Beginning a new design project can present many challenges, with countless details to consider before the process even begins. What materials are most appropriate? How can we present this to our client? These are some of the countless questions we ask ourselves when the brief lands at our desks. Even as a creative designer we are very limited by our own initial perception of a product which can hinder its progress. To maximise our creative output we use multiple sources of inspiration at every stage of our design process.
This inspiration can come from any source in our daily lives. From nature to architecture, there’s always small elements that can be extracted and developed to improve a product. A grand architectural structure could inspire the smallest details of a razor handle. We avoid searching for similar products at the initial stages of product development as this can stunt the thought process and give us a fixed idea of what a product should be. By avoiding this, we leave ourselves openly creative and look to less literal sources of inspiration. Appreciating the work of others, keeping on top of trends, understanding materials, refining details and learning new processes opens up opportunities within projects and allows us to create a more polished outcome. So much so that we make sure to stay on top of these on a daily basis, even taking 20 minutes out of our day to read the latest news. Additionally we hold weekly meetings within the office to share sources of information, images and resources that may inspire others. Below are our Top 5 sources of inspiration that we use daily:
An invaluable source of relevant images. We use pinterest at every stage of a design process as it provides visual inspiration from form right down to the smallest details. Our board setup consists of 6 focused boards - Details, textures, materials, branding, layouts and interfaces. Saving to these regularly allows us to stay on top of trends and gives us a refined resource of our favourite designs.
Product design specific inspiration. Lemanoosh is a much more filtered, product design driven resource that is extremely valuable for keeping up to date with product design trends.
Recent design news. Dezeen provides up to date articles on upcoming materials, processes and trends that we can develop or adapt into our own products.
Professional and student work. Student work is less limiting and often more creative, inspiring new ideas, directions and approaches to products. Behance provides work from a range of abilities from new designers right up to huge branded projects.
Visualisation and product presentation. The render weekly Instagram is a great resource for developing and improving our visual presentations. Designing a great product is only the first step - presenting it to the client in the best way can help them appreciate the smaller details and sell an idea.