What inspires you?

Do you ever feel like you’re in the wrong profession? There have been times when I’ve questioned my choices, and that’s when it helps to draw upon what inspires me about the path I’ve chosen.

There’s a good Source of Inspiration group project on Vivien’s website, so I’ve written a few thoughts by way of a contribution.

The environment

Everything around me, from the smallest leaf as it floats from a tree to the tallest building seen through a storm. From a dancing flame to the swell of the Irish sea. Depending on the design brief, everything visual can form the basis of a project. No thought is too small or irrelevant when brainstorming.


I’m inspired by my family and by the support they’ve given throughout my life. I’m inspired by those who struggle through starvation every day without ever knowing what it’s like to have a full stomach.


The whole process from start to finish is why I’m involved in design. From the initial thought to the finished article.

What inspires you?

I know Vivien would appreciate your contribution to her project. And I’d love it if you left a little nugget in the thread below.

21 responses

  1. David, thank you so much for sharing with us your sources of inspiration and, of course, for promoting this group writing project.

    There are four more days left to participate. I look forward to seeing more inspiring entries from others.

    You’re right, there are so many things around us that can spark an inspiration flame, all we need is to capture, seize that moment – “carpe diem” and realize it in our work.

  2. “The environment” – indeed, just take a look at the hicksdesign logo, inspired from the on/off button of his camera. Brilliant :-D

    I’m going to be doing a redesign of my site soon, and this article has helped a little bit, so cheers.


    [Off topic]

    “One lonely but appreciated comment”

    David, that’s fantastic :-D

  3. Much as nature inspires your graphic design, life in general inspires my writing. I was just thinking today that because I am interested in so many areas of life that I basically have no limits to my writing topics, other than lack of in-depth knowledge, and most of the time I can do research to overcome that hurdle.

    It is heartening to me to know that there are people in the world that see the details and are inspired by them, be it on a candy wrapper or a 20 story building. Thanks! :)

  4. A pleasure, Vivien.

    Richard, it’s the little details I think make all the difference. Good luck with the impending re-design.

    Carol, a sign of a good writer, one who doesn’t impose limitations.

  5. What inspires me???

    Certainly nature – on the micro and macro levels. My kids – they definitely inspire me – as does my wife. What really inspires me though? Relationships.

  6. I think as designers our eyes never rest and we are being inspired 24/7 by the things around us, consciously or subconsciously.

    My conscious inspiration comes from nature …the color palette, shapes, smells and I actually find indulging myself in nature a real antidote to sitting in front of a computer screen all day ..a potter around the garden really helps realese those creative juices!

    I even feature a section on my blog called which features photogrpahs of my inspirations of the moment.

    Nature doesn’t always do the trick for me though. I remember once having a real creative block in the creation of a logo and had a “eureka” moment while filling my car up with petrol ..maybe it was the fumes!

  7. i am inspired by tragedy – and I don’t mean it morbidly – but it definitely inspires me and makes me think about the fragility of everything around us. That being said, natures is always awe-inspiring and sometimes tragic and my creative inspirations change as quickly as a storm into a hurricane.
    I hope you all remember the song that Maria sings in “The Sound of Music” called “My Favorite Things”. I *created* my own version of this song using my own favorite things and I definitely sing it in my head as a reminder every so often. It is a worthwhile activity for all – I highly recommend it (followed by running around in the hills and singing of it at the top of your lungs!)

  8. Thanks for sharing, David! I liked what you said about the environment. Sometimes we just need to get out of our offices/studios and sit outside for a bit and watch life go by. If you are interested, you can see my contribution to this project over on Inspiration Bit. Tara and Vivien were nice enough to coordinate together and get me my first little blog article :D

  9. Zoe,

    I fully agree that we’re inspired subconciously. There’s a post I made recently about subliminal advertising which gives a little insight into that.

    Nature is a great antidote to the computer. I like your thinking. ;)


    I too think of the fragility of life. When I was younger I was in a car crash and after which I was incredibly lucky to remain intact. It certainly puts things into perspective.

    You know, I’d love to hear your rendition of that song. Perhaps it could be a downloadable as a pod cast or mp3?


    Your first blog post on Tara’s site is a great one! I enjoyed reading it and look forward to future articles.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and giving your time to read / comment.

  10. yes, exactly David, these near death experiences are inspirational. When I lived on the ocean I was inspired by surfing because it allowed me to be part of a living organism, one that could have easily swallowed me up at any time. A nice metaphor for the life we are all a part of that can swallow us up at any time or merely let us ride the waves….

  11. I have been thinking about my career (system administrator) and the fact that I love everything about graphic design/web authoring there is. I am currently evaluating my situation… I know graphic design isn’t the easiest thing to get into, and you never really master it… but I think I’d like to try to at least start doing some freelance here and there.

    My job as it stands seems very dead end, and I just love the possibilities with graphic design, the different media it can be presented on and such.

    Nice post David. Made me think more about my “career longevity”.

  12. I will definitely visit each of the links in this inspirational group project, this is good stuff !!! Thanks for sharing ! By the way, I understand exactly Mark’s comments above, I have been feeling the same for years. Probably time to change, what an enticing idea: to devote life to design!

  13. what inspired me is peoples reactions, emotions and whats happening around the world. I like to listen others people experiences and how they describe them make me feel part of their pain or joy. I think that also I get inspired by phylosophy and history of humankind example holocaust, human rights etc.. Thanks David for your blog is good to know that Im not alone.thanks

  14. Hi David!

    What a great list! I would agree with you, most definitely. Others on my list, which are a bit more specific than yours, include books and bookstores, the North Shore of Lake Superior, people on the bus, The Cathedral of St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota), road trips without destinations, but above all, an empty composition notebook with a brand new pen nestled by its binding on my computer desk. There is no better place to begin.

  15. Well to be honest, often I need a “spark” from something that already exists in order to create new.

    For example: in my web design business I’m often inspired by television commercials! Like it not, the big buck ad agencies creating these ads to a large extent “tell” people what they like. So, I’ll note a few commercials I like the look of, then redo it in my style.

    Aside from that…yes…the enviroment is a big inspiration for me.

  16. I’m still a graphic design student. And I found myself questioning my decision to study graphics everyday. But when I complete a successful project, I ponder the steps how I got there and then all of a sudden I am excited to be studying design again. It’s nice to hear that I am not the only one who thinks about that question once in awhile. Thank you for sharing your inspiration with me. I love your website – clean and airy. I also love the font you used for your name. VERY NICE!

    I find my inspiration from words. Do you think that’s weird for a graphic designer, I mean are we only supposed to be visual? I also love the clouds and trees, it fascinates me how the clouds always change shape and do it so sneakily and trees, man, the bark of a tree has what I call a map. Have you ever sat and looked deep into the bark where the “viens” are? It’s really nice, relaxing. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you, but thanks.

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