What Inspires You?

The sketch is from a collection of Bill, by Bill, that populate his office door. They are about as close to the real Bill as a camera lens is likely to get.

Our creatives are often in the unenviable position of working under tight deadlines and tighter budgets. They’re often juggling more than one project in various stages of development and often across several time zones.

And through it all, they need and want to be at the top of their game.

All our projects begin with meetings around a table with some method of brainstorming to get the creative juices flowing. So how does one jump out of the creative starting gate? The tools may be paper and paints, keyboards and cameras, graphic computers and editing boards, but all are powered by creativity born of inspiration. It gets deep in there, but it’s fascinating and worth the side trip.

What inspires the creative mind?

The question was asked of our creatives. The responses – enthusiastic, individual, and full of pass-it-forward tips that may help others summon the process that can reveal the next original idea. The truth is, the responses were so inspiring, they’ve born a series.

First up: Bill Stock, VP, Creative

I gather inspiration from a lot of places. Regardless of my workload or deadlines, I am always aware of my surroundings. I am intrigued by anything with good design aesthetics; really, anything that grabs my attention because it’s derived from solid design principals. This includes architecture, advertising, media, signage, furniture, fashion, etc. When it comes to developing creative for specific jobs, it really depends on the project type. Below are a few of my “go to” sources and processes . . .

I refer to dafont.com, veer.com, houseind.com. A lot of these sites allow you to enter custom copy and preview fonts in real time. You can also search by font style (serif, sans serif, script, etc.) and this helps me set the appropriate tone for the logo, headline, etc.

Graphic Design
I typically begin by flipping though magazines like Communication Arts and How. I use Post It notes on anything interesting. I then go to my sketchbook to develop simple form studies. When it comes to messaging and visual support, I log on to shutterstock.com or istockphoto.com and populate custom light boxes. Budgets are typically tight, so working with pre-existing assets, like vector graphics and photography, gets me there a lot faster. It is important to make it your own, though.

Environmental/Scenic Design
I like pinterest.com and designspiration.net. These websites each have unique features. Pinterest allows you to create, save and share custom “boards”. These resemble the longtime used “mood boards” which help illustrate the intended look and feel for a specific concept. Designspiration.net has a super cool (and fluid) search engine and the results are robust. I always have my iPhone on me too. This serves me well when I see interesting architecture, signage, furniture – really anything with a dynamic application.

For me, inspiration for video concepts typically starts with TV. There is nothing better than a commercial because companies are forced to deliver an impactful message in such a short time. This usually leads me to youtube or vimeo for further exploration. For more specific searches, I still rely on my good old friend Google. All of these sites have options to share ideas with others. Safari and Firefox have plug-ins that allow users to download the video file for inclusion in presentations as well.