Like most creatives, I’m sure, I find inspiration an unpredictable bedfellow. It comes in many forms – art, music, literature, film, design – yet it can still prove elusive. Typically, given a tough brief and a short deadline it is nowhere to be found. Two hours after the deadline it appears everywhere you look. Such is the nature of inspiration.
It is, therefore, invaluable when you find something that consistently gets the creative juices flowing. So, rather perversely, I find myself thinking about the unpredictable nature of inspiration, only to find myself coming to the most predictable of answers. That answer is, of course, A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart.
When I started my design career, back when Preston had a polytechnic, our first year was spent trying to think of simple visual solutions. There were no design briefs as such, but more an exploration into the strength of having a great idea, and using visual wit. This theme ran through the course, and has proved a philosophy that still guides my design approach today. A Smile in the Mind is the bible for this way of thinking. It inspires, energises and makes me think ‘S***! I wish I’d thought of that’.