When we get together with designers and other creatives, the word inspiration many times comes up. I think of inspiration as being something that inspires me to be creative or think of new ideas. Inspiration is not copying or recreating someone else’s work; however, it could be adapting their ideas for one’s own purpose. For me, inspiration is drawing from the ideas of others to generate my own original work.
Usually, when someone asks me where I get my inspiration, I say without a doubt “travel!” It seems like traveling just about anywhere can give me new ideas and get my creative juices flowing. My dad used to say that he went on vacation to dream and imagine, and it was often that we came home with a new business idea or an idea solidified. He named a business project “Climbin’ Hi Enterprises” after a week-long trip to Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains. He loved the imagery of “climbin’” the mountain to conquer a goal. I was in junior high and of course, I challenged his spelling of “high” — he insisted it was a play on words and it was the idea of the friendliness of climbing together. I never quite believed that it was intentional. We had some plastic round “tuits” and for a while I kept one on my desk reminding me of the fun he had creating that company on that creative vacation.
Next to traveling, I’ve always considered periodicals a source of inspiration. I grew up in a household that often had four or five newspapers coming into our home and up to a dozen magazines. At our office we have a daily local newspaper as well as the New York Times. There is something about a print paper with the full-page ads, the photos and the news that is so much better to me than scrolling through internet stories. And we take magazines: Vogue, Martha Stewart, ElleDecor and more. I am a ripper or a clipper — I love to pull images (especially) that inspire me or give me ideas. I can pull an image that I ripped from 20 years ago and typically still tell you what I liked about it and what inspired me.
Pinterest has become “idea central” for many. Yes, I have tons of stuff pinned, however, I want to think of it as inspiration and not a place to copy the work of others.
Many people find great success with ideas, notebooks or journals. Some can easily track inspiring things from the web. Others have sample boxes and files. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you get inspired, it matters that you have a way to be inspired.