made by yours truly :) . 

Inside you'll find an Action pack with two Actions - Hazy & Cool Cat. 

PROTIP: Consider your original photo's lighting. These Actions work the best with optimized lighting, meaning your photograph shouldn't be too overexposed or too underexposed. These Actions work best with outdoor lighting although they can be used with well lit indoor photos. 

PROTIP 2: 'Cool Cat' as the name implies, is a cool 'blue toned' Action set. If your photographs have a lot of yellow and red tones, Cool Cat can balance out the photo and give your photograph a softer touch. 'Hazy' on the other hand has more of an olive/green tone that gives off a slightly grungier look. This Action set is best used on photographs that are more 'blue' in tone, giving it an opposite effect from Cool Cat. Both Actions emit a very 'cool' feeling to the photograph, even though Hazy is a bit more on the yellow/green side. These make perfect filters for FASHION, PORTRAIT and ARCHITECTURE photography. 

PROTIP 3: If your photos are underexposed, it's best to fix Brightness/Levels in your Photoshop settings before applying the Actions for an optimized effect. However, both Actions have a 'brighter' filter applied already, so make sure to not over brighten your photographs before hand. These Actions will work better with slightly underexposed photos as opposed to overexposed photos. 

Hope you guys enjoy this first set of freebies. More will come soon! 

*If you're a total newbie at Photoshop, don't worry! The Action pack comes with a set of instructions on how to install. It's really simple. 


DBH's mixtape vol. 02: GAME TIME

GAME TIME (44mins / 10 tracks)
O1. ANAMANAGUCHI - Endless Fantasy
O2. NERO - Me And You
O3. DRAPER - Night Rider (feat. Phoebe Ray)
O5. RAMESES B - I Need You (feat. Charlotte Haining)
O6. DEADMAU5 - Raise Your Weapons (Madeon remix)
O7. MADEON - Technicolor
O8. NERO - Reaching Out
O9. ANAMANAGUCHI - Prom Night (feat. Bianca Raquel)
1O. ZOMBOY - Game Time

Whenever I'm playing video games I like listening to electro / dubstep as it kinda sets the mood for me. There's a combination of fast, adrenaline-rushing tracks along with slightly mellower electro tracks to get you amped. Hope you enjoy it!

[RAW] Video Games: Do they benefit my life?


DBH's MIXTAPE vol. 01

O1. STARDUST - Music Sounds Better With You
O3. NERVO - Hold On (Fred Falke remix)
O4.THE PARADISE - In Love With You
O5. KISH MAUVE - Lose Control (Fred Falke remix)
O6. MOON BOOTS - Don't Ask Why (feat. Kyiki)
O7. SKIBBLEZ - Only One Touch
O9. LITTLE BOOTS - Headphones (Moon Boots remix)
1O. ALAN BRAXE - Time Machine
11. FIXERS - Iron Deer Dream (Shook remix)

[Click the photo above or HERE to listen to the mixtape]

If you didn't already know, I'm a huge music junkie. I spend hours and hours digging for new music. As a designer, music goes hand in hand in my opinion. It's difficult for me to design in silence, which is why it drives me nuts whenever I have to work in an environment where I can't listen to music (mainly due to communication issues....). For me, music instantly sparks my imagination. My creativity flows better whenever I'm listening to music so it's always been a pretty big part of my life. Also, I take huge pride in having such an eclectic taste in music. One day I'll be listening to electro/house, the next R&B, Alternative or maybe Kpop. I really can't say I prefer one genre over the other. If it sounds good, I'll love it. I hope you guys will enjoy these as much as I enjoy making them.


'DEADBEATHUSTLER' is the name of my Tumblr blog. I started creating playlists primarily on there for a while, so I thought it would be a nice integration to take whatever I put on my Tumblr onto a playlist that's easier to listen to.


Deliciousness: Pies, juice, & boxed water

pie / juice / water 

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I mean, damn.....the weekends just fly by I don't even feel like I have a chance to just breathe it all in. But the weekday grind inevitably comes and I fully prepare for it by eating amazing food. As a foodie, I must say, if you have great places of deliciousness in mind in SoCal, please do not hesitate to let me know.

[ Listening to: SBTRKT - "Never Never" ]


Snapshots: Kate Spade

Hands down, one of my favorite designer brands is Kate Spade. Her accessories are so colorful and cute and I pretty much live by her mantra, "Live colorfully". I just love how clean and modern her aesthetics are. Everything is colorful yet it's somehow subtle at the same time. She tends to use a lot of simple geometrical shapes and lines to compliment her colorful designs, which is something that I've adapted to my own design aesthetics. Probably one of my biggest fashion inspirations.


Stay Motivated: Design Books

Whenever I talk to my fellow creatives about design work, the most popular topic we get on is "how to keep motivated". It's a constant struggle trying to be intuitive and keeping motivated with our own design work. This is especially true for those of us who work for a company, agency, or work under someone in general. We are always designing for someone else. We are always designing for clients. More times than not, we have to venture out of our comfort zone to design something that we don't even like! It's no surprise that designers become unmotivated. As I've stated in my 'RAW Tuesday' post, I started this blog as a way to keep motivated and to keep doing design stuff outside of client work or whatever my 'boss' wants. And one of my favorite/best ways of keeping motivated is through design books. 

Now, this is 2014. We are at an era where almost everything is digital. Hell, even most design works are digital (except my job is an ad agency so we do mostly print work....but that's besides the point.) and there used to be a time where it wasn't always all digital. Not that design books showcase 'analog' designs all the time, they are at least tangible and something you can refer back to. When I'm doing design work for myself or on a project that I'm passionate about, I always refer back to my many design books. I'll go through my books every once in a while and bookmark certain design elements that I'm really digging at the moment. Then I'll go back to them for inspiration. Also, there's something more 'real' about seeing the designs on paper, with the correct colors, than just seeing design works on the computer. 

This is the newest addition to my Victionary design book collection. I'm a huge fan of Victionary's books and if you're a designer and haven't heard of them, you should check them out like RIGHT NOW. They have such creative, colorful, and wonderful books. Even non designers would appreciate them. Plus, they look pretty damn awesome on your coffee table.
This particular book, as the name suggests, is about neon (fluorescent) colored graphics. If anyone is familiar with me as a designer personally, I'm a huge fan of color and BRIGHT colors mixed with subtle or monochromatic colors. There's something very alluring about mixing hints of bright colors with subtle colors and this book really spoke to me. It's also kind of fun that on Amazon, they don't let you choose the color of the cover (it comes in orange, green, or pink) so it's kind of a surprise when you get it. As you can see, I got the pink version (just what I wanted! \^0^/). (The first thing I thought of was "2NE1" lol. Kinda reminded me of their album art.) 

Whenever I get a new design book or new magazine even, I'll keep it on my desk for a while. Mainly because, I know that if I don't have time to read it the minute I get it, I'll be reminded to read it throughout the week whenever I do have the time. It's also just nice to have some form of inspiration on your desk or near your work area. 

And lastly, keep it updated! I bought a magazine holder to put on my desk so I can selectively choose which books or magazines I want near me. Design books aren't exactly 'cheap' and even for me, I've collected all my design books over many years. The Victionary books range from $25-35 typically if you order from Amazon. And although that's not a huge investment, it's not like I can order new design books every month. It adds up! My bf got me a free subscription to Vogue magazine a while back, and although I don't actually read Vogue, fashion is another form of design and it's something that motivates me as well! Magazines are much cheaper, so if you just need some visual inspiration, you'd be surprised at what you can get out of fashion magazine publications. And there's tons of those. (I'm actually subscribed to Glamour, Vogue, Elle, and Elle Decor! They're usually like $15/yr! It's so much cheaper to just subscribe than buying it off the stands.) As a designer, I look for elements of aesthetics that I feel that I could incorporate for my design works. If you're only bound to graphic design books (or whatever your design field is), venture out! Fashion, interior decoration, and culinary magazines all inspire me! Look beyond the content and scour for visual ideas that you could potentially use.