I listened to a podcast the other day (A Well-designed Business by LuAnn Nigara – Episode 587. Darrel Long: The best design comes from within, not Pinterest) and it hit me: The issue nowadays in these times of Instagram and Pinterest is that designers get lazy with looking for real inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of this too. It’s so easy and quick to put a design together by using Instagram and Pinterest or the rest of the web. But is it your design? Or is it someone else’s design? Do we just copy and paste design nowadays?
What happened to the real-life inspiration out there?
What do I mean by that? Go to a museum and look at the pieces of art there. But don’t just look and walk passed, tick it off your list. Linger for minutes or even longer periods of time in front of a painting and see the brush strokes. Try to understand the story behind the painting. Why did the artist paint this picture, what’s the story behind it? There is so much to explore.
My favorite go-to inspiration is nature, especially the sea. I spent most of my childhood on a sailing boat and the sea is where I feel home. Staring out on the ocean or feeling the waves was my lullaby. I have to admit I almost have forgotten about this part of my childhood until now. Listening to this podcast and hearing Darell Long say how blinded we are by all the technology and fast design opened my eyes and brought me back to this kind of creative inspiration.
How to generate creative ideas like a real designer
What can we do to get creative ideas without mimicking other designs?
As mentioned above going into a museum or exhibition is one way. Being in nature and pull inspiration from landscape, plants or animals is another.
These following strategies could help too:
- Visiting a design event like 100%Design in London or Focus/20 (by Design Center Chelsea Harbour)
- Traveling to a different country
- Listening to classical music
- Walking in a city and studying architecture around you
- Looking at design books or magazines
- Taking a nature walk
- Having a conversation with creative people
There are many more options to generate creative ideas. One way is to start drawing and painting. Even mixing colors can be inspiring.
When we think of sustainable design we should apply these strategies to create something new and useful for our planet. It’s now the time to switch our mindset to not just creating something pretty but also sustainable to ensure a future for our world. To get in the creative flow for sustainable ideas go to EllenMcArthur Foundation and check out their resources and courses. It’s a fantastic way to start thinking about how we can create sustainable products and services.