Hello, everybody! Are you busy getting creative with it all? I hope so!

A fan on Facebook recently asked me what periodicals I read to get my design inspiration. After I wrote a virtual book as an answer I realized, Whoa! Somebody else might like to know. Plus, I’d love to teach you about an amazing convenience that you can do with your computer called Copy. And another one called Paste. Use the first command to put all your stuff onto a “virtual” clipboard. That was the “copy”. Then “paste” that stuff onto your new place! You’re welcome!

What follows is my response.

Oops, sorry [Facebook fan]! Your question was for me and I just realized that. I’m going to take a moment also to thank you for saying “periodicals” instead of “magazines”. It is important to be sensitive in this time of intense gun control debate.

When I first started designing graphic design, I followed the edict of every design professornal (professor + professional). “Don’t look at anything.” That is such great advice because young designers—or in my case, youngish designers—run the risk of copying everything we see and not making any decisions on our own. So, the first 3 months of my graphic design career was spent in the bathroom and bedroom where I covered or removed anything that had been designed. The only exception being the instructional books to my design software. I turned off the internet, stowed away my Palm Centro (that was so hard!), covered the windows to avoid seeing the #5 bus with it’s casino ad and the #3 bus’ pro-breast feeding Ad Council campaign. I then entered the period I now call the “Terry Thinks He’ll Periwinkle Era.” The experience was remarkable! I spent nearly every waking moment learning how Terry Cloff designs. NOT how a cereal box designer designs. NOT how a Newsweek designer designs. How TERRY CLOFF, future owner of Successful Power Design, designs. When I came out the other side, two things had been accomplished.

  1. I had decided to paint my room, hallway, and bathroom periwinkle.
  2. I knew I needed to start looking at things again, starting with, you guessed it! Periodicals.

So I took a trip to Kroger and just went wild.

One might assume I went straight for the “dude’s” magazines. Not THOSE kind, Kroger is a family store. I mean the rags that meat-head, techie, hipster business men buy like The Economist. Not for me. I have culture and an open mind. I knew that a good designer (after looking at nothing for a self-imposed period of time) gets inspiration from everything. So I grabbed The Economist anyway. Plus that month’s issue of National Geographic (classic!), WIRED, Cowboys & Indians, Handgunner, Martha Stewart’s thing, Oprah’s thing, Rachael Ray’s thing, and something called Fantasy, which had something to do with football.

All good stuff. But I still lacked a sense of connectedness with my new career and peers. I needed to know what other designers were talking about when they would “talk amongst themselves”, as a famous manish lady talk-show host was fond of saying. Once my internet was restored (internet companies are like libraries, as I see it. At libraries they prefer you don’t reshelve your book when you’re done because you’ll probably do it wrong. AT&T prefers that you just don’t pay if you wish to discontinue service because, I assume turning off the internet is fairly complicated and I don’t want to lose it for anybody else)…Let me start over again. Once my internet was restored I did some research, you guessed it, online. And shiver-me-timbers there are so. many. periodicals. about. graphic. design. out. there. let. me. tell. you!

design-magazine-coverMy favorite so far is one they call HOW. I haven’t read it yet, but I should be receiving a complimentary copy soon. There is another one called WHY, I think. I did order a box of old copies of Communication Arts of Craig’s List. But don’t tell the guy I bought them from, I think they’re actually books. Like a periodical would ever cost twenty-four dollars. He also said he’d throw in a few copies of a few graphic design magazines about watercolor painting. Nice guy but as the saying goes I think he fell off a rocking chair.

Another promising looking publication is called Print, but I don’t think I’ll subscribe since everybody knows print is dead.

Sadly, I don’t have the money to subscribe to much that I found online and Kroger doesn’t carry a single one.

I really thank you for asking such a good question. Do you have any recommendations?

My name is Terry Cloff and I am a 44 year old graphics designer! New to the field but learning fast! For example: "Simplicity". I also get down to good music, long walks and spending quality time with my designs.

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