We can’t stress the importance of maintaining an eagle eye on design trends, and we certainly do our best to stay in the loop. During our free time, when we can find a moment to tear ourselves away from the Justin Bieber saga, we like to take a gander at the finer design industry blogs and publications. As a packaging design firm, we feel it’s essential to keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations, and become better acquainted with the design world’s who’s who.
We’re quite familiar with a great many resources, but we’ve found — as we’re sure you have, too — that the world of online design industry publication is filled with endlessly regurgitated information. Of course, the online news industry is the same way — stories culled from a handful of original sources and cycled and recycled throughout the blogosphere in the guise of original insight. How do you find original pieces and trusted industry sources? By listening to us, of course!
There are a few essential design blogs, and we’re sure you can certainly think of a few that offer fascinating insights (SmashBrand, you say? Well, we weren’t groping for praise, but thank you!). Here are five that we value highly:
And a “smashing” magazine it is! Smashing Magazine is a German Web design publication that features articles, blogs, e-book resources and a pulsating job board. The main focus is on Web design and Web design minutiae, but there’s a fair amount of Internet marketing strategy in the mix. We turn to Smashing Magazine when we’re curious about global Web design developments, because they consistently feature good, thorough design perspectives, and we feel a kinship with any organization that incorporates the term “smash” in its name.
The Die Line
Quite simply the premier packaging design Web publication. We say this because of its consistent devotion to new and intriguing packaging developments, and not at all because it has applauded SmashBrand packaging designs (Little River Smokehouse and Way Fare! Woot!).
The Die Line also has an annual award packaging competition featuring entrants from all over the world. For the past five years, The Die Line has awarded some pretty nifty packaging concepts, which have gone on to greatly influence the packaging design world. Who would have thought that there could be more than one way to package bandages?
Obviously, not only for designers — Entrepreneur Magazine is for everyone who desperately wants to scratch and claw their way to millionaire status! For designers, however, there is a wealth of information about branding, online marketing, Web trends, SEO and social media. And, since designers are largely lone wolves relying on themselves and only themselves to move ahead in this thorny and competitive world, it is vital to have an online resource telling you to get off of your tuchas and update your portfolio and do all of the things that incredibly successful people do that you, currently, don’t.
The furious multitasker of graphic design ‘zines, How Magazine is still a print magazine, but has branched into the online world like a raging backyard vine. It hosts multiple design competitions, has a series of online courses through How Design University, publishes design books, and is the all-around graphic designers’ bodhisattva. It’s a great periodical for designers of all skill levels — from students to grizzled veterans.
Graphic Design USA
Now, this is the magazine pretty much exclusively for grizzled veterans, or, at least, design professionals (degree of grizzle notwithstanding). It’s been around since 1963, so it’s definitely the elder statesman of design industry trade magazines. It also hosts four pretty darned prestigious design awards.
We strongly advise you to check out these publications. Whether you’re a fancy-free freelancer or happily ensconced in a reputable packaging design firm, you’ll definitely find major value in these trades, both from their invaluable wealth of information, and also the bounty of steal-able ideas — not that we’d ever encourage that, for the record.