We all need inspiration and we all look for it in different places.
From scrolling through Behance to delving into design blogs or the many varied depths of Pinterest/ Instagram etc, the search for inspiration is ongoing.. often rewarding, but occasionally frustrating.
There are times when we need to escape our usual environments or places of work to try and trigger some spark, to get the juices going or to find some creative zen.
I’ll sometimes seek the sanctuary of The Botanic Gardens, willing the mental clouds to clear to allow rays of ideas to perhaps shine through.. other times I’ll seek out the chaos of the city, the stramash of sights and sounds that may just trigger something awesome.. like a hadron collider of accents, colours and images.
Museums, galleries and exhibitions are another favourite haunt, as if trying to transfer the creative process from a finished article to my own stunted blank page efforts. Here at Robot HQ, Mike and I both love the Trongate Gallery in Glasgow, whilst the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen is perhaps one of the most genuinely WOW-factor spots I’ve ever visited.
Louisiana Gallery of Modern Art, Copenhagen
What has become more and more evident as time goes on, however, is that often the greatest inspiration comes from people. Not just the types of people who adorn the covers of Time Magazine or various People of the Year awards, but colleagues, friends and people making their own way in the world day in, day out.
We’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty awesome people and been lucky to be part of some creative (and competitive!) environments and projects where we were able to inspire one another to great heights.
We recently had the chance to sink a few shandies and shake a leg or two at the wedding of two of our friends and ex-colleagues, which was also a great chance to not only hit the dance floor to Fleetwood Mac, but also to see the old team and be reminded of how these guys inspired us and hopefully every so often, we inspired them too.
Gang reunited (we always dress like this btw)
Throwing it back a bit, one of the projects that will always hold a special place in our heart is Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh, a pretty amazing place and stacked full of character.
It was also a place that allowed us to work with loads of creative, talented folk who would inspire us on a daily basis. DJs, promoters and musicians such as Gasoline Dance Machine, i AM, Thunder Disco Club, Craig Smith, FLY Club and many many more.. people with ideas to burn, endless reserves of energy and often an ability to burn the candle at both ends (waking up, post-afterparty in a very debatable state in a hotel room resembling the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.. while health inspectors and the owner waited outside is a memory perhaps best consigned to the history books).
These were people who made it exciting to come to work, who triggered new ideas in us and gave us the confidence to push further, try harder and be better.
FLY head honcho Tom hoists wunderkind resident DJ Theo Kottis after another epic set
A good friend is currently providing wells of inspiration as part of an amazing travelling band of chefs, touring the world to create twenty unique pop up restaurants in twenty different countries. One Star House Party are (in my humble and biased opinion) probably the most exciting thing in fine dining right now; building (quite literally) restaurants and creating menus inspired by their meetings with local people and local ingredients, they are on a really remarkable journey.
My old mucker Kev, one of the founders of OSHP has been on quite a journey to even get to this point, so to see this new chapter unfold is genuinely inspiring for me. If you haven’t heard of these guys and girls yet, then please take the time to check out their adventures and maybe see if they are popping up somewhere near you.
So the moral of this short tale, if there is one, is to not invite a bunch of people back to your hotel room and host a chaotic afterparty when the local council and the company owner is due to turn up.
The other moral of this tale, is to make sure you look for inspiration, not just in blogs and on Pinterest Boards, not just in museums and in edgy galleries, but in people. People are never-ending wells of inspo, that spark you are looking for may be sitting in the seat next to you.. that idea you are searching for might just be closer than you think.
Ask people their opinions. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m stuck’. Give junior designers a voice. Give the new kid an opportunity. Look at the faces around you for inspiration and not just in the mirror.
The person who thinks they don’t need anyone else is either a fool or a 24 carat walloper.. and quite possibly both.