What is design & ideas inspiration?
For our purposes, we’ll define inspiration is something that stimulates creative activity. It can come from anywhere, but the classic depiction of the artist waiting for inspiration to strike like a lightning bolt is a myth. It’s not something you wait for. Inspiration is found by those who seek it out and place themselves in its path. Sometimes it comes from external sources, but often it comes from within the design process itself, when you’re engaged with the thing that you’re making.
Inspiration comes when you’ve defined your design problems well.
If design is about problem solving, then the effectiveness of your design is limited by how well you define the problems you’re facing. For example, the iPhone was a revolutionary design because Apple’s product designers defined the problem of making a mobile phone differently than anyone else ever had. They defined it in such a way that no other phone in existence was an effective solution. Once they had that definition, they were destined to make something new and challenging.
Inspiration comes while you’re iterating.
Your first idea is rarely your best one. Neither is your second, third, or fourth, in all likelihood. But write them down anyway. Get them on paper and out of your head, so your brain has room to make new ideas. Every idea you write down, no matter its quality, is a step forward. Inspiration will come as you let your mind explore.
Inspiration comes from unexpected places
Designs that are informed only by other designs are boring and predictable. The creative process is about starting broadly and narrowing down to one solution. Train your mind to think more broadly by exposing yourself to a broad range of experiences. A walk in the woods can make you a better designer. So can a good meal or a conversation with someone who loves what they do. And books. You’re rarely spending your time better than when you’re reading something great.
In short, everything you do affects who you are, and who you are affects what you make. To me, this is liberating. The best way to be a good designer is not to sit in front of my MacBook for 12 hours a day. Good news.
The connection on an emotional level is important for your audience, but design has to also be functional. Though subjective, design can be bad and completely fail. It’s all about effectively communicating the right message. A successful designer will establish a strong emotional connection and simultaneously communicate the intended message that can be easily digested by its intended audience.
A great designer will go above and beyond those basic principles learned in school. He or she will not only establish an emotional connection, communicate the message effectively, but they will understand human behavior and cues by engaging and entertaining the viewer.