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The Old Informs the New

The other day, a coworker and I had a discussion about how it’s nearly impossible to create something completely “original.” As a designer, this should make me want to close my laptop, go grab a bite and call it a day. But alas, if you dig a little deeper, even the most innovative artists’ magnificent displays of originality were also knockoffs.

Even masterminds like DaVinci had springboards for his creations. Granted, DaVinci used the study of things found in nature (such as bats) as a catalyst for outlines of items like the “flying machine.” Great insights and ideas are informed by our surroundings and are born from a place of wonder. While at work, you might feel a sense of imposed pressure to complete a task in order to meet a deadline. Or you may find yourself falling into the “going through the motions” mindset. Though if you zoom out for a second, there could be a better/more efficient/more fun way to do something. Personally, I tend to dive in and tackle projects (because I get excited) without enough research and end up losing time in the long run. I am working toward being more diligent with “using the old to inform my new.”

How do you get in “the zone” of new thinking? Do you notice a certain time or place when original ideas come to you? Where do you go for inspiration?

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