As designers, we quickly develop a shorthand language, shared by many, exclusive to none. We’ve all referenced the same iconic work, flicked through the same books and been to the same shows. We’ve questioned if the world has run out of new ideas – and perhaps it has – but true inspiration (the stuff of eureka moments) will only happen when we cast aside our professional ‘blinkers’. It’s time to start seeing like children again.
Which is why I’m inspired by YouTube. Not the 99 per cent of self-reverential pap, but the glorious 1 per cent which opens our eyes to the wonderful weirdness of human endeavour. Joe Public and his random acts, created simply for the sheer hell of it. These new connections (the famous rock stars re-dubbed with amateur sound) allow us to see something we’ve never seen before – and to be inspired. The crazier side of life we’d never ordinarily experience is out there for the taking: Japanese two-second T-shirt folding, the human harmonica beatbox, the world-record breaking plastic cup stacking.
It’s been hailed as the democratisation of creativity, and it does seem that anyone with a digital video camera and a computer has jumped on to the bandwagon. The gems are hard to find, but when you do, they’re fresh, weird and distinctly un-designery.