azpro design team shares their ideas for seeking inspiration. How do you stay inspired and creative in the digital realm? Mick Urias (Creative Director) I’ve been fortunate over the last 27 years to find new inspiration in many different sources. There are those standards, of course, that will always continue to motivate my creative energy. Typography, architecture, music, science, technology, history, culture, any number of incredible artists and designers both past and present. Even those sensory stimuli that take me back to what I call my ‘discovery days’. But truly the most significant influence on my work has been my experiences with the amazing people I’ve encountered in my life. I find true inspiration in the questions that people ask. Those things that have a profound effect on how they see life. I love the differences that distinguish one thing from another, and all the minutia and nuances in between. Understanding those details, those stories and experiences and bringing that knowledge into my visual communication is one of my favorite endeavors. I would say beneath my love of art and design is my passion for wanting to know the process…the story behind the solution. It’s all about the exploration and the discovery for me. It’s all about the story. Communication is based on the absolute relationship of all things. Until we open ourselves to this simplicity, we will never truly indulge in the potential power of it all. Of course, a big bowl of Captain Crunch has its place in my world as well.   Jennifer Stalnaker (Senior Designer) I am inspired by many things but here are a few: The Process and the End Result:  Seeing my work evolve from a mere concept into a completed design is inspiring and makes me want to continue doing what I do.  Knowing that I can influence someone’s perception or decision through effective visual communication is amazing. Nature: There are so many different shapes, colors and textures in nature that are inspiring. It can influence a great design.  One of my favorite places to design is outdoors.  Just feeling the sun and breeze on my skin is enough to inspire me to start creating something. Trends and Other Designers’ Work:  It’s always great to keep up with the latest trends.  But, it is also important to understand that some of the design methods we think are new have actually been around for quite a while!  I love to pull inspiration from new designs but also from some of the greats (such as Massimo Vignelli and David Carson). Printed Materials:  I love picking up random brochures, booklets and other printed materials pretty much anywhere I can find them.  I love feeling the different weights and finishes of the stock and seeing how the designer compiled everything into an effective design.   Ellen Fixsen (Designer) I feel like some of largest inspirations are kind of strange to put down in words, but I’ll try my best. Talking – I believe most of you have probably figured out that I’m a talker, and the whole idea that through design I can communicate and convey a message to complete strangers is extremely inspiring. Not to sound too cliché, but being a kid with a big voice from an itty bitty town it was easy to feel like I was never going to be heard. So when I found that design can transport your message around the world at the push of an upload button and be effective, and look good while doing its job, it really just blew me away. Getting my hands dirty – I was encouraged a lot as a student to be resourceful and my beginning background in art is completely fine arts based. Also when I first started design classes we didn’t use a computer, there was a lot of drawing and cutting and pasting and photo copying. I’m very thankful for that. Even though these are not practices that I use every day on projects now, there is a lot of inspiration to be pulled from those skills. Knowledge of textures and layering and how it feels to do it by hand. When it gets composed on the computer it can be as convincing as possible. Research, Culture, and History – I can spend hours reading about biodiversity online, or days carting around and thumbing through magazines from the 1960s. Even comb through articles in other language to see how many words I recognize just for fun. I enjoy finding ways to transport myself to other times and places and then use those imaginative experiences as inspiration for designs. I like coming up with ideas and concepts a lot more than executing them sometimes. Those times usually involve heavy research before even creating anything visual. Humor – I enjoy making people laugh and feel very accomplish when I can come up with something sophisticated and witty or visually dynamic and silly that could give an audience a chuckle every now and then. Quotes – Lastly, this quote is one of my favorites. I find it as a very simple source of inspiration all of the time. “Graphic design is a big fucking club with spikes in it, and I want to wield it” – James Victore  How do you stay inspired and creative?  Andy Mejia (Designer) As a designer a walk in the park can be the source of my creativity. By viewing nature as art a lot of inspiration can come from nature itself. A leaf might help you find the great next pattern you are looking for. That being said my inspiration is fueled by many things around me like nature, architecture, and textures. The highest and latest source of inspiration I would say comes from the visual effects in a commercial or movie. The planning, ideation and creativity that goes into a project is quite inspiring. Just thinking of the process of getting the right frame, right lighting, post production, and having everything work together to bring the end results inspires me.   Matthew Schafer (Designer) Going back to basics. Sometimes I enjoy reviewing my old projects from my GRA principle classes from College. It brings me back to the raw hands on new creativity I would discover while working in college. Viewing others Ideas and feedback. I like to search online communities of work people display for inspiration Dribbble.com for example is a good example. It is helpful to review comments and feedback people give on the forums and view others perspectives. Traveling. I enjoy traveling. Looking back on photos and notes of my travels gives me ideas and inspiration. I have come across a lot of inspiring architecture, art and numerous forms of design media that I like to take note of and revisit when designing. Being outside. When the weather is right, I prefer to take my laptop out on my balcony or to the park to get some my freelance work done. I sometimes find different thought processes and approaches being in a different environments. Music. Music has always helped my creativity flow depending on the project. It might not be helpful during a research portion. However, it has its time and place in the design process for me. Whether it’s Black Carl or St. Paul and the Broken Bones I am listening to, music can take me to another level.   Michael Weinberger (Designer) Science Scientific study and discovery of the natural universe we live among teaches us the reason art is beautiful. It’s one of the reasons why that’s so important to inspiring good design. The inexplicable connection between color, sound, and the mathematical forms our artistic creations take on, can be easily seen. It can also be understood through things like the elegant structure of a DNA molecule or the electromagnetic spectrum. Science gives art a structured meaning from which artists are inspired to form solid and reliable ideas.. Simplicity Design made simple means made better. A well thought design is elegant and reserved of distraction. The simplicity of a design’s form increases the value beyond its function. It is also true of the simple idea that inspired it. Not that the design itself is boring or void of interest, but intelligent and directs our attention to rarer details with deeper impact. We gravitate toward what’s easier to understand. The simpler the idea or design, the more approachable and unassuming the world will be. Music Our emotions are acutely engaged and narrowly focused when we experience music we like. This balancing of moods that quiets the mind’s chatter allows us inner access to wise and imaginative ideas. It momentarily deepens the connection to our subconscious, freeing our outward conscious selves to be more subjectively aware and articulate. Music acts as a powerful opiate that stimulates rare prolonged creativity. It reminds us how the experience of designing great art is simultaneously connected to experiencing great art. Master Craftsman Over time, those who develop a disciplined, well nourished, and finely tuned craft display a special integrity and unique style in what they design. Whether it’s an architect, writer, or musician, they seem effortless with perfect execution and delivery, optimally efficient with grace, and confident without arrogance. These specialized artisans remove self-doubt in our own abilities and replace fear with due confidence and acceptance in our creations. Master craftsman inspire our desires to perpetually sharpen our own artistic abilities. They teach us that mastering an art form for ourselves is very possible. Art Though it might seem a bit obvious, artistic expression is at the heart of every designed thing in the world, with a heavier focus on desire rather than necessity. When artistic embellishment is applied to the form of useful and functional things their sentiment and value increases. Design follows purpose, cost, and function pragmatically. When an artistic approach is absent, it gives us an ugly, bleak, and disposable feeling world. We all desire not just things, but beautiful things. Art inspires us to make the things we make more beautiful.   And there you have it: A peek at how our azpro designer’s stay inspired. We’d love to hear your feedback, thoughts and comments, on how you stay inspired.  ]]>