TED Talks



Good Morning! I have been a huge fan of Joanna Waterfall (Waterfall Creative) ever since I discovered her design work a few months back. It is super inspiring and has such a “feel good” personality. I am also an avid reader of her blog, which has some great inspiration and resources for designers, be sure to check it out. Welcome Joanna!

What inspired you to become a graphic designer? I was lucky enough to have a high school that offered graphic design classes. Unfortunately  I never took one! I always wanted to, but the boyfriend I had at the time was really into graphic design. I always saw it as his thing, and I didn’t want to invade on his territory. (I know I know, really dumb, but I was in high school!) So I took photography instead. This is where I learned how to work a camera and use Photoshop. I really loved it. My plan was to go to school for Photography and eventually have my own photography business.

Come first two years of college, I was an art major with an emphasis in photography. I took painting, drawing, photography, figure studies, 2-d, 3-d and 4-d design… My life was all art, all the time! My junior year, I studied art in Italy. (Talk about art overload!) and when I came back, the world was really a different place. Obama had just been elected (the first time) the economy had plummeted  and my family had moved away from my hometown. The reason being that my dad had started a new job as a professor at a small university. I was offered free tuition there, and decided to take it. I transferred schools and went to the university my dad was teaching at. This school didn’t have a great art program, but had a real up and coming graphic design program. With entering my senior year of college, I had been questioning how I would make money using the skills I had developed, so I decided to switch my major to graphic design, fell in love with it, and the rest is history!

What do you do to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person? Great question. I am constantly challenging myself to step away from the computer and create with a paintbrush, a pen and real paper. If I feel like I’m in a creative slump, sometimes I’ll draw with my left hand, and see what happens. Or I’ll grab a few random objects from my house and try to make them into something new. I find that getting out of the norm and thinking with different parts of your brain really helps to get the creative juices flowing.

Where do you go for inspiration? I have found that I am most inspired by talking to like minded people who are making things happen in the world. Going to conferences, or just hanging out with motivated people really inspires me the most. Watching TED Talks are also really inspiring. (Here is my favorite on on the creative process… check it out!) I used to go directly to places like Pinterest, Dribbble, the Graphic Exchange, or other design blogs for inspiration, but I’ve tried to limit that in my process lately. I’m trying to go more into old books, museums, or even cool restaurants that inspire me. A place like an old library is really inspiring as well. It’s like the old version of the internet- tons of information at your finger tips, but you can hold it, smell it, interact with it a way you can’t while sitting in front of a computer screen.

Are there any unexpected places you look for inspiration outside of your field? I love music, and watching music videos has really been inspiring me lately. They are so creative, it’s a different form of art I’ve always been intrigued by. Inspiration strikes at the strangest times… most I can’t really pin down. It kind of just happens…

But out of all my sources of inspiration, I seem to find the most from the natural world around me. Like looking up at the stars on a clear night, or spending some time to look at the ocean, think about all of the wildlife living in it, and how it goes on what seems to be forever. I love taking long drives at night by myself and just thinking about life. Whenever I have the chance to step outside of myself and see the world from a perspective that is greater than my own little world, here I am most inspired.

Thanks Joanna! Make sure to take a look at her blog and portfolio!