Why Stealing Ideas Can Create Successful Design

The design process begins with an idea.

Anna Held Audette said: "an idea is our visual reaction to something seen–in real life, in our memory, in our imagination, in our dreams.”

Before embarking on a design project, clients and designers alike may already have a strong idea of what they are looking for and what they want. Others, much like what I have just done, prefer to look for further sources of inspiration—whether that’s the internet, books or magazines—in order to develop and strengthen their own ideas by collating them with the ideas of others.

We all approach design in different ways.

When designing–whether big or small– each of us looks at it and approaches it differently. From a client looking to update their family home or one looking to follow their dreams and start a brand-new venture, we all consider these projects in different ways.

Some of us are more creative thinkers; designers who can visualise things easily and then we have the more methodical thinkers; the engineers – the people who want to know how it works, what the components are and how these come together to produce a finished product or a project.

Is one way better than the other? And is one way more effective for the client?

At some point in our lives, I’m sure we can all relate to having had a ‘lightbulb’ moment: an amazing idea that comes to us from absolutely nowhere, and provides the perfect solution to a nagging problem. This happens a lot when designing (and why designers drink so much coffee!) and is probably one of the main reasons we have such a wide variety of clientele here at Tinto.

With some people, this initial idea sticks and they may not know how the end project will look, but they have that clear idea in mind and it is up to us to work with the client, advise of the options and to set realistic goals for the project. Having this strong idea from the get-go can really help in the whole process as the customer is sure what they want; they have confidence in it and we can help with the fine-tuning and the finesse.

Looking at Multiple Sources of Inspiration

During the initial concept stage of a design project, many designers (and non-designers alike!) love drawing inspiration from flicking through a new month’s edition of a magazine, or browsing through useful visual apps such as Pinterest. I’m the type of person that gets lost online; looking at one ‘pin’ that then links me to another, then another. As a designer, I love seeing other people’s ideas and work, then thinking of a client and how they could include that element in their kitchen or how that type of flooring would work well with their branding.

Taking Ideas and Making Them our Own

Having multiple sources such as scrapbooks and mood-boards is a great way to bring together all these different ideas in one place. Taking these ideas and then making them your own can create truly innovative and great design. This is what Picasso really meant when he famously said: “good artists copy; great artists steal”.

Ultimately, we are all inspired by different things, our experiences and our loves whatever they might be; from cars, to fashion, to families. Pulling together all these different ideas and combining them with our own creative ideas is surely a great place start in creating successful design.