Get Inspired! Tips for Creating Original Designs

Submissions guidelines for the Winter issue of Jewelry Stringing were officially posted last week. We have already had some really stellar designs come in, and we can't wait to see the rest of the projects that our new themes inspire you to make!

During our brainstorming sessions for the new guidelines, we all agreed how strange it was to be thinking about wintery themes in the middle of spring. Constantly working two seasons ahead of the weather is one of the more bizarre elements of the work that we do. It occurred to me a few days ago that we aren't the only ones affected by this strange schedule–you are, too! Since I have experienced how frustrating it can be to try designing a piece of holiday jewelry when it's 80 degrees outside, I thought I would share a few of the tools that I find helpful in coming up with original design ideas.

Color Palettes

Retro, Baby!
Days of Kings and Queens
Sparkle, Dazzle, Shine
Chain Meets Fiber

I have found that selecting a palette for a new project is often all it takes to get my creative juices flowing, so I would encourage you to take some time to really consider the color palettes that accompany each of our theme descriptions. Allow these colors to be a jumping-off point instead of thinking of them as limitations; they are intended to give you an idea of what we are looking for, but we don't expect you to use all of the colors in order for your design to be eligible for consideration. There are usually a few colors in each palette that speak to me more than the others, so I like to consider just one swatch of color at a time–you never know which one might trigger your next big idea!

Pinterest Boards

In addition to providing color palettes for each of our themes, we also create digital inspiration boards on Pinterest for you to use as a reference. We use these boards to provide a few examples of jewelry pieces that would be good candidates for each section, but the majority of the contents that we pin on each board has more to do with the concept behind each theme. Cross-referencing these inspiration boards with the theme palettes and descriptions will give you the most complete picture of what we are looking for, and give you the best chances of seeing one of your designs printed in the magazine! 

Word Association

This is a trick that I used to use to brainstorm for essays in college, but I hadn't considered using it as a design tool until I saw yesterday's post on Design Love Fest. In it, Bri Emery (the graphic designer behind DLF) talks about using word association to come up with fresh new ideas for her design work. I grabbed a notebook and some pens and took a few minutes to try out her method with one of our new Winter themes–with great results! I started by jotting down the first nine words that came to mind (blue writing) when I thought of our Sparkle, Dazzle, Shine theme, and then repeated the exercise using each of the new words as inspiration (pink writing). Finally, I went back through and circled the words/phrases that I found most interesting and inspiring. One thing that trips me up when I sit down to create a new piece is the flood of ideas that I have–too many ideas can be just as confounding as having none at all! This exercise helped me narrow my inspiration down to just a few key concepts to design around. Give it a try next time you are having trouble starting a new project!

What are some of your favorite design tricks and techniques?

Happy Weekend!



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