Stay Creative and Inspired at Home.

For those who don’t know us, here’s a short recap of our story: Last year we left our home in Munich and booked some one-way tickets to Australia. This is where our journey with BRANDY & COCO started. Somewhere, in good old Western Australia, in our yellow old-timer van. We traveled over 30.000 km along the coastline, met amazing people from all over the world, swam with whale sharks and manta rays. We literally finished up our new website while parking up next to the beach, while watching humpback whales in Exmouth. We visited places we would have never seen without stepping out of our comfort zone. A year full of impressions and experiences, which is so important for us as designers. Because: this is our way to stay creative and inspired.

Behind the Scenes – @hej.earth

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

– Mark Twain

Creativity-boosting tips

But then, there was COVID and all our future plans got mixed up. We shipped the van back to Europe, booked some flights from Sydney, managed to find an apartment back home, so we could isolate ourselves and start all over again. Hello, German bureaucracy! Some things are different and some are still the same. Currently, we’re living somewhere outside of the city until things have calmed down. Now where we’ve got our little pup Frankie around, this #stayhome game is a lot more fun.

Why are we telling you all of this? Obviously, last year, we had so much input, whereas this year is the complete opposite. Just like many of us, we’re staying at home during these stupid times and are working for clients from our home office. For anyone, but especially for us as Designers, it has become more important than ever to have a little creative outlet and inspiration. Luckily, we’re still able to develop visual identities and web solutions for some amazing brands and people out there. For this, we do need to get inspired creatively. So here are our creativity-boosting tips and links on how to stay creative and inspired at home:

If you always do what you are used to, you’ll never know what inspires you outside of your comfort zone.

1. Explore Art from Home

Thanks to technology, we all can still feed our brain by visiting online exhibitions curated by huge museums to niche exhibition galleries, it’s about time to enjoy some art right from our couch. Personally, we love exploring the Arts and Culture page by Google, an online platform partnering with amazing galleries, through which we can view high-resolution images and videos of artworks throughout the world. So, check out the MoMA page, or plenty more.

MoMA Partner Page (Link)

We both love Street Art, and always find cities covered in good Murals a great inspiration. We truly miss those vibrant places like London’s East End or Melbourne. Here’s an Arts and Culture page that gives you a vibe of carefree city life.

Link to Street Art Page (Link)

2. Play around with new fonts.

Is it just us or are there are so many amazing new typefaces out there? This year, we’ve gone a lot deeper into exploring new fonts. Updating our font libraries with some fresh new fonts has been a game-changer for us in developing some new identities. By doing this, we found some great resources which we would like to share with you. Here are some of our favorite pages:

Open Foundry (Link)– an amazing platform with a huge collection of open source fonts. This website is so well done and great to experiment with different kerning or sizing options. So no need to download and install fonts, this page does just everything for you and makes design a whole lot easier. Seriously, how cool is this page?

Awwwards (Link) – Not only for fonts, but the awwwards page is also such a great place to gain online inspiration on design, branding, campaigns, typography, and more. Our favorite bit is the free font page though, which comes with so many beautiful curated fonts.

Type Method (Link) – Play around with some typography games. There are some nice exercises available for you to discover your typo knowledge. This page is a perfect solution to sharpen your skills in Kerning.

Shape Type (Link) – Is an interactive game to practice your skills with curves. You’ll learn a lot about font details and their fundamental differences in certain typeface styles. It drives us crazy not reaching 100 percent of similarity to the original letters.

The League of Moveable Type (Link) – another cool open-source foundry, which offers an amazing catalog of free fonts. We’re sure you’ll find a typeface that makes your heart beat a little faster. We love sharing those resources with you since this is such a good opportunity for brands or people with a limited budget to still gain a great, unique look. They also have a good Podcast which leads us to our new inspiration resource!

3. Listen to Podcasts.

Social interaction means the physical human connection is what we miss the most. Since we worked remotely from the very beginning, we are used to doing our meetings virtually, but brainstorming with other creatives and develop rough ideas together until they form a shape is just a different thing.

Somehow, we feel like listening to Podcasts is a form of communication. Following other people’s conversations keeps us both informed and entertained. Podcasts can make you feel like being part of something and help to navigate ourselves through these times personally and professionally. Filled with ideas and insights, the following Podcasts are our favorite picks that spark our creativity:

Business Punk – How to Hack (German)
This is probably the Podcast we listen to the most. We love how entrepreneurs and Creatives share their thoughts, experiences about branding, or learnings in building up a business.

Baby Got Business (German)
Strong insights about Social Media, behind-the-scenes stories, business and creative talks – this podcast is such an enrichment for any Designer or Brand.

4. Social Media for the Win.

We know, Instagram (Link) drains so much time. At the same time though, it is a huge part of our every day and, if used correctly, an amazing asset for information and inspiration. Start following accounts that share content you’re interested in and explore new hashtags. For us as designers, it’s the easiest way to connect with other Designers out there. Simply start a conversation, use your reach, or communicate with your audience. Because this is what this platform is made for – social interaction, which, especially during social distancing, is so important.

Nothing new, but still a part of our daily routine:

Pinterest (Link) has always been a huge part of conceptual processes. It’s like a visual search engine for literally anyone and makes life a lot easier. We’ve recently added Dribbble (Link) to our inspiration list, which is not only visually interesting. The platform offers a huge variety of motivating articles on their Blog, that help you to stay up to date and informed about what’s on in the world of design, where to grab some freebies, or what’s trending in Interface Design or the Socials.

5. Take a break.

Back in Australia, we’ve spent most of our time outside, whereas now back home, we often got stuck with our Laptops, working till late because we were just in the flow and wanted to finish our projects. We all know how that feels. Now we have Frankie, and things are a lot different. We’re outside at least three times a day for walks around the lake or out in the woods. It took us a while to realize that off-time isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength and our creativity-booster. For us, this work-life balance thing has such a big impact on our health, well-being, and last but not least creativity and productivity. Once you’re working remotely, as many of us this year, the lines between work and life get blurred. Our advice: take a step back from your computer. Now more than ever, we all need some digital detox and some fresh air. There are endless possibilities, so go and spend your time being present in the moment. Go, and create every day for yourself and others.

We think, this year, we all have been forced out of our comfort zones. Creativity thrives on challenges. There’s a new layer of complexity in our environments which is a huge motivation for us to find solutions that are innovative and new, not only in working remotely but also in staying focused, creative, and inspired. And next year, we’ll hopefully be able to have our mobile office rolling again, and get inspired along the way.