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How to Develop Your Visual Intelligence

Feed your mind with new ideas

Reading your favorite blogs and following favorite artists is half the work. You need to invite polarity into your feed.

Consuming a range of diverse imagery is an important part of a designer's work. The ability to analyze and compartmentalize what you see comes from experience, and it's a skill that strengthens over time.


Just like in sports, practice makes perfect. Well, not perfect, but practice will make you darn good and near perfect. In our case, the practice of research and observation is no exception.

Allocate 20-30 minutes a day to view and assess other people's work.

Platforms we love include:


Having a structure to your process can be very helpful and save you a lot of time. To properly assess information, break down your process into components.

Once you spot a project, ask the following questions:
  • What did you like about the project?
  • What methods are used?
  • What fonts/colors are used?
  • How is the grid/typography built?

Copy ≠ plagiarism

Replicating someone's work is good practice. You understand the construction and visual principles used. You can imitate the designer's logic and reasoning behind decisions and learn from this process. Copying someone's work and presenting it as your own is a different story and we hope you understand the difference.


Are you able to retain information and filter for good ideas?

A good habit to have is practicing mood boards in Notion. Create categories like Typography, Web Design, and Brand Identity, then save images and write comments with your thoughts and observations. Remember to add tags and links to original resources.

Expand your horizons and dive into fields of design other than your own.

Taste is formed from watching films, observing architecture, and tunning into your surroundings.

You'll know that you're becoming an experienced designer when:
  • you start working faster, without sacrificing quality;
  • it's easier to come up with creative ideas;
  • you stay up to date with current trends;
  • you grow professionally.

A selection of Instagram accounts from me to develop visual intelligence:
  • @morrre.dsgn (great account with a selection of current designs)
  • @swiiishy (beautiful account of a 3D artist)
  • (an account of an independent font distributor, led by a different designer each month(
  • @bestofpackaging (an account with a selection of original packaging)
  • @editor.grid (an account with a great selection of printed designs)

Want more useful tips for designers and creators?

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Social Animals is a full-service creative agency. We work worldwide and provide services such as Brand and Communication Strategies, Graphic Design, 3D & Motion and more.