Everyone has one. A list of their favorite designers that they go back and refer to for inspiration time and time again. Below is my list of designers I find to be at the top of their creative game.
1. Aaron Draplin - draplin.com
Aaron Draplin is the most inspirational speaker I have ever had the pleasure to see and an incredible designer to boot. "Work hard and love this shit" is one of my favorite quotes from his talk at Wed Design Day 2013. He has so much passion and love for what he does that you can't help feeling inspired. Much like his personality, his work is bold and to the point.
2. Dan Mall - danielmall.com
Another designer I had the pleasure of seeing at Web Design Day (If you you live in Pittsburgh have never been you really need to check it out). Dan is an art director, designer and founder of SuperFriendly. The designs produced by the SuperFriendly team this year are not just beautiful but extremely user friendly. His blog post on element collages inspired me to start incorporating them into my own design process which I have found leads to more constructive design conversations with the clients.
3. Jessica Hische - jessicahische.is
My go to inspiration for when it comes to hand lettering and typography. Jessica Hische has worked with clients such as Wes Anderson (talk about a dream job) and Barnes and Noble (You've probably seen these). She has coined the term "procastiwork" which has resulted in some great side projects like the web series Don't Fear the Internet and The "Should I Work for Free?" flowchart.
4. Paul Jarvis - pjrvs.com
Paul Jarvis has been a freelance designer for almost two decades and has the portfolio to prove it. His attention to detail and desire to stray from the norm make him a constant inspiration. He also offers some pretty stellar advice for freelancers on his blog.
5. Ludlow Kingsley - ludlowkingsley.com
I'm breaking my own rules by naming the agency Ludlow Kingsley as my fifth favorite designer. Ludlow Kingsley reaches that perfect middle ground between quirky and simple. They do an amazing job of portraying a brand's personality through design.
By no means is this list an end all. I'm constantly being inspired by new designers all the time. If you know of someone that should be on my radar feel free to drop me a line on twitter!