9 on Design: Websites and Blogs to Inspire You


So many rich, inspirational, informative websites and blogs are now online that help keep us here at ImageSmith up to date. We have many favorites, and want to share a few in this post with the hope you find and bookmark a new resource to fire up your imagination. They are a true mixture, but one common denominator is they always help to provide inspiration and insight for design and marketing ideas.

In no certain order:




“All things PRINT all the time.” Now with that tagline, you know we love this site. The proud creation of Chicago-based Brian Szubinski and Jason Shudy, inkondapaper is full of the latest news on print, design, direct mail, technology and more. A great resource for anyone working in or relying on the creativity and innovation of the print world.



With their tagline “the pulse of media”,  media bistro is an expansive site hosting many different blogs all serving as an international resource for media professionals. Keep up with news from a variety of fields you may not have time to otherwise be an expert on such as 3D printing, mobile apps, job searches, public relations, advertising, semantic web and broadcast news.


Studiodaas Magazine or www.dnjg.be

Based in Rotterdam, this site with the cute green housefly logo is rich with stories, links, downloads and information about “design, web design, typography, web development, graphic design, photography and more…” Browse around and discover great links to tutorials on innovative typography, print projects, free font downloads. The site is well curated and geared for the progressive designer.



Live from New York, Flavorwire is a slick, up-to-the-minute website that features original reporting and critique on global cultural news. Their Twitter profile says that includes: “art, books, music, and pop culture the world over. Highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between.” Click over on the right to the Design section for great news and inspiration about the field of graphic design.



The blog of graphic designer Visco Duque from Lisbon, Portugal – Rebento never fails to feature innovative, fresh, cutting edge designs, photography and illustrations that are an inspiration. It feels like a world market of design, a great place to browse.



Modern magazine redesigns, world’s biggest sand artwork, engraved typography, paintings for the blind…. just a sample of the wonderful mixture of current articles on Inspirationhut. This online art and design “magazine” focuses on talent and inspiration, and also offers frequent font, psd, texture and other downloads that designers love to find.



A “graphic design lifestyle blog,” youthedesigner’s focus is the design professional – so expect to find practical inspirational spotlights and interviews, news on competitions, workshops, and technology as well as freebies, contests, print templates, info graphics, and the like.



The blog of Trüf creative, an award winning design firm in Santa Monica, CA – “A Creative Studio Obsessed with Designing Better Brands.”  Great sense of style and color, this blog always inspires and informs.



“Blogging on the offbeat, the unique and the chic” – articles here on fashion, culture and inspiration feel like a great find in neat corner shop. Another great place to browse. 




ImageSmith is proud to be a printer in an exciting era of digital communication. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing. They should also be able to work with you to solve any difficult prepress issues with your files. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!
Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

8 Moments in, Not the History of Paper… but the Paper of History!

We love paper – and it is not very difficult to make a case for the iconic role paper has played in our lives and history. Take a look below at a few watershed moments of the past century and notice the piece of paper, print or photography right at its center.

1920 – Women’s Suffrage

After a struggle that began in earnest in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, women were finally granted the right to vote in the U.S. through the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The power of that small paper ballot and the extension of suffrage to all people changed the face of all elections to come.


1927 – Lindbergh’s Welcome Home

Following Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St. Louis, he received a hero’s welcome in what had already become an American tradition, the Ticker-Tape Parade. Filling the skies of New York City with paper seems a fitting way to pay tribute to the pilot who worked hard to promote snail mail through the U.S. Air Mail Service.

Manhattan Project and Dewey Defeats Truman

1942 – The Manhattan Project

The notebook seen above on the right records an experiment of the Manhattan Project, the US Government’s secret race to build an atomic bomb during World War II. Noted on this yellowed paper is the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, achieved on December 2, 1942.

1946 – “Dewey Defeats Truman”

The now infamously wrong predicition of the Chicago Tribune‘s banner headline has become synonymous with jumping to conclusions before all the facts, or in this case votes, are in. The presses rolled too soon, as Truman emerged the victor of the 1948 presidential race.

Eisenhower's executive order for Little rock and Photos of Guantanamo Bay Missles

1957 – Desegregation at Little Rock’s Central High School

Above (left) is President Eisenhower’s executive order of September 23, 1957 which sent Federal troops to Central High School in Little Rock, AR. One piece of paper – Executive Order 10730 – placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and brought 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers in to restore order and enforce the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that overturned the “separate but equal” laws and enforced the desegregation of public schools.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis

Printed photographs like the one above reached President Kennedy in Washington in October of 1962 and provided proof that the Soviet Union had installed medium-range nuclear weapons in Cuba which were capable of striking major U.S. cities and killing tens of millions of Americans within minutes. The world held it’s breath for two weeks until the Soviets agreed to dismantle the missles, thus averting international nuclear war.

Campbell's Soup Paper Dress and Earth Day

1966 – Warhol’s Soup Cans and a Paper Dress

Symbolizing the ongoing revolution in art, culture and marketing of the sixties, Andy Warhol’s screen printed images of a Campbell’s soup can even made an appearance as the ultimate in disposable fashion – a dress made of paper. Pop Art transported the commonplace and mass-produced into the realm of high society with a healthy dose of irony.

1970 – Earth Day

The modern environmental movement gained widespread attention in 1970 with the first celebration of Earth Day, symbolized by the now internationally recognized symbol for recycling. The “Mobius Loop” design was the work of a 23 year old college student named Gary Anderson. Today paper is an environmentally sustainable and renewable resource, and 87% of Americans have access to curbside recycling for paper products.

For any questions about print, marketing or communication, ask your printer. They can help you consider your choices and develop a marketing plan, long or short range. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!


ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Judging by the Cover: Memorable Book Cover Design

Judging a book by its cover is, in most cases, not a wise idea. But that old adage tends to diminish the importance that a cover plays in the interaction we have with a book. Judging by the cover may be unwise, but the impression a cover gives is very influential. The very mention of a book title can immediately brings to mind the image of its cover – that image becomes tied to the work, the author, the experience of reading the novel. Below are a few samples that got impressed into my memory over the years:

Book Cover Design

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The cover was painted by Francis Cugat, and it is said that Fitzgerald was so enamored with the work (which was completed before he had finished his novel) that he incorporated it into his story. Entitled “Celestial Eyes,” it is probably one of the most iconic and best known covers in publishing history.

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute – Grace Paley

Edward Hopper’s “Compartment C, Car 293,” an oil painting of a young woman reading on a train, is a beautiful illustration for Gracy Paley’s collection of short stories, all set in New York. Once read, its hard not to see Paley’s narrator Faith as the woman on the train.

Salinger and Burgess

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
and The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Such simliar covers for two very different books. The straightforward serif font in yellow on a classic crimson background reveals very little about the story inside Catcher in the Rye, yet is without a doubt inextricably tied to the story in the minds of millions of readers. Similarly Burgess’ futuristic distopian thriller could seem almost too bizarre to evoke in such a simple cover. Amazing how the simple skewing of the sans serif title diagonally across the orange background does the job wonderfully.

Examples of Book Cover Design

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway and
Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner

Two favorite novels of mine – but not what I would consider great book covers. In a way, they seem lazy – almost as if someone decided “Hey, this image will work, won’t it?” But these two images are what springs to mind whenever I hear these titles. Would a better choice have made for a better reading experience as well?

Book Cover Design from Classic Paintings

It’s interesting to notice the frequency with which classic paintings by great masters, that generally have nothing to do with the novel they are chosen to represent, are so often the choice for cover designs – and are an uncannily perfect fit. Penguin Classics is one publisher that relies heavily on this technique, finding classic portraits that seem to perfectly represent the character in a novel.


In my opinion, the best book cover designs often lean toward simplicity and minimalism. There is something powerful in sensing the feel or meaning of a novel’s theme in just the barest of images, or color, or font placement… a simple, eloquent cover that hints at the complexity within. (Regardless of the cover, if you haven’t read the novels above, do yourself a favor and check them out. All great reads.)


Rely on your printer for advice and direction in design and branding decisions. They have years of experience working with the entire gamut of design trends and tastes. If they can’t help you, they will know who can! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.