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May 30, 2010

Where do you find inspiration?

Design is Love is an idea built on the simple premise that creativity has the power to bring all types of people together. For this inwords discussion we want to know where you find inspiration and how it affects your creativity. Regardless of background or chosen profession, we all have certain practices that help us stay engaged and inspired. Fill us in.

Share your thoughts and help shape the dialogue in a meaningful way. We hope you'll also encourage others to sign up and join in the conversation.

05.16.10 / 9:09 PM
Where do we find inspiration? In your responses to inwords articles, the wonderfully creative submissions to Design Fund projects and the support our members give to helping build this online community. You take time out of your busy day to generate the content that makes this site successful. Simply put: the thoughtfulness you share inspires us to work harder in our pursuit to make Design is Love something truly unique and special. Online hugs all around!
05.17.10 / 2:16 PM
I just wrote an essay about this topic, titled: “What inspires me?”

If you want to read my long [winded] answer, please check out my post here » http://bit.ly/cNCtNZ

Otherwise, my short answer is...
find onion rings and inspiration will follow.
05.17.10 / 9:49 PM
months ago, i unearthed an antique cockoo-clock given to me by my grandparent's many years back [a photo of the bird pendulum is posted on my account page]. i remember it vividly. it once hung in their cramped, eat-in kitchen, above the table. i can still hear the chime in my head -- the chirping -- the incessant, borderline mind-numbing chirping. i could never forget it.

covered in dust and years of countless memories, the clock now hangs in my home. it, like many others, serve as a reminder of the people and the world around me. the history. the love. the story.

it reminds me of who i am. and how i fit in. with each and every mind-numbing chirp.
05.19.10 / 9:54 AM
@jsolak right on. It's all about being aware of ourselves in relation to the rest of the universe. Humility is key.

People inspire me. Humanity in its most honest form. I'm still trying to figure out how to channel that inspiration and turn it into productive creative thinking in an effective manner, which reminds me: I have to get back to work. haha
05.19.10 / 10:52 AM
@ constanz_a: how to channel that inspiration > for me, it's based on an undefined period of observation. perhaps that's why i collect all these things. i need to look at them / hear them / feel them / reflect on them before they will inform me. when i add a new item to my collection, i get inspired to create ... almost giddy. i feel the urge to photograph it, put it away / display it.

it's only after weeks, months, and in the case of the clock, many [many] years, that the connection becomes crystal clear. sometimes, that reconnection is all you need to get out of it.
05.20.10 / 11:28 PM
I'm inspired by the things Man has made, by the audacity of creating. I'm inspired by skyscrapers, for example. I'm inspired by the absoluteness of strong children. I'm inspired by things I've witnessed, in particular, how those things have evolved in my mind to become even more lyrical than the original experience. I'm inspired by a challenge. Almost any challenge. Even dumb ones. Actually—I think that one's an addiction.

@jsolak : I'm envious. I have very little distant familial history. In fact, the parts I cherish only go back as far as 1993. I think that's why I put so much into creating things and engaging with people that touch my heart and spirit.
05.21.10 / 12:57 PM
i am inspired by the singularity of my self. obsessed even, to the point of being classified as neurotic. it can be narcissistic, sometimes debilitating. i exhaust my voice having conversations in my own head. i raise my glass too many times drinking with my heart. i waste my vision staring over the surface of the ocean, trying to catch a glimpse of my spirit. people say that i am quiet. i feel like i never am silent, but only i can claim that.

i'm making this more complicated and poetic than it needs to be. i am inspired by experiencing my life through my lens.

i love collaboration because it allows me to depart from myself and gain some perspective, but then bring what i learn back to the mother ship and journey some more. the most debilitating thing about this is that i rarely share myself with anybody, which makes it difficult for all those that are lovingly in my life.

it bothers me that my constantly flowing inspiration often blocks me from all of you. this is something i am working on.

i am very glad to be here, collaborating with all of you.
05.25.10 / 10:08 AM
In general, I think that truly authentic experiences inspire me the most and learning how to truly see the world.

Encounters with strangers, to have an honest and friendly exchange with some one you don't know and will never see again makes me inspired to design "things" that will come into people lives and have a positive impact on them.

Nature also provides inspiration, I can't have said it any better than this.

I used to think I was inspired by looking at the type of design blog that just re-posts the latest images of design work, instead I have shifted the focus of what I consume online to more written content with actual substance and thought behind it. On this topic, Frank Chimero provides some thoughts about this curation culture that we seem to be in online now.

05.26.10 / 9:04 PM
Over the past few years I've tasked myself with observing and noting interesting things. I'm trying to build an encyclopedia of visual reference, but the cataloging isn't about specifics. I'm terrible when it comes to remembering an artist's name or the title of a movie. Heck, most times I can't remember the actor's name, let-alone his character's name...

What I do remember is how things make me feel. I live life for emotional connections and feel inclined to archive moments. I watch someone walk down the street from my office window and note their stride because it means something about how they feel. I see the wind blow through a tattered flag and associate the experience with honor and hard work. Again, if you asked me a week later what color shirt the person was wearing or the country of origin for the flag I probably won't remember. Honestly, I've convinced myself it doesn't matter.

As a designer I'm inspired by crafting ideas / materials / things that connect with people. I strive to make things that people experience. I want them to read / look / listen / touch and when they're done absorbing, close their eyes and feel. I use my "reference material" to help understand situational dynamics and triggers for emotion.

@ethanbodnar - Mr. Chimero's article touches on something I've often felt but never expressed (publicly). He made a statement that "Looking at other people’s work is usually done in lieu of actually working, and seeks to find relevant, borrowed solutions from other people’s different tasks, problems and processes." Couldn't agree more. Far too many people become visually inspired to recreate a graphic execution based on the "look" of a thing. Again, we have a commitment as designers to look but what we take away should be "reference", not a blueprint for our next visual solution.
05.27.10 / 6:56 PM
@tmonroe you touch on something that I'm just beginning to understand about myself, so eloquently: remembering things for how they make me feel, what they make me think of, is pretty much how I do my cataloging too. It's funny cause we've both been there when other people (ehem!!) can remember every detail of a movie and sometimes I feel like, man, I love that movie, why can't I reference it like that? And you just nailed it. Those details are not what I take away most of the time and I, also, have convinced myself they don't matter... good stuff!

I heart DIL. This, right here: quality people having honest dialogue about things they truly care about. Pure inspiration.
05.27.10 / 7:04 PM
@bcgrabell I also worry that this constant flow of creative energy actually ends up separating me from the rest of the world. Is there such a thing as too much observing? I've recently made it a point to not bring my camera places, because I've noticed that I get caught up in taking pictures of patterns in the concrete instead of engaging in random conversations with strangers (kind of what @ethanbodnar was talking about) which really can be transforming in a much deeper way.

The "curation culture" article was really interesting. I'm totally behind the thinking although I'm guilty of obsessively bookmarking websites for purely visual purposes. Trying to move away from it but, honestly, I love color and form and typography and sometimes that is what I need to get me motivated, or as a starting point.... I guess inspiration doesn't always come from the same place and it has a lot to do with where my head's at at the time.
05.29.10 / 7:50 AM
I never thought creativity would be in my job description but after a few years in the field I understand how important creativity is. One of my main goals as a counselor is to individualize treatment for over fifty people. This often takes a lot of time and a lot of the time I find myself feeling frustrated and discouraged. This is where I hit my creative wall and stare at my computer screen taping my fingers on my keyboard hoping words of inspiration will just pop into my head and make sense. Since this does not often occur often I look at my "drawer of positive thoughts". This drawer composes of all the positive things I have found reading articles, in magazines, quotes my clients may have said, lyrics to inspirational songs, and notes of thanks clients have written to me. Over the past two years this drawer has become quite full. (I also keep a map of the New York marathon to motivate me to run). After a few minutes shuffling through this drawer in the upper right corner of my desk I quickly get reminded of the change I am helping people make and inspiration finds it's way back. I always tell my husband how jealous I am that he gets to be creative all day, but now I understand that I have the opportunity to be creative as well, and this inspires me.


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