I find my inspiration usually stems from a conversation. The dialogue with a client, a student, a colleague – usually an unexpected remark that triggers a thought, which leads to a visual journey and a clear route to solving the problem in hand.
Some of my most successful projects have evolved from a remark made by a client. When designing a new office, the complaint that ‘Nobody can find us’ led to a moving card, a new sign and a sizzling reception.
A chance remark when pitching for a chair exhibition – ‘This chair goes everywhere’ – led to it appearing in Trafalgar Square, Queen’s Tennis Club and Acton Bus Station, and this formed the basis of the display.
We need to create opportunities to converse with our heroes. In the 1980s, I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Ray Eames, one of the greats in our industry. Just to listen to the energy that she projected from words and how you could feel the ideas formulating, as she discussed the mundane.
Mentors can help to inspire and take us out of our sometimes grey surroundings. People who will prod and question to enable us to come up with extraordinary ideas.