Creative inspiration – understanding that there is no box
As a lead magazine designer and abstract artist, I’m often asked where I get my inspiration. I prefer to talk about where I go to get it. The importance of seeing inspiration as something we have the control to nurture, rather than something we just sit back and wait for is key.
Stimulating the aesthetic sense
I try to find inspiration on a daily basis in everyday items such as flicking through magazines, business cards, through conversations with my colleagues and by simply staring out the window. If there’s nothing new under the sun yet we see creative invention all the time then the next inspirational idea could be staring you right in the face.
In publishing there is only so much room for time to allow the crescendo of creative thought to build to its peak. After all, the deadline is king. So the challenge then becomes finding enough room to create while not losing sight of practical boundaries. How can you find inspiration when you’re fighting to meet deadlines? Simple, you can’t. Sometimes I just need to disconnect. A walk in nature at lunch tends to quiet my mind, allowing me to step back from the churning cogs to think clearly.
But separation isn’t the only solution. I’m often amazed at how ideas can connect from one medium to another. If every new media platform is simply an evolution of the last, much can be learned from the core elements of traditional media to inform the direction of the new.
Creating the ideal environment
My desk is like a tribute to my art studio at home. I’m surrounded by items that touch me on an emotional level such as an inspiring quote, an uplifting photo, even my favourite scented candle…blueberry, if you’re curious. At home, this environment has helped nurture my proudest paintings and has jogged the memories that enable me to pen my favourite travel adventures. At work, it reminds me that rather than spending so much time trying to think outside the box, I just need to remember that there is no box.
Think about which environments in your life give you the most mental freedom. Are you indoors or outside? Is there music playing? Who are you with?
Now, imagine a structured task that you regularly complete at work. It can be a half-hour item or a longer term project. What parts of the environment above can be applied to all or part of the process of this task? How will your operation be improved if you were to focus not on what you must achieve, but how you can achieve it?
Albert Einstein famously said that “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. Where do I get my inspiration from? My imagination takes my practical intellect by the hand and says “come on, let’s go see what we can find”.
Where will your imagination take your intellect today?