How We Find Inspiration
By Joshua Colt Fisher
On a recent family road trip I decided to pull off the highway and enjoy a scenic route. After a while of enjoying the open fields and large oak trees over hanging the road the skies opened up to a torrential downpour. I decided it would be best to pull off to the side of the road and wait out the rain. Unfortunately, the rain was distorting the view of a grassy shoulder that was actually camouflaging a deep muddy quagmire. As our gas peddle quickly became useless, we came to the realization that we are going to need help. In my quest for a scenic route I have landed us out of cellphone range and it’s apparent I will have to have to exit the vehicle to find help. As I considered my options I remembered not more than a mile back seeing the red glimmer of a reflector precariously hanging from what I could only hope was a mailbox. So the family crawls over the back seats in search for anything that would help keep me dry on my trek to find assistance. As I make my way back to what I hope is an occupied residence, I realize the only part of my body even remotely dry are my shoulders which are barely covered by my daughter’s tiny purple poncho, my daughters’ favorite color. Thoughts of my circumstances continue to distract and I barely realize that 45 minutes have passed when I reach that red glimmering reflector that was in fact hanging from a mailbox. Through the down pour I can barely see lights that not only outline a structure tucked into forest but shed light on the end of my adventure.
Inspiration is often an emotional reaction linked to personal experiences. As designers, we find that it’s integral to have conversations with our clients that reveal elements of their lives that we can use to inform our design decisions. As in the narrative above, there are two paths of inspiration to explore: you could either steer clear of falling water, grassy expanses, dimly lit spaces and the colors red and purple or you could choose to embrace them.
When working with a client who just told us about one of their memorable adventures, here are a few examples of how we may try to embrace and incorporate some of those elements into our design:
- The client from our narrative may want lots of large overhangs around their house but made of a thin metal so that it will provide for protection from the rain and while creating an enjoyable background symphony while sharing breakfast on the porch.
- A gravel driveway may be preferred by this client instead of a typical paved material. The crunch of tires traveling over gravel driveway will remind them that they are traveling on firm ground.
- This client may also want to include the color purple in some inventive way as it helps remind them of the strength of a supportive family and would signify the daughter’s presence, even though she is now off at college.
- The client may also want to include the color red somewhere on the front of the house to remind them of the red reflector that lead them home. The color red could be integrated into the front door to strengthen the meaning of arriving home.
Remember the in-depth conversations with your designer serve not only as a means of connecting but will also help unlock the initial flood of inspiration that will carry you both through the design process.