When starting out as a designer one of the most common questions I was being asked in interviews and 1-1s was “where do you find your inspiration?” - and whilst I, like most designers out there, will use the online platforms available to browse award-winning websites/campaigns, I like to think I get a lot (if not most) of my inspiration from the real-world.
Here’s a few places I, personally, look when I need a little boost:
I was born into a pretty creative household; my Grandfather was a fantastic watercolour artist and calligrapher for the local café - we’d often hare our love of art and I still have some of his art hanging in my house today. My mother is creative with her words, she’s always writing poems and ditties about her day; what she’s seen, a problem she’s encountered (one of my favourites is about a spider hiding in the light). My brother works in the creative space and we regularly share good/bad design that we see in our day-to-day life and my father, he’s a man of many talents. He’s always doodling a new design for the garden or a complex shelving unit to maximise the under-stairs cupboard space!
Growing up surrounded by incredibly creative people, all in their own right, inspired me to pursue my creative dreams and passions. I like to think that each member of family (and friends) played a part in building the foundation from which I’ve built my career. It takes passion, hard work and commitment but being surrounded by people with a positive mindset, inspired the same in me.
Now, I’m technically not allowed to call it a library - apparently you must own 1,000 books to be able to call it a library and I’m not there… YET. As the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover” and yet, by nature, I do exactly that! I love looking at cover art and am often influenced to buy books I know have been illustrated by the same artist - fantasy books have some of the most incredible illustrations, especially special editions with illustrated end papers! The MinaLima special editions are some of my favourites, they create these richly illustrated adaptations of some great books. There’s also a gallery and shop in London worth a visit.
I think reading in general is great way to inspire the notion that nothing is impossible. I’m primarily a fiction reader and if that’s taught me anything, it’s that all you need is an idea - it doesn’t matter how far-fetched and wild it may seem, there will be a way to make it a reality with a bit of imagination!
I love a bit of interior design! I know I’m not alone in the ability to lose hours to Pinterest, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it in real-life. I’ve been inspired countless times by the way a friend or family member decorated their home; a piece of art, the colour of the kitchen cupboards, the new plant in the hallway… it doesn’t really matter what it is, it’s inspired an idea.
Design is so subjective, there’s a lot of choices I make in my work and home that others would not vibe with at all. But everyone’s story and perspective are so unique and it makes for a much more interesting world!
The flyer that’s posted through the door, the menu at the local restaurant, the new billboard outside TESCO. I get a lot of junk mail through my door and in my inbox, but regardless of what it is, I can’t help but flick through it all before I bin it because every once in a while there will be something that’s been designed in an interesting way or a cool new logo!
This may sound a little shallow and materialistic, but I remember when I had just begun earning my first salary aged 17 and had received a marketing email from a designer brand with the classic premium/prestigious feel to it. At the time, it was a pipe dream to be able to afford those things, but with a change of mindset I was able to use it as motivation to progress in my career to a point where I was able to treat myself now and again!
I think we can all admit that it’s easy to fly through life and just get sh*t done. But it’s important to take a moment to really appreciate and look at the little things. You never know, spending an extra 2 minutes looking through the junk mail or sharing something you love with a friend or family member might inspire your next big idea!
There’s inspiration everywhere when you take the time to look for it. Go get inspired!