I read this quote by illustrator and graphic designer Mike Perry a few months ago when I was feeling particularly uninspired and disconnected from the design world, "Where do I find inspiration? It's hard not to find it, I mean, you trip over it. I stay off the Internet." The words have been looping through my brain since I read them, ironically enough on my twitter feed, and have somehow answered a question I myself had been struggling with: how does an interior designer stay inspired when he or she isn’t working as one? The fact is that many of you out there are living in a similar set of shoes as I am–not working in the field, and wondering if you’ll ever get the chance. (image from http://www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/inspiration/)
A week after I read Perry’s quote, I spent three full days at NeoCon 2010. I’m sure anyone that has ever attended will agree that it is practically impossible to leave the show without being re-inspired and re-discovering why we all love design in the first place. But what I think we so often forget about these shows is that they aren’t inspiring solely because they introduce us to the best and newest products: They remind us that there is a community of people out there just as equally passionate about design to interact with. For those of us not working within the field we love this is even more invigorating than the products we’re there to see.
Realizing that a community of designers is what I was missing made Perry’s quote resonate even more deeply. What I’ve decided is that if Mike Perry can walk into the world and be so overwhelmed by inspiration that he’s tripping over it, I need to create a world worth tripping through. For me this means getting involved in a design community and attending as many events and and exhibitions as possible. Just because I’m not working as a designer, does not mean I have to stop living and thinking like one.
(Contract magazine is proud to announce a blog installation from one of three guest design student bloggers. Lisa Backus, Brittany Hahn, and La Keisha Leek regularly will be writing and sharing their design experiences at TalkContract for the next year. Check back often to see what's the buzz among the next generation of designers, and be sure to share with them your feedback and design advice by commenting below.)