Stories

About inspiration

Three weeks into school, I’ve learned a few important principles from my design teacher.  One is, “Design doesn’t start on the computer – it starts in your head,” with the help of good old-fashioned pencil and paper.

Another is that in order to figure out your own design style, it’s worthwhile to look at others’ work. What are you drawn to and why?  It’s not about imitation – it’s about inspiration.

For those of you who are as interested in etymology as I am, the word inspiration comes from the Latin roots in + spirare (“to breathe”).  Inspiration, then, has a lot to do with life – a sort of reminder, I like to think, that we are beings with souls, capable of appreciating beauty and of making beautiful things.
Looking at a lovely thing can be daunting, it’s true.  There’s the temptation to think, “I could never do that.”  But wasn’t it Thomas Aquinas who said that a difficult task becomes easy when you see someone else do it?  It’s a call for experts to be generous and share their wisdom.  But it’s also a reminder that we should ask questions, be attentive, and never stop learning.  Because inspiration, ultimately, leads to perfection.
Here are a few man-made objects that inspire me.
Taken with my camera phone on a recent field trip to Chapters to judge books by their covers.  I realized that I’m drawn to textured surfaces, simple colour chemes, and luxurious details like embossing and foil stamped letters. And, of course, intriguing titles.

“Time, sun-baked time, time that keeps on slipping, slipping, elusive time, time like the stone Romanesque eyes peering from behind a clump of leaves, the startled pagan looking toward a transformed future. Art historians refer to this recurrent motif of the face in the leaves as ‘the green man.'” ~ Frances Mayes, A Year in the World
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