Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stuck for inspiration? Just look around you.

My good friend Mike Mackenzie, who does motion graphics for video and TV (and he's completely BRILLIANT at it), told me a great story about inspiration the other day when I was feeling uninspired.

He was in art school, and they gave the class an assignment to do a "get out the vote" poster. Everyone else was doing the standard cliche thing of red white and blue, stars, etc. He was railing against it in class, when the teacher told him to put his money where his mouth was. Trouble was, he had nothing.

He went out for a walk to clear his head, and remembered something he had heard from Neville Brody (he had the opportunity to study under him in the 80s-90s, which is when he went to school and when Brody was HUGE) - when you're stuck, let inspiration come from whatever's around you. He closed his eyes, cleared his head, and said that the next thing he saw was going to be inspiration for his piece. Then he opened his eyes and found it - a crumpled-up newspaper on the sidewalk.

He started taking headlines and bits of text that were relevant to the issues of the time, cut them out and formed them into the single word VOTE on his paper. His assignment was deemed the best in the class, and he ended up graduating second in his class (underneath, oddly enough, a designer I knew from Providence, even though they both went to a school in Boston).

That story was probably the most inspirational thing I had ever heard. Now, whenever I'm out, I look for inspiration in the things around me - especially trees, grass, and the seasons.

1 comment:

Carl G said...

This is the cure for the common cliche. To often design seems to go with an automated and expected response to a solution. This is especially true in logo and identity design, far to often we see a wavy heart beat line on an ambulance or a swoosh for some tech giant. I think getting out in the world, rather than working in a cubicle farm, would help inspire and refresh designers.Thank's for sharing!

Take a bounce over to my blog if you want to exchange links, I will be watching yours.