How I built a personalized inspiration library and you can too


I don’t know about you, but when I start a new project I get really excited. I open up a fresh page in my notebook and start coming up with words that I want the work to embody, and some days I’ll quickly scribble rough ideas of what I envision the final product to look like. Then I get the bright idea to hop online *cough* Pinterest *cough* and see what other people have done… You know just for ideas… Next thing I know all my original ideas seem terrible, or I end up basing my work heavily off of my online “inspiration”. Other times I like the end product, but feel as if a piece of my voice is missing. 

Has this ever happened to you?

 Through experience I have learned how to use online inspiration without copying or paralyzing my own work. I have also taken things further by gathering photos, books, and movies to create a completely personalized inspiration library. My current library isn’t complete, and I don’t think it ever will be, and that is ok. I hope that this will inspire you to take a look at your own inspirations with a fresh perspective. 

What makes a personalized inspiration library so special? 

A personal library is 100% specific to your tastes and interests. There’s less of a chance of being distracted or discouraged by online imagery and the work of others in a similar field as you. Being surrounded by your personal inspirations can help you come up with fresh ideas or an alternative solution. You have more control over what influences your current creative project.

How to build an inspiration library

Phone photos 

Building a library doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact you can start by moving your phone photos onto your computer or a usb drive. Every couple weeks transfer some of your phone pics to a computer and organize them into different folders. For example I keep a folder of logos I’ve seen around town, window displays at stores, abstract images, patterns, plants, jewelry, etc. Another option is to keep the images on your phone and separate the images into different folders. I keep a phone photo folder of books I want to buy, quotes, and clothing details. 


Once a month or whenever you find a book that catches your eye, purchase a book and place it in a visible easy to reach place. When you get stuck or overwhelmed take a break and flip through some pages. Find color inspiration and storytelling tips from comics. Get some abstract art ideas from picture books about galaxies. Pick up some books featuring your favorite creatives, or get a detailed instructional book on something you enjoy.

Movies & TV shows

Whenever a show or story catches your attention, find a way to save it. Purchase DVDs or downloads of your favorite content. If you have a Netflix account keep your favorite content in the “my list” section to make finding it easier. Create a playlist of your favorite YouTube videos.

Do you have a personalized inspiration library? What do you keep in it?