Inspiration is like lightning – it strikes where and when it wants. As a creative, I’m obliged, metaphorically speaking, to hang around trees and water in thunderstorms in the hope of being struck. In my experience there is no sure-fire process for this, other than learning to be continuously receptive, open and alert. In other words, all I can do is clear the ground and pray for rain.
Like any designer, I see lots of work and I also get a lot of visual stimulus elsewhere – art, films, TV and places I visit. The sheer abundance of the visual field could easily be overwhelming.
My discipline is to make time for exploration that isn’t either programmed (such as visiting a gallery) or dictated professionally. A recent example are the pictures I took of water droplet patterns on the plastic cups we use at Wolff Olins. I noticed that different people left different patterns and then did a short project looking at how these came about and how they could make interesting pictures. I think taking time for free, visual exploration is really the key to staying alert and open. It’s all anyone can do, practically, to encourage the lightning to strike them.