All Natural

February 16, 2010

Who do you admire? What makes design exciting? When are you the most creative? Where you do find inspiration? Typical questions I’m asked when I discuss my profession – usually at a gathering where most of my peers are discussing the latest mortgage rates, medical procedures, or golf game. I’m the “creative-artsy” guy – the one who is glazed over – struggling with attention span, and playing air guitar. Yes. I guess I have some explaining to do—
As a designer, I am constantly stimulated by what I see and what my imagination skews into reality. No it’s not a result of too many Phish concerts back in college. This is a condition shared by many creatives, and somewhere in between the “real” and “really?” is the galaxy called creative inspiration.

The plus side to creativity is that inspiration can be ignited by the smallest spark. Personally, I surround myself with great books to kickstart the flow. Whether it be books on branding, layout, typography, packaging, album covers – you name it – I have it. One book in particular that seems to open the tractor beam is FINGERPRINT by Josh Chen of Chen Design Associates. Chocked full of imagery (a must), this book explores the organic side of design – taking the tangible “hands on” approach. Each piece featured in this book marry fine art, primitive craft and digital wizardry. Layers of information – handcrafted – mixed mediums abound— For example: Taking various scanned textures (papers, fabrics, textiles) mixed with custom typesetting and distressed posterized techniques make for a powerful composition of creative expression and unique display. Unconventional design always catches my eye – whether it be as simple as the size or shape of the piece or adding depth and dimension through function and style. Does this mean every piece has to be a complex/busy over stimulated piece of hodgepodgery? No. As long as it answers the challenge to be effective. It all starts with the concept, research, and the expanded freedom to grab attention and provide information. FINGERPRINT is a great publication for opening the mind’s eye – exploring the endless junk drawer of design treasures – taking a fresh perspective – pushing the boundaries – bringing the essentials – and allowing the software and hardware to be used as secondary tools for excellence.

Will this book inspire you when laying out your next annual report or concepting the perfect logo for an Orthodontist? Probably not, but it will cleanse the palate, and allow you to exercise and stretch those brain cramps.