Instant Inspiration + Student Mobiles

Instant Inspiration + Student Mobiles

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In each issue of Layers Magazine they run a spot called Instant Inspiration which is where they “showcase an established commercial designer and pick their brain in an effort to gain insights on the creative process and inspiration in general.”

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I was fortunate enough to be chosen for the May / June edition of the magazine and below you can find the short interview along with some quick pictures of the mag. You can also view a PDF version of the 3 page spread here.

At the bottom of this article you will find some student mobiles – curious?

What’s the “method to your madness?”

I have a 2.4-GHz Dual Core PC, dual monitor setup, cordless keyboard, Logitech MX Revolution mouse, and I use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver. I also do some 3D work in Cinema 4D and Xara3D. The rest is basically pen and paper.

What inspires you?

I never have just one source of inspiration. Every project has different needs so I go to different sources depending on what is needed. For example, for a Web Design I would look for inspiration online; however, if I were after some print design inspiration I would look offline. I also make use of the website – a search engine that many designers use for bookmarking. I’ve also compiled a list of my own inspirational resources that I share on my blog.

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On Layers magazine:

I think the diversification of Layers is what makes it stand out. It really does cater to everyone, which is needed these days. Designers need a large range of skills to be able to work across a variety of mediums.

What are you working on now?

At present, I am working on five logo designs, two websites, an environmentally friendly glass water bottle design, two vodka bottle designs, a liquor bottle design, a 60-page logo design ebook, and a comic book illustration (in collaboration). I am also constantly working on my three personal websites/blogs: Just Creative Design, Logo of the Day, and Logo Designer Blog .

What has been your crowning achievement so far?

I believe my blog Just Creative Design would have to be my biggest achievement. To have a subscriber base of over 16,000+ readers who want to read what I have to say is, to me, quite astonishing. I send out a big thank you to all of my readers — you really do inspire and drive me to learn more and more! Thank you again!

Layers Mag

Layers Mag 2

Any advice?

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Don’t undervalue your work. Seek criticism, not praise. Always keep learning—do this by reading books, magazines, blogs, and by practising. Collect and share things. Teach others. Never give up. Keep practising. Again, keep practising!


My mugshot also appeared for a second time on their “Instant Inspiration” page which is a page near the back of the mag that gets people to subscribe to Layers mag.


In the same issue of Layers magazine, you will also find the tutorial How To Make Your Next Website Design POP that I posted about earlier this week. I also wrote the Layers cover article; Negative Space back in April.

Stay tuned for more because I will be appearing in the next two editions of Layers with some Illustrator tutorials.

Student Mobiles

Moving on from magazines to mobiles… not mobile phones – mobiles – the old fashioned ones. You know the ones you stared at for hours when you were a baby?

Well, first year design students at my University had to create a creative mobile based on the design process of a logo. I actually remember doing this assignment two years ago when I was in first year (in my final year now) so it was quite surreal to come back and see my own logos being used for the assignment.

In total there were three of my own logos being used for the assignment (2 of my JCD logo and 1 of the Ultimate Potential logo). I also noticed Chris Spooner’s Vivid Ways logo being used.

Below you can see a few amateur snaps from the the exhibition. The first picture is a shot of the exhibition with all of the student’s mobiles hanging from the roof.


Below you can see a student’s interpretation of my Just Creative Design logo design process.


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Below you can see a close-up shot of how the student has depicted the design process (using icons).

Process CloseUp

Below you can see a student’s interpretation of Chris Spooner’s Vivid Ways Logo. Spooner’s logo was also awarded Logo Of The Day earlier this month.

Vivid Ways Mobile

Below you can see a student’s interpretation of my Ultimate Potential logo. It is made out of wooden boxes, which is a rather creative way of representing the process.

Ultimate Potential Logo

Below you can see a not-so-creative interpretation of the infamous I Heart NY Logo. The mobile doesn’t depict the process (ie. the purpose of the assignment) but anyway, thought it was worth showing.

I Heart NY Mobile

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Your comments are welcome, as always.

43 thoughts on “Instant Inspiration + Student Mobiles”


    Austrailains are shit graphic designers, this site, the envato series, they are all corrupting what it means to be a graphic designer. Coming from a country with no design culture or background, forcing all this shit onto the web and distorting what true graphic design is. You guys dont have the first notion how to design or what it means to be a designer. Come work for a european studio and see what design is really about.

    Call me elitist or whatever but this is the reality.

    If this sort of shit ‘design’ was music, it would be the lowest for of pop music, the shit that is a one hit wonder. I hope to god that this is just an internet phase that will die off in a few years. It’s balls.

  2. and just to add to it, seeing as I went back over this article, what sort of shit project is that, “mobiles depicting the design process”, thats the sort of bollocks they teach you then it’s no wonder that Australians are deluded from real design.

  3. David,
    First things first, I can agree that the mobile project is a bit left field, however it is the first project that these students complete at design school, and it is a good way to get your head around the process without going into too much detail.

    In regards to the rest of your comments I believe you are totally “distorted” yourself, and are far from open minded.

    Considering your IP address tells me you are from the Netherlands, I doubt that you have ever experienced the real Australian culture (let alone the design culture) and you linking to the Australian YouTube interview reassures me of that. Is that where you are taking your judgements from?

    Also calling Australian designers “shit”, is quite a “distorted” comment in itself… I respect everything Collis from Envato has done – he has built the Envato empire from the ground up and in doing so has enriched the design (& freelancing) community in so many ways.

    It’s no surprise you have not left a web address of your own.

  4. David, just because the talent pool in Australia is smaller doesn’t make the water any less wet, mate.

  5. Very interesting article Jacob, and David’s comment was ridiculously out of line. It’s obvious he hasn’t taken the time to read yours or Collis’ articles before making a judgment call; therefore his opinions don’t hold any sort of weight. Keep up the awesome work!

  6. Look everyone! It’s Lassie! I think he’s trying to tell us something..

    *bark woof howl*

    What’s that Lassie? David Carlington is a faggot?

    *bow wow woof*

    He should Dutch Oven himself to death?

    Oh Lassie! You’re such a cheeky dog!

  7. Fair play Australia doesn’t have the diversity of some of the European schools (Nor to we pretend to) but Aussie design is world class and individual.

    The Envato network is generally considered to be one of the bastions of modern, usable, well designed networks in ANY of the design circles. It’s literally the largest and most trafficked series of sites that relate to design. Do you really think your egotistical and completely unfounded opinion compared to the overwhelming consensus carries any weight?

    Even in the 60’s, icons like Josef Muller-Brockman identified Australia as one of the centres outside of the USA and Europe producing great work.

    And as Jacob says, just because you’re poorly educated on goings on outside of Europe, doesn’t mean it sucks. And honestly that’s what makes working in Aussie design great, a lack of pathetic people like you that give design the stereotype of being a massive, self-absorbed wank.

  8. So Carlington bases his opinion on the whole of Australian designers on one assignment?

    I enjoyed the post Jacob, nothing wrong with doing something a little different every now and then.

  9. @David, if you don’t like what Envato or Australian designers in general are producing, then we all look forward to seeing what you have to offer which will redress the balance. I think the technical term for it is put up or shut up.

  10. I am also in design school, I believe the more abstract the project is, the more you will learn the fundamentals of the process. We spent weeks in my one course trying to convey concepts like “happiness” with elementary shapes to learn and beat the Elements of Principles of Design in our heads.

    It doesn’t matter if our own culture had an art influence or not. Its not like you based your designs off your own culture. If that was true, all my designs would be Pop Art. The importance is that you understand why your own design works. Most likely you applied your personal style and other influences from past art movements.

    I do agree there is a lot of design sheep out there that rip designs and don’t know what makes great design. I was one of them, until I wanted to learn and went to design school. However, this isn’t knew. There always designers and artists that did the same thing. Also, if everyone was amazing graphic design, I wouldn’t have job security :-).

  11. Jacob,

    I think it is great that you allowed this guys response on your bog. He is only making himself look ignorant. He must be really searching for a way to make himself feel good by trying to tear into others.

    david carlington = SAD ;(

    or in the US we call them Douche Bags

    Keep up the good work man…

  12. Congratulations, Mr. Cass. You have had an attack by an internet troll.
    Retaliation is what he wants, and that’s what he got.

  13. I’m at teacher at the uni and I have to admit that the classes here suck. Assignments like these don’t help the students, to many written assessments etc has taken its toll on students and it can been seen in the 3rd years work. A lot of it is poorly designed aesthetically and a lot of students don’t even know how to use the software.

  14. @ david : we wont call you “elitist” we will call you another word from the Australian vernacular – BLOODY WANKER

    I’m glad you had your whinge and got that out of your system, and got yourself a little bit of attention before went back to your elite designer life. If you hate Australian designers so much why did you bother reading this?

    Good job Jacob on having your shit australian design featured in an american magazine.

    i have one gripe however, when i went to subscribe to photoshop uers mag and layers mag last year i read the fine print and found out that in australia i would be emailed a pdf only- no hard copy!
    I hope this has changed/is changing soon.

  15. Very interesting must say:] It must be good feeling when you can see your work used in such way:]

  16. Google “David Carlington”…he doesn’t exist. Interesting, um.

    He has no website, no portfolios, no affiliations, NO CREDIBILITY.


  17. Wow! This is really very cool. I want to study abroad in Australia at some point.

    As for David Carlington, how many truly “great” designs have you produced, as close-minded as you sound, your creativity probably looks like a suffocating hamster. Hope that makes sense.

  18. very interesting article!! and nice execution of the project from the students…

    you inspired me now to make an installation to my room 🙂

    Good job Jacob!

  19. Everyone is subject to their own opinions, but personally ridiculing a student’s efforts to present the design process in a visual way by the means of a mobile, to me, is not constructive criticism. That’s just asking to be an instigator for pointless debate.

    I think this project is a great way to show the visual process a designer goes through with these designs in question. I also think that many people unfamiliar with the processes would find these mobiles to be educational.

    I think it’s great, and offer congratulations to the student’s efforts with these mobiles. I hope they have learnt valuable lessons for years to come as they slowly work towards their future career.

  20. I sure hope David Carlington never becomes a design teacher. His thinking is too rigid.

  21. It must be a great feeling seeing your work being studied by first years at your uni! An even better one being in yet another mag! Congrats, as always!

  22. Hi Jacob,

    I’m a design student in the US and I am kind of stunned to see this kind of project assigned in a students first year in a design program. Shouldn’t the focus in the first year be on learning sophisticated typography, and understanding the basic elements of design? To me this project seems like it would fit much better in a 3D design class. Focusing on the logo design process seems ridiculous to throw at a freshman when they haven’t even learned how to set type well.

    I know you’re just a student at the university and not faculty or anything, I just wanted to throw in my two cents.

  23. Callum,
    It was pretty surreal as I mentioned! Thanks again Callum.

    Yeah only a PDF copy unfortunately. I can’t stand reading a magazine online – there is something about the tangible form that makes the experience so much better (and easier). Thanks for your congrats also.

    This project was an external project that was to be completed outside of class hours – the other basics, etc. are taught in class. I believe it is a good project that allows you to look at the process from another perspective and get a bit hands on.

  24. Where do these guys come from? I mean, the guy is from Netherlands, probably from around a city called SIN CITY and he talks about cultures and backgrounds! C’mon on david, your culture was written by hookers! How could you possibly think of yourself as an elitist? Bloody Wanker may be…lol.

    As for the project, it looks like fun, which is very much needed for first year students to keep on going and get inspired. I’m pretty sure that some of them were wishing and working hard right then so that the next year students would have their logos on their sets. These are the things that keeps a struggling designer going no matter what. I’m a designer myself, not a great one I might add, every time I read Jacob’s articles and see his “shits”, I actually get really inspired and motivated to work harder to become “someone” someday, so that people would quote me and stuff.

    Man, it’s been quite sometime since I’ve been this pissed. F off David, find a rock, hide under it, you’re nothing more than a shame to your country and culture.

  25. Lucas,
    Thanks for your kind words and I’ll take you up on that beer offer 😉 I may be in the Big Apple in January too – I’m guessing your from the states?

  26. David,

    Been following your work/site for a while…medium sized fan. I really do enjoy the discussions that take place in the comments section of your articles; I think they are enriching to the design community as a whole. Funny when a commenter like Douchebag shows up and inspires people like me who tend not to comment much to do so.

    Keep doing what you do, you seem to be an interesting, well rounded guy whom we could all stand to learn a few things from. If ever I’m on the big island, love to share a pint or ten!

    Aussie aussie aussie, oi oi oi!

  27. Jacob,

    Yup, here in Raleigh, NC to be specific. Pretty progressive area with a nice art scene and good job market, esp. in these times. Spent a good bit of time working in kitchens after design school, learning from some great chefs and having an awesome time. Now its to the office, bright and early to design collegiate tees. It’s fun work, but fairly basic and sometimes I feel as though my hands are tied by design and production restrictions. I hope to be in a position similar to yours one day; working hard and toiling for a dream and company all my own. Your site serves as an inspiration for that goal, and hopefully one day I’ll be posting my own pictures of worldly travel. Amsterdam, anyone? I am rambling, Peace Jacob NYC Holler!

  28. Hey Jacob! Congrats on the publicity! What an exciting opportunity and the article looks great. I’m determined to get my hands on a copy to read the full text. I’ve been following your blog faithfully since I came across it a few months ago – you certainly have offered a lot of “catch up” material for me to read up on. Love it all, inspired big time by what you’ve done and what you’re doing – keep it up!

    p.s. – wow, what awesome affirmation for you to see your designs now being studied by students a few years under you. You’re making quite an impact!

  29. Hey Jacob! Congrats on the publicity! What an exciting opportunity and the article looks great. I’m determined to get my hands on a copy to read the full text. I’ve been following your blog faithfully since I came across it a few months ago – you certainly have offered a lot of “catch up” material for me to read up on. Love it all, inspired big time by what you’ve done and what you’re doing – keep it up!

    p.s. – wow, what awesome affirmation for you to see your designs now being studied by students a few years under you. You’re making quite an impact!

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