A few weeks ago we sent folks from our design team to EuroShop, an expo held in Dusseldorf, Germany, that highlights leading exhibit design. As you might expect, they loved the show and came back brimming with ideas.
That’s great for designers, but where can the rest of us go for inspiration? After all, solving problems creatively is what everyone’s job is really all about.
So we asked our team to tell us about sources of inspiration that they look to every day. It turns out that their favorite ones actually have nothing to do with exhibit design.
For example, one designer checks out Pinterest—just swiping through interesting pictures seems to get her imagination flowing. Another designer finds himself inspired by cars, especially the curves of the sheet metal. And one non-designer gets his best ideas going for a bike ride.
This may sound a bit strange, but it really isn’t. They’re practicing a creative technique called relaxed concentration. Here’s how it works:
- Plant the problem firmly in your head and think about it as hard as you can
- Do this until you feel you can’t anymore
- Next, put the problem aside and let your subconscious go to work
- This is the part of the process where inspiration comes in
- An egg carton, the shape of a passing cloud, or the color of the raincoat on someone passing by will suddenly trigger your idea
In other words, inspiration is a catalyst that crystallizes an idea you’ve already been working on. It’s the end of the process, not the beginning. That’s why your best ideas often come when you least expect it—watching a movie, talking with your child or just reaching for a quart of milk at the back of the fridge.
Hey, this technique works for our award-winning design team. Maybe it can work for you too!