26th October 2022
Looking for inspiration to fuel your creative fire
Inspiration is fundamental to everything we do, as well as our work. It keeps us energised and curious. This is why we look at how to find and feel it all around us in our everyday and how to draw upon it when it comes to our creative practice.
As designers, inspiration is needed to add fuel to our creative fire, to keep it burning whether we are at work or not. If we just seek out inspiration when we’re working, then we become restricted by time, by the deadline and by where we can source it from. Which will end up being from your computer and whatever design books you have on the shelf. When you’re always seeking out inspiration, it comes from different places, unexpected places and as a result ideas become more authentic, innovative and most of all, they become your own.
The reason I say don’t just seek out inspiration when you’re working, is because if all designers did this then we’d be searching for our inspiration from our desks, mainly on the computer. Before we know it we’re on behance or creative review, or whatever other design resource you’ve got saved in your bookmarks. Which makes sense, a designer looks for design inspiration. However if we’re all, only looking in the same, expected places for our starting points then all design will merely end up a regurgitation of what’s been done before ,or some kind of hybrid. And with that comes the ordinary, when what we want to create is extraordinary. Remember, there’s an abundance of inspiration all around you, that can turn into a much more inventive idea when it’s the world seen by you. What do you have to give?
Inspiration is someone or something that makes you feel energised, excited and encouraged to create. Therefore it can come from anywhere if you look for it: colours in the sky at dusk; the verge of sleep; words; images; work by others; it could be a person; the sound of birds singing or the angles of a building. When you’re not working this is where you should be looking for inspiration, all around you. So that you’re keeping that creative fire burning.
If you’ve no idea where to begin, here’s what I do:
- Get outside. Go for a walk, tune out the project you’re working on and absorb your surroundings.
- Listen to a podcast. It doesn’t have to be related to work but it can just speak to you in some way. Hearing words that resonate can be powerful.
- Immerse yourself in something new: might be a new hobby; a new habit like waking up earlier; a documentary series; reading for half an hour a day; following a new recipe or going to an exhibition. Discover, discover, discover.
- Have conversations. You may not know what to look for and what to ask, but just speaking to someone can make you see things in a different way.
- And my favourite when I’ve just been briefed on something, continuous writing. Set yourself a time, I usually pick 5 minutes and just write whatever comes to mind. Try to maintain a focus if you have one and don’t stop until the time is up. Then read it back and circle the key parts. This is a great way to ease yourself up at the start of a project, get some starting points and also air any initial questions you have etc. You’d be surprised what comes to mind.
If I am on the go and I find sparks of inspiration, I turn any thoughts into a note on my phone, or I take pictures and immediately send them to my work email so when I’m next working, I can draw upon these findings without forgetting. If it’s something that isn’t even for a specific project, then it’s handy to use google drive to plonk everything in one place. A place where you can come back to. This is particularly useful when working and needing that alternative source to design blogs and books.