What Inspires Your Designs?

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

As creatives, our thoughts lead to beautiful interiors that inspire our clients and the people that visit the spaces we design. But what inspires those creative ideas? From my conversations with other designers over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that inspiration is very personal. People find inspiration in many different ways and from many different sources. Because inspiration must be fed from time to time, it’s important to know where your inspiration comes from and to make time to engage in those activities.

Read biographies of creative persons—artists, musicians, writers, architects, interior and product designers, fashion designers, engineers—and one theme that runs through all of them is that creativity is fickle. Some creative people produce master works when they are very young and never again attain that same level of excellence. Others experience high and low periods of creativity throughout their lives, while yet others peak early and then experience a resurgence later in life. Creativity is a precious gift we must cherish and cultivate.

Why creativity ebbs and flows is hard to say. One finds, however, that high periods of creativity are linked to recent inspiring experiences. For some people it may occur as a result of traveling to new places and/or being exposed to a different culture or aesthetic, spending time in a beautiful or awesome natural setting, immersing oneself in the creativity of a master or masters (often from a different discipline), gaining new insights and stimulating ideas from reading or talks, moving oneself to a different physical setting (such as a garden, park, mountain retreat, or beach), or just daydreaming. Falling in love also has proven to be inspiring for many creatives, but I don’t recommend doing it on a regular basis.

We can be influenced by trends, colleagues and other things that are happening around us. Inspiration, on the other hand, as the word suggests, comes from within. It is the rekindling of our creative spirit and our passionate connection to our work. That’s why it’s so important that you make time occasionally—literally, schedule them on your calendar—for the things that inspire you. Very likely, you may be inspired by different things in different ways, so vary your activities as well. Of course, inspiration may also happen serendipitously. But don’t leave it all to chance. Feed your inspiration, and you will be rewarded with greater satisfaction, creativity and joy in your work. And your business will thrive.

What inspires your design? I’d love to know. Post a comment and maybe you’ll inspire another designer as well.

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