Gathering inspiration: what do you keep in a drawer marked ‘potentially useful’?

Fresh Starts

We began 2018 by bidding farewell to our studio of three and a half years, packing our pencils and poscas for a brand new space that we can truly call our own. It's an incredibly exciting new chapter for us, but there’s also a hint of sadness at leaving a place that’s enabled us to grow up and find a confident sense of identity as a business. And while we won’t miss the schlepp up three flights of stairs every morning, we will miss the visuals that accompany the climb.
Soon after we moved into the studio, we filled the walls of our stairway with drawings. The brief to the team was simple: gather nuggets of information that you find surprising, interesting or inspiring - and illustrate them. Soon the walls were covered with a wildly eclectic mix of images depicting everything from the formation of snowflakes to the inner workings of the domestic washing machine.

Fresh Perspectives

Though they look great, the purpose of these drawings was not decorative. The challenge of finding a creative solution is one we at Scriberia face many times a day. Over the years we’ve noticed how often a recent experience or learning emerges from the shadows of our consciousness and provides the key to unlocking the problem at hand. A magazine article read on the train home, a documentary discovered late-night channel hopping or a conversation with someone at a party: These small departures into other fields of interest leave useful fragments of knowledge behind that collect in a mental drawer marked ‘potentially useful.’ One day, often quite soon afterwards, one of those fragments turns out to be just the thing you need when you’re seeking inspiration.
Some people are better at accessing that drawer than others (it gets harder to open if not used regularly), but our illustrated stairway was an attempt to keep the team’s ‘potentially useful’ drawer well-oiled and well-stocked, or at least to remind them that inspiration can come from anywhere.
Because, as every world-changing innovator, from Henry Ford to Pablo Picasso, has acknowledged, there’s no such thing as a new idea, just new combinations of existing ones. It’s impossible to pluck a ‘eureka’ moment out of thin air. “The big idea is not an act of inspiration,” says the legendary art director George Lois, “but an act of discovery.” Its components are already out there, just waiting to be found and fused into something greater than the sum of its parts.

Fresh Thinking

That’s why creativity favours the curious. As you reach out beyond your field of expertise into more unfamiliar territory, your drawer of potentially useful knowledge fills; the fuller it gets, the number of ways to combine its contents grows, ideas meet that have never met before and the chances of you hitting upon something useful or exciting increase dramatically.
At Scriberia, our job is to create images that connect people to the ideas their business or organisation needs them to engage with. Often, engagement comes when those ideas are combined with other, more surprising ones, so that what is meaningful and relevant becomes, simultaneously, fresh and memorable, too.
That’s why, for us, meeting people from other fields and industries, through organisations like Danish-UK Association and the Knowledge Quarter, is vitally important. Neither our creativity, nor our clients’, can exist in a bubble. We all need constant supply of new experiences, information, stories and perspectives, to fuel our minds and generate the ideas that will drive us forward.

This post first appeared as an editorial for the Danish-UK Association newsletter.

If you'd like to find out more about our illustration, animation and scribing services, get in contact with us here.