Inspiration in the Social Media Age

Recently I attended a Design show in the fall where there were some of North America’s top decorators and designers. I appreciate the speakers even more than the trade show. It is exciting to hear what inspires other designers into creating the amazing spaces they do.

First let me start by saying that this blog post may be reflective of my old age. It's not that I don't appreciate what social media can do for business, but from a professional standpoint, it must be used with honesty and integrity…the same way you would run your business.

I must admit that I was disappointed with the speakers. Almost all talked about how to get more traffic on your Instagram or Facebook accounts. Additionally they suggested that you should ’regram’ other people’s work so that you had more content. Basically, success was proportional to how many comments and likes you received …even if it was not your work.

There were tons of students attending this show. It is unfortunate that this is what the majority of the content was. What was the take away for these young talented people? Most are extremely well versed in social media because that is what they have grown up with, but what about design? This was a ‘design’ show after all. I have been in the industry for over 20 years. The changes I have seen are many. However, the elements and principles are the same. The design process is the same. How to generate an original design is still the same. Good old hard work and talent.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

The final keynote I went to was presented by Barbara Barry, a decorator from California. I have followed her for over a decade. There was no mention of how her social media accounts were performing. What she talked about was travelling to Fogo Island, NFLD and Jasper, AB., the inspiration she found at these amazing sites, and how they contributed to the new products she was designing.

Jasper, Alberta

Barbara Barry Collection

Image courtesy of Global Views Chalet Collection

What inspires you? What gives you that clear and open mind to be able to come up with interesting and original design?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Travel – Seeing different parts of the world or even different parts of your own province can be so inspiring.

  2. Physical activity – This is a proven fact that ‘working out’ whatever that might be, allows you to reset your mind and be creative.

  3. Go for a walk outside and look at things in a different way. What color is the tree bark? If you look close, you will see it can be black, brown, grey, blue, yellow, and pink. Look at moss growing on a fence… the colors of the sky... Nature is very inspiring.

St. Pines

St. Pines

4. Enroll in a course….beginner ukulele, cooking, dancing…whatever sounds intriguing.

5. Take someone out for coffee and brainstorm. If you are lucky like I was, you get to sit in the second row, and take in some of the best advice from someone you admire. ;)