Finding Inspiration Within

I’ve recently returned to the classroom as an instructor within the Design Studies program at Grant MacEwan University. The course is a prerequisite and instructs students on standard technical practices and tools of the trade. We are currently in the eighth week of classes and it’s been an interesting experience to date!

While grading my first student assignments, I began to reflect on what it was like to be a first-year student—eager to learn and naïve as a newborn. Observing the excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty that each new project brings, I muse as the students approach each project with an innocence that demands exploration. They explore solutions without the limitations of time, budget or client preference. There exists an internal motivation to produce a piece they believe in, can be proud to showcase­ and is entirely—theirs.

Being a professional designer, it’s all too easy to fall prey to the parameters imposed by others; to succumb to complacency and sacrifice one’s own creative integrity in the name of the client. Experience teaches us to be informed and efficient; to produce faster without taking the time to think. In this complacent state, we sometimes lose the excitement and motivation to excel. Our role becomes akin to an ‘order-taker’, rather than a ‘solution-provider’.

Finding inspiration is difficult. Currently, there is a myriad of online articles and blog posts on how to stay inspired—where to look, what to do, what not to do… While these sources are insightful, I’ve found more inspiration by observing my students. They remind me that with every new project, there is more to gain by summoning the feelings we all too often neglect—excitement, innocence and discovery.

Posted by:
Mark Yiu, Director of Design & Usability