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Finding inspiration is not easy in these last gasps of winter (when, oh when, will it end?!?). At least, that’s my excuse for my growing fascination with the latest facebook time-waster, the random album cover generator. I’m more than a little uncomfortable with the idea that it could be this easy to design an album cover, let alone with the copyright can of worms it opens. But then again I sort of see it as a postmodern version of surrealist practice of automatic drawing, updated for the digital age. And I’ll admit that, while it’s not all that different from the work I actually get paid to do, I really want to try it.

Maybe I’m only speaking for myself here, but we designers aren’t necessarily the best and figuring out ways to blow off creative steam. Yeah, I have a sketchbook and a journal, but am I methodical about jotting down ideas and letting my mind wander across the page wherever it will? Nopez. Do I create designs for the pure fun of it, no clients, no deadlines? Uh uh. I sit in front of the computer all day working. Then I sit in front of the computer some more staring at the internet. Then I go to bed. Obviously, it’s time for a self-intervention.

Not that I think random-album-cover-generating is going to be my salvation, but one little personal project, once a week or so, could possibly drag me out of these deep-winter doldrums. If you want to join in the fun, here are a couple of other ideas I’ve stumbled upon that might even pull you away from the computer for a minute or two:

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BOOOOOOOM! suggests altering a magazine cover in whatever way you see fit (“pen, pencils, paint, scissors, whatever!”). Then you can scan it and submit it for inclusion in the site. They also have a gallery of past projects for more dazzling ideas (photo from BOOOOOOOM!).

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Or check out Cubecraft where you can download, cut and assemble paper toys from templates, like the one above for Rubee Cubee by designer Marshall Alexander. If you’re extra motivated you can also try your hand at designing one yourself.

Got any more ideas to keep my brain from mushing? Please, please, pleeeeaaaase send them to me.

Oh, and of course, here’s my album cover (I did cheat and use an image of my own, but I swear it was chosen completely at random):

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