3 Reasons Why You Should Create A Visual Diary

Published on 3rd February, 2018 by Marc Smiddy

We’re a creative bunch at MSGD and have been honing our design skills over many years. We love designing, doodling, sketching and coming up with fresh ideas, but one thing that has always stuck in my mind is something an old art tutor once said, “all art comes from other art”. I think what she was trying to say is that subconsciously we create and adapt work from something else that has once inspired us. Whether this be a piece of graphic design, artwork, architecture or even a memory, we become inspired by what we see on a daily basis.

Based on this I have always kept a visual diary (posh terminology for a sketch book…). Our studio is now full of them and we thought we would take a look through our back catalogue of sketchbooks to help inspire fellow artists and designers. Along with this it made sense to put together 3 reasons why you should create a visual diary for yourself.



This is probably the most important part and the main purpose of a visual diary.

If you see something you like, whether it’s a poster or a photograph, make sure you stick it in your diary. Annotate it. Doodle on it. Develop new ideas with it. You may not do anything with it straight away but it could come in handy for that awkward project you’re working on six months to a year down the line.

It doesn’t have to be something physical either. It could be a thought – that great idea that you will probably forget in an hours time, but if you make a note of it within your diary you can come back to it when you are ready and start visualising aspects of it.

The sketchbook becomes full of things that inspire you, but in turn the book itself becomes inspiration. We are often delving through our archive of sketchbooks as they are a fantastic resource of ideas.



Developing your work will always create a better solution in the long run. It doesn’t matter what you put into your diary, if it’s a drawing, a photograph or just a simple note, try re-sketching your idea, annotating it, photocopying it, or rip it up and reposition it – the options are endless, but you will always find that you will create something much more special than your initial starting point. The purpose of a visual diary is to be creative and therefore the development process is key – you can never over-develop ideas, they are all worth something. We have often used a whole sketch book for just one idea – you can never have too many visual diaries!



If you’re like me you will often sketch on various bits of paper or collect various items on your travels. It’s not always practical to carry your visual diary everywhere you go, however save this items/ideas and collate them into your diary at a later stage. Having one place to store them means they won’t get lost and in turn will create a holy bible of inspiration.

We hope this has inspired you to create your own visual diary but if you are a little stuck at where to start take a look at a selection of ours below.



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