The sight of a group of Google product designers throwing around a Koosh ball while brainstorming is as much aspirational as it is inspirational. By asking ourselves how we stay inspired, we are really asking, “What is the secret to success?”
Consider Inside the Actors Studio or The Paris Review “Writers at Work”
series—or that “finding creative inspiration” turns up about 6. 7 million Google
results in half a second. Charting a creative professional’s work process—from
asking early influences to “what turns you on”—is a curiosity we like to indulge.
Perhaps when each of us hits a wall, we think, If a famous musician goes
to local shows four to five nights a week or this Oscar-award winning screen-writer takes a shower every time he hits a wall, then it must work!
Here is what keeps a few select IIDA members going:
w Sascha Wagner, IIDA, CID, LEED AP ID+C, president and CEO of
Huntsman Architectural Group: “I travel, read, eat and drink, sketch,
watch films, listen to music, and try to spend time with interesting people.
I make an effort to go outside more, exercise, or just take a walk and
observe. I get inspiration from just about everything, so for me it’s
about staying receptive. Of course I try to carve out some quiet time to
be reflective as well. These days that usually happens on airplanes.”
w Brian Graham, IIDA, IDSA, creative director of Graham Design LLC:
“Inspiration for me comes in many forms. Modern architecture is a
constant and never-ending source of visual inspiration for my work.
Personally, musicians, athletes, and filmmakers—really anyone who’s
already been labeled ‘great’ yet challenges themselves to grow, develop,
and become better—remind me to try to do the same.”
w Alison Kennedy, IIDA, interior designer at Booz Allen Hamilton:
“Professionally, I open myself to new influences and cutting-edge
approaches in design. I am constantly looking to reinvigorate my
design process. Personally, I look for design in everything I see. I can
appreciate both what an object is and what it could be.”
From the simple act of eating and drinking to athletes, filmmakers, and
objects, design inspiration is found everywhere—and so are the secrets to
success, as long as we are open to pushing ourselves to be better.
In finding inspiration, I am reminded of the growing scientific research
By Genny Ramos
IIDA asked members how they stay creative and inspired.
I am constantly looking to reinvigorate my design process. Personally, I look for design
in everything I see. I can appreciate both what an object is and what it could be.
—Alison Kennedy, IIDA, interior designer at Booz Allen Hamilton