August 12, 2014 - Comments Off on Finding Design Inspiration with The Mechanism Founder – Talkback Tuesday

Finding Design Inspiration with The Mechanism Founder – Talkback Tuesday

"Talkback Tuesdays" is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your 2¢ in the comments.

This week The Mechanism Founder, and all around design-guru, Dave Fletcher, discusses why his photography is one of the first places he turns for design inspiration.

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Where do you find design inspiration?

Since around 1996, I’ve been taking an abundance of digital photographs from my travels to conferences, events and holidays. Simply being able to look into my treasure trove of images has helped me out of an occasional creative jam. From a photo, I generally can find a color palette or typographic element that ignites something new, or a visual that sparks a memory and triggers another. Before you know it, I’m well on my way to a fusion of ideas without having to do too much thinking. It just flows. Everything we do is connected in a very cosmic (and occasionally “comic”) sense, so the invaluable inspiration gleaned from a photograph I took in New Orleans in 2003, could trigger ideas for a logo or visual metaphor completely unrelated to the original photographic resource.

I’ve read a great deal about sparking inspiration from simply changing your typical path. We are all creatures of habit, and once we lock into a routine, we are easily able to drown out everything around us. We shut down our minds and put our bodies on a kind of “auto-pilot” to get from the train to the office, or our house to the grocery store. However, if you consciously break a habit or routine and try a different route to your destination, you’ll be forced to experience new things and to pay closer attention to your surroundings.

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In 2005, I was keynoting an AIGA event in Jacksonville, Florida. Part of my daily ride to my destination involved passing an old, overrun Goony Golf mini-golf course. There was a spectacular and decrepit roadside dinosaur in front, clearly visible from the highway, that I simply had to photograph. During my keynote, I showed the audience the dinosaur in one of my slides, and only a few locals recognized it. After I mentioned that I took it not more than a mile away, they were a bit taken aback. This group of highly creative individuals had become so accustomed to passing the dinosaur in their daily routine that they no longer even saw this majestic beast deteriorating right in front of their eyes. Years later I learned that a few of the attendees had taken it upon themselves to save the roadside dinosaur from further deterioration by repairing him and moving him to a safer location.

They just needed to have their eyes opened to their own surroundings to be inspired. It was immensely gratifying to be part of this. It galvanized the lesson that inspiration can be found directly under our noses, and sometimes we just need to be nudged a little bit in one direction or another to actually see it.

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