Well, if we never say anything worse we will be doing well!
We’d opened a magazine which minutes earlier had plopped through the door.
And there it was: our idea, created by another designer.
In a garden which definitely didn’t belong to any of our clients!
On the phone to our lawyer?
No, because we knew that our idea had been seen by no one!
It was an original idea, which we will not detail because it is still fresh and we think has a lot of mileage. We’d seen it nowhere else. We had not yet used it. It was stored in a battery of ‘we’d like to do – this is a good idea’ exercise books, which we keep as a resource which can be plundered each time we take on new clients.
We’d not been burgled. And anyway I have not heard of garden designers breaking and entering for ideas! The thing is that inspiration is all around us and it’s free. We just need to be open to it. But we all mine the same world for influences and ideas. They do say for example that there is nothing new in fashion now. So we mustn’t think no one else can get to the same new idea!
What do we store in our inspiration file? Thoughts, sketches, clippings, all in date order. Some are a spin off from designs we have already done. Some are pattern, could be shapes on a fabric or an Arabic tile. Perhaps a geological feature seen in a magazine. Photos rather than the items – that would be bulky! One which comes to mind was just the angles and lines created by the arms and legs of a girl band as they stood singing on the stage. Anything in fact that we look at and think: Love it!
These books never contain the work of other garden designers. That we see in magazines and file elsewhere – we know the work of most influential designers &, while we may be influenced mentally, we do not copy. So it is not there that we turn first. It is to our ideas files.
Periodically one of us looks back through the running file and scans the key ideas and trends to a picture file on hard disc which we can flip through really quickly.
But there is of course a sense in which the files are most useful as an activity rather than a resource. It is the recording which is the crucial bit. A bit like doing the marketing list and not consulting it in the shop! You are thinking shape, line, volume, texture, light and atmosphere And then when you hit the right time:
– it is there in your brain and comes out down your arm and through the pencil as you design.
Our idea, an alternative way of doing things-far out in fact-was of course still filed. We just had not yet hit on the client for whom it was appropriate.
Pity! We all need publicity and starting a trend is kind of good publicity. Well, its a nuisance, but it happens.
And hey, it is customer satisfaction which is key not the name in lights!
And there are loads of other ideas in the books.
Our Garden Designer Round colleagues will all have their own ways to get inspired.
Find our their secrets here:
L and R
Category: Design Bites