Where do you find inspiration? How do you generate new ideas?
My greatest source of inspiration comes from my amazing group of friends and boyfriend. I am so lucky to have a great group of truly talented, kind, hard working woman in my life who support each other through our endeavors. Travel is another great source of inspiration and helps drive new ideas. Like a lot of people, many of my best ideas pop up in the shower and on the subway and I have a list that I keep saved in the Notes folder on my iPhone.
I find my greatest inspiration by flipping through the artwork of some of my favorite artists (Fairfield Porter). My work looks nothing like these artists, but I love looking to my favorite artists for color inspiration. Other times I drive to the nearest museum, Crystal Bridges, to see work in person. I am so fortunate to live in Arkansas and have such an amazing collection of artwork at my fingertips! As for generating new ideas, I constantly am sketching. I carry around several sketchbooks all of the time, so when I get an idea I sketch it out, or if I am stuck and need some ideas, I flip through old sketchbooks.
CONNECT WITH STACIE
We’re constantly coming up with ideas for new cards— most of them don’t actually make it to the press, but we use the notes app on our phones for funny things that happen or that we think of.Andy has a ton of sketchbooks all over and he is always looking back at old drawings and sketches to see if anything pops up as useful. You’d be really surprised how many drawings lay dormant until they lend themselves to a new product. It’s like a doodle investment plan. Some of our cards are based on our own lives and the things that happen to us. For instance, our “Hope Your Neighbors Aren’t Creepy” card was made when we moved into our house and we met our new neighbors (and all of his 8-10 cats) or our “Don’t Believe in Valentine’s” card was made after we got into a really stupid fight on Valentine’s Day.
CONNECT WITH JANE & ANDY
I love shapes and textures and find inspiration from objects in my every day life like furniture and housewares. One example of how I generated the idea of our marbled place card holder was inspired from paper marbling and wood and marble cheese boards!
CONNECT WITH SHERRY
In Editor’s Course and Assured + Well, I teach about the importance of inspiration being drawn from real life. (I’m really trying to hold back here because I could write a book about this!) You have to start from truth, and truth is found in real life.So for me, in creating Cottage Hill, my direct inspiration was finding a Polaroid of my great-grandparents being silly in Hawaii when they were young. They weren’t perfect, but they were wholehearted living people. They weren’t curated or concerned about how their life appeared, they just lived it. And that is what made them such beautiful people. So I named the magazine after the road where they lived and decided to tell stories like that. It’s not always about generating new ideas. As creatives, we want to create, right? But, I think we need to start thinking more about creative documentation too. That’s what I’ve been telling creatives who want to be published. Stop trying to invent a new angle for a styled shoot. What if we answered the highest call of being an artist and started with something true? For example, your elderly neighbor who takes flowers to his late wife’s grave every month. How could you document this incredible act of love and sweetness in a way that honors his truth and utilizes your creative talents to make it even more beautiful? Ah, I’m teary just imagining this theoretical story. Send me this—artistic, honest, and an experience.
CONNECT WITH KATIE
I am such a creature of routine and habit that doing something completely spontaneous is all I need. Being business-minded is a relatively new venture for me after years of nothing but the spontaneous, catch a cloud artist’s life. Organization and de-cluttering is actually inspiring at this stage of my life.Nothing inspires me more than going to antique malls or flea markets. I just marvel over objects that once held use or purpose for some people. I’m also very sentimental, so viewing objects from other eras can connect me to memories or even see a retro color scheme that inspires an entire series of paintings.
CONNECT WITH GINGER
Everywhere! I’m constantly ripping pages out of magazines or pausing tv shows to snap a quick image of a pattern I like, or a color combo that speaks to me. I think when we take the time to stop multitasking, we are able to give the world our full attention, which is where we find our best ideas. For generating ideas, I honestly listen to our customers. We have a survey that we send out, we receive emails and we use those… but I spend a lot of time searching through hashtags people use for our products and I see how they are using them. I watch their videos of how they’ve ‘hacked’ their planners or how they create planning systems that work for them… and then I apply those ideas into a brain dump. I use that as my jumping point to help push me to create things that my ideal customer actually wants or needs. The best way to offer customers what they want, is to listen to them.
CONNECT WITH TONYA
I'm an admitted social media addict but I realize how brain-dead it makes me feel. Rather than feeling inspired by awesome pins, or gorgeous photos, I find it makes me feel really blank in my brain. So, I'm trying to unplug a bit more on the weekends (and look up more!) in hopes that my brain can run a bit more freely. Traveling and in-town adventuring gets my ideas flowing for sure. Reading too.
CONNECT WITH CATHERINE
Everywhere! I represent a bit a fiction, but for nonfiction you have to be alert to the world. I talk to friends about what they’re seeing in business or struggling with in their personal lives. I’m an insatiable consumer of news. I try to take a birds-eye-view of what is happening and ask how can this be reflected in book form. Is it part of a larger movement? Is there a shift going on we should be writing about? What is everyone talking about on blogs, podcasts and social media? Who is a the center of it all and who do I want to hear more from that person? I look a lot at my own life and many of my books are an attempt to solve my own work/life problems. They're so incredibly personal, and I use every single one of them for real. As an agent, you have to believe so genuinely in the value of your projects.
CONNECT WITH KIM
Following trends is always a temptation, but doing the work to discover your own true signature style will be a game changer. So that when trends come up, you can certainly include them in your product lines or services, but you will be able to execute them within your own style so it's unique to you.
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER
I am lucky enough to live in New Orleans, which is a constant source of inspiration. It is such a beautiful mix of ornate architecture and vibrant colors, Southern sophistication and straight-up funk. We live in a magical little world filled with delicious food, incredible music and amazing people –– but also, stark injustice and economic inequality, a vanishing coastline, and a staggering crime rate. New Orleans is not for the faint of heart. This city is a microcosm of everything that’s going on with our country right now, and there's no shortage of reasons to be upset with unfair systems and no shortage moments of true humanity, beauty and grace.I’ll tell you what though, it’s never boring.
CONNECT WITH LIZ
Oooohhhhh I LOVE this question! I like to gather up all of the info the client has sent me through their design questionnaire, specifically the key words they use to describe the feel of their wedding. Then I sit down with a pen and paper and meditate. Yes, meditate. I like to envision the client on their wedding day, how the guests will interact with their wedding objects, and the emotions and love story that goes into their day. Then I start sketching. Somehow the ideas just flow onto the page from there.
CONNECT WITH CAREY
I find inspiration all around me! I’m constantly inspired by my lakeside surroundings — water, colors in the sunsets & casual fun vibes. I take that inspiration and infuse my modern & luxe details design aesthetics that I’m in love with, like gold accents and luxurious materials, & create finished products that stay true to our “casual luxe” style.
CONNECT WITH ROBYN
In my travels. Seeing beautiful shops. Art places. Nature. I get a lot of magazine subscriptions. And at night, I start ripping things that jump out. When I see repeated colors in magazines, I start thinking, is this a new color that I should work on? Is this a new combination? I also shop at a variety of stores rom Louis Vuitton to Target, with each one of them offering multitudes of ideas. The other day I was at Target and in the dollar bin there was a 2017 calendar with a night-floral print and I thought, I like this color palette. Wham! An idea came. You never know where ideas are generated from
CONNECT WITH NANCY
I find inspiration when I’m talking with people who are also in business but who aren’t in my exact line of work. I get ideas from reading magazines or books. Just the other day, I was hit by a dose of inspiration when I walked into the ice rink for the first time to take an ice skating class that’s on my 2017 goals list. Inspiration happens when i’m out of my normal routine and when I’m not in the “thick of” doing work or life things that are standard.
CONNECT WITH REINA
Party décor is heavily influenced by trends, so we need to know what’s popular - and more importantly, what’s going to be popular. You start to see little inklings of ideas on Pinterest (suddenly there’s one cactus-themed product, then another, then another…) and if you pay attention you can gauge what’s about to become the new trend. We also go to gift/trade shows where you can see the same thing play out. What’s important for me is to carry products that are on-trend while still staying true to our brand and aesthetic.
CONNECT WITH JESSIE
Take advantage of the city’s museums and art galleries for inspiration.
CONNECT WITH STEVE & JILL
Ooh, this is one of my favorite things to think about! First - let’s talk about where I don’t find inspiration - social media! I’m most inspired when I’m not sitting in front of a screen. Movement helps - either moving my body or writing in my journal or doing something outside.Breaking from the screen feels counter-intuitive, especially as we’re told more and more to value productivity and efficiency and that we must respond to everything all the time and have inbox zero. But, I know this: my biggest, boldest, and best ideas don’t come to me when I’m trying to respond to every email in my inbox in a timely manner. They come to me when I’m walking my dog, swimming, or cooking dinner for my family. So I do my best (it can be a challenge!) to make those things a priority.
CONNECT WITH TIFFANY
I’m not sure if I have one specific place where I find inspiration, but I feel the most inspired when I’m quiet, and I get 90% of my new ideas when I’m in the shower. It’s one of the only times my brain just kind of shuts off and allows free flowing thought.
CONNECT WITH MANDY
My mind is constantly on go. I would say my main sources of inspiration are other designers and small business owners, traveling, and nature. I love interior design and I find huge inspiration in that for my floral work and shop aesthetic.
CONNECT WITH LESLEY
I have a huge collection of old Martha Stewart Weddings magazines and that’s always a good place to start. I love old movies, anything vintage inspired and classic. I often generate ideas based on need, for example, since I also photograph weddings, I see first hand what my brides and grooms have a need for. I often have grooms that don’t know how to tie a bowtie, so we created a DIY video on how to do that CLICK HERE. Another example, I’m always asked to pin a boutonniere, so we created a video of that as well: CLICK HERE.
CONNECT WITH CHRISTINA
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I get my inspirations from the people I’m around, meetings, conversations, retail window displays and travel is one of the best times to generate new ideas. Any setting or situation that is not your everyday environment will push the boundaries of your thinking.