Graphic Design and Illustration

Ideas and the Sketchbook

My SketchbooksThis post has been in the back of my mind for a while but after an incident over the weekend I thought I should write something which illustrates my point here perfectly. According to studies the typical person has about 50,000 thoughts a day. In amongst this massive array of thinking, problem solving, dreaming etc we have ideas. Some are good, some are bad. But what happens to the good ones? Some are forgotten, others acted upon in the moment and others just pushed to the back of the mind until recovered again. With so many good ideas going through our heads on a day-to-day basis how can we possibly keep track of them all?

Dreams are a good example of what happens with memory retention. We have all had dreams where we have woken up and can remember everything that happened. But ask us again by the end of the day “What happened in your dream? Now the dream is not so sharp in our minds. What happens next week or a month later if we are asked? Many of us have completely forgotten. This is the same for ideas.

As designers ideas are like water to us. Creativity stems from this and as we are creative people we tend to be looking for sparks or ideas left, right and center. This is why the sketchbook is an invaluable tool. By merely jotting down some notes, making a sketch, writing a reference we can set a stone in the road to always find our way back to that idea. Also the added benefit is that an idea which may not have been useful at the time may be perfect for a problem a ways down the line.

The reason which jolted me into doing this post was that I misplaced one of my sketchbooks when I needed it. I had recorded an idea and information around it which would solve a problem I had but I couldn’t remember everything about the idea. After searching for the sketchbook I finally found it and realised its importance.

So if your designer or developer or anyone in creative field, get yourself a sketchbook or a journal and keep those ideas recorded. You never know, they might help you out of a pinch one day.

My thoughts on finding inspiration

This is more of thought provoking post and something which has been on my mind the past week.

A week ago today I had the opportunity to meet one of my favourite designers James White, at a twitter meet up he arranged. I have been following him for over 2 years and was a regular follower of his Signalnoise Broadcast. It was a great evening full of stories, jokes and design discussion. I also got to meet a few other designers who I made friends with and some who recognised me by twitter handle. All in all it was a great evening.

The reason for this post a week on is as I remember sharing drinks and talking about design, project and sharing our passion I was buzzing. Heck, after the meet up I was so inspired and motivated after talking with James and others that I knew I had to go back home and create something awesome.

What I am getting at with all this is with so many tools online to find inspiration and connect to people it can be easy to overlook the simpler inspiration around us that can also resonant as strongly.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is amazing and I love it. It is a huge part of my daily life from things like keeping in touch with my friends half way across the world, ideas and inspiration as well as a whole ton of other stuff. But what I realised is that you can be inspired by pretty much anything.

So maybe next time you’re stuck for inspiration, turn off the computer and go for a walk, talk to a friend or even take a nap. Inspiration might find you there too.

Alvin Ofori-Brown, Designer Based in London, UK, I have over four years of creative agency experience producing digital campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world.

My areas of expertise are front-end development for email and the web.
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