Inspiration | Personal | Evan Stremke

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More than technical skills, more than being able to "talk" design, more than being able to rattle off design's most important advancements, and even more than being able to define a plethora of design-related terms, you must first be inspired.

Look, there's a reason you're enrolled in the College of Design. You wouldn't spend your money on an education you didn't believe in. Granted, you might now regret that exact decision, but as underwhelming as the curriculum may be, you're still going to [hopefully] work in the design field.

And unless you're inspired, all of your other marketable skills will fall by the wayside.

Ever since Al Gore invented the Internet, designers have been finding it increasingly easier to find inspiration for their work. In fact, the query "design inspiration" yields nearly 19 million results on Google (which translates roughly to 2.3 million "o"s in Google's page count). And while searching the web to find inspiration is all well and good, you can't discredit the deep emotional connection you might make with something completely unrelated to design.

Read a book, go see a movie, take a walk in the park, make dinner using an actual cookbook, take some photographs, listen to some new music, wake up, get off your ass and play a game of Scattergories with your roommates.

If you are going to get your inspiration exclusively from design related materials such as blogs, design magazines, or design related videos, just be sure not to follow trends too closely. It can be a dangerous move. Remember, it's not where you take it from, it's where you take it to.

Here's the thing though, if you're passionate about the environment, let that influence the type of design you do. If you're passionate about the ethical treatment of animals, or gun laws, or fair trade policies, or folding laundry, or playing solitaire, Fox News, or whatever. Let that fuel your creative fire.

If you're not inspired by the work you're doing, nobody else will be either. And if your audience isn't inspired, then quite simply your message has failed.


Jonathan Christopher's take on inspiration
How designers are influenced by music
Will Hillenbrand says inspiration is the only 'In' you need

Just so everyone knows, Evan is right, Al Gore did create the internet:

Actually, you guys, Al Gore did not invent the internet. What he did do was help pass legislation to help the internet become what it is today. Tim Berners-Lee actually invented the internet as we know it today (HTML, to be precise).

In general, the Internet and the technologies in place are so multifaceted that it can't really be credited to one sole inventor.

Can it, Paul. You're destroying my credibility.


The good news about inspiration and passion is they seem to follow and lead each other.

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This page contains a single entry by Evan Stremke published on February 23, 2010 12:35 PM.

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