You never know when something’s going to catch your eye, or when what catches your eye will become inspiration for a design or illustration.
Several weeks ago I was browsing portfolios on Behance and came across this typographic gem, one of a series by Like Minded Studio commemorating choice sayings of ad man David Ogilvy. I liked it enough to add it to my Pinterest boards under Typography.
Cut to the day before yesterday when I had about 3 hours to develop a title for Father’s Day. I immediately recalled the poster, noting the strong sense of masculinity, the energy created by the diagonal stress, and the vintage feel of the piece. I considered a few other options, weighed and considered, and then developed the title design shown above.
Looking at my design and its inspiration, you would not easily make the connection that the one was inspired by the other. Inspiration is not copying or creating a derivative work (both of these constitute copyright infringement), but a stimulation or motivation to do something. Ideas, images and words should provide us with the spirit or heart to take off in a particular direction, to develop ideas and designs or to take action.
We can think of inspiration as a muse, a word derived from the Greek mousa, which is to reflect or think with focused attention. (The word, amuse, therefore, means no thinking is required… something to think about as we seek various amusements.) Inspiration, derived from the Latin inspirare is to breathe or blow into*, which is different from a muse, but closely related. Inspiration is both the urge and the ability to do something. Musing is passive. Being inspired is active.
Design requires three things: looking, thinking and doing. In looking, we collect and record visuals and tuck them away for future reference. In thinking, we muse and ponder what we’ve seen. In doing, we act, create, build, design, write, draw, compose, play, choreograph… depending upon our discipline. We never know when inspiration will show up, but once it does, it’s up to us to take action, or inspiration will never be fruitful.
*In the Gospel of John, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples during one of his post-resurrection appearances.