finding inspiration

Today’s Feelology blog post will deal with two topics in the world of design. Firstly, we look at the often-difficult task of finding inspiration and secondly we’ve got some tips on understanding and then designing with a tricky or restrictive client brief.

What steps should be taken to ‘find’ inspiration can sometimes seem impossible for people to identify, especially when they themselves are searching for it. The artist Isaac Julien, quoted in the Guardian, has an enlightening perspective on how he manages to find inspiration:

“I have a magpie attitude to inspiration: I seek it from all sorts of sources; anything that allows me to think about how culture comes together. I’m always on the lookout – I observe people in the street; I watch films, I read, I think about the conversations that I have. I consider the gestures people use, or the colours they’re wearing. It’s about taking all the little everyday things and observing them with a critical eye; building up a scrapbook that you can draw on. Sometimes, too, I look at other artworks or films to get an idea of what not to do…It’s useful to get perspective on what you do by talking to all sorts of different people.”

This insight of looking around you and drawing inspiration from the small things you notice is a tip that is mirrored in Psychology Today’s recommendations for unleashing creativity and finding inspiration.

They also advise that those seeking inspiration should:

  • Change their “I Don’t Know” or “I Can’t” thinking to “What If…?” – being positive, and open, has a renowned effect on not only the way we think but also on our health – so, turn that frown upside down!
  • Take a break from the mundane – if you’re stuck in a rut, get out of it. Take your work somewhere else – whether it’s to the park, or a different coffee shop, a change is as good as a rest!
  • Listen to complex music – or just anything different to what you normally listen to, the change will shake up your creative juices and will get you thinking differently.
  • Get out of your head and exercise – go for a run whilst listening to your favourite songs. It will clear your head, relax you and will do wonders for your soul.
  • Immerse yourself in nature and colours – take a look around, whether it’s winter or summer, nature always has something good to show off. Lap up the sound of walking on frosty grass or the smell of summer flowers. It will awaken your senses.
  • Read or watch biographies of inspiring, creative people – you could specifically focus on people you admire – even if their work is unrelated to yours – and take learnings from them, think how would they handle a bit of a mental block?

We all feel the luster for what we’re doing tail off every now and again, but don’t worry, your inspiration and passion will soon re-appear. Try not to focus on not feeling inspired, and just look around and take everything in.

Having hopefully provided inspiration for those struggling with inspiration, this blog post will now turn to understanding a client brief in order to get designs right the first time. As reported on, decoding creative briefs are a “problem for most”. However, there are a few straightforward steps you can implement in order to ensure that you get to grips with client briefs – even the more rigid ones – in effective and efficient ways.

Firstly, be forensic. Pay close attention to detail and pull it all apart. Question everything the client says to you about the brief. For example, if they say that they’ve got an example that they like, ask them what it is that they like about it so that you can produce designs that are more in line with the clients expectations.

Secondly, communication. The important role that communication plays in effectively understanding and implementing a client’s brief cannot be underestimated. Don’t be afraid to query details and ask questions of the client, because without getting a real understanding of what they are looking for, how do you expect to create a design which fits with their expectations? In this regard, strive for specificity.

Thirdly, make sure you get to grips with the client’s end goal. If they are primarily focused on utility or functionality, then a beautifully designed masterpiece that does not meet their primary goals will not be very helpful to the client and both of you may be disappointed.

Finding inspiration and understanding briefs can both be mean feats at times, but actually in both cases following some simple steps can help. When it comes to inspiration taking a step backwards where you re-look at everything can help, and with briefs the three ideas above should help you put something pleasing together for your client.

Sometimes, when working with briefs and when seeking inspiration, it can help to see other pieces of work to get creative juices flowing. You can review our partner site, Baddeley Brothers, for examples of traditionally printed work utilising a range of different styles.