I suspect that, like everyone, I find new inspiration at every turn, usually through people and their response to events around them, but often through something quite small and seemingly insignificant. On a train I was struck by how people sitting face to face across a table spoke openly about personal issues, oblivious to the crowded carriage. Just like in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, the high-backed seats had created a room within a room and a perception of privacy around them. We used this concept in our design for First Choice Travel to replace rows of impersonal seats across a long counter, which was then the sector norm.

However, a constant source of inspiration for me are the paintings of Howard Hodgkin. Through the use of colour, scale, shape, energy, the pleasure of the medium and pure visual beauty, his work has the ability to engage and make you understand the message at an instinctive level, without the need for further analysis. For me this is the essence of communication.

Someone once said that successful design was like telling a joke. If you have to explain it, you’ve failed. Perhaps Hodgkin would agree.

Mike Booth

Designhouse Consultants

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