Finding Inspiration

Artists and designers are always on the lookout for that spark of inspiration to kickstart their imaginative journeys. Many of them find this inspiration in the amazing work of fellow creators.

Imagine you're a young artist or designer, and you're about to uncover the secrets of where your creative ideas come from. It could be the music that makes your heart sing, the incredible world of photography, a visit to an art gallery, or even the magic of watching other talented craftspeople at work.

Starting an art or design project might seem like a puzzling task because there are so many exciting possibilities. The simplest place to start is by choosing a theme.

Starting with a Theme

Artists and designers are like explorers on a quest to find that special spark of inspiration, the magical beginning of their creative adventures. Many of them discover this spark by drawing inspiration from the world around them or from their other interests.

But what's a theme, you ask? Well, think of it as the heartbeat of your creative work. It's the big idea that will start off your ideas and guide your project. Your theme can come from various sources, such as:

Even a single word or a short phrase can ignite your creative passion!

Choosing a Theme - Guidance 

You want to pick a theme which is of interest to you and has the scope for gathering primary research easily (your own photographs/artifacts etc). It should be broad enough to allow you to design multiple pieces of artwork/products, using multimedia as appropriate. Try to think of potential Graphic Products you could be designing artwork for. 


  •  Think of a title for your project. This can give you direction and let others, including the examiner, understand your intentions.
  • Ensure that the topic you choose is something that you really care about and which can sustain your interest for a year
  • Pick a theme that is open-ended, that gives you lots of ideas and room to change your mind
  • Make sure you will have access to quality first-hand source material (i.e. your own photos or objects)
  • Choose a theme with substance that has aesthetic appeal to you


  • Don't start with a final outcome in mind – the creative process is just as important. Allow yourself to be inspired and make new discoveries.
  • Pick a theme that isn’t relevant to you or just because you think the examiner will like it
  • With only a few good ideas, you need a project that you can explore for the whole year
  • Pick a topic because you think it will be easy or sounds ‘cool’
  • Choose themes which are ‘cheesy’ or ‘overdone’

For example, Nature could be a good theme because it's easy to get photographs (we live in a beautiful world) and I could anticipate projects such as packaging, advertising, book/magazine design, signage for nature trails, maps etc. However, whilst that interests ME it might not interest you. It is really important to pick a theme that interests YOU!

If you are stuck for what theme to pick, try having a look at the list below for some ideas.

Examples of Possible Themes

Exploring your theme

A handy tool to help you explore a wide range of ideas for your possible theme is the mindmap. It's like a web of creativity that'll guide you through the maze of possibilities and help you uncover the possible ideas for your project. The aim of a mindmap is to explore every possible idea (good or bad!) to help you work out what is possible.

Check out the example to see how a mindmap can transform a single word into a world of inspiration. It's like a treasure hunt for ideas, and it's bound to fill your creative sails with wind!