In this fabulous moment of indulgent coronation-celebration reminiscing, I’ve understandably been pondering the past. Learning from our past and taking inspiration from it is great for personal, work and creative life. Emotional, financial and design decisions all take influence from past experiences of our own and those of others. Semantics aside, whether ‘inspired by’, ‘influenced by’, ‘imitated’ or simply ‘copied’, ideas and thought processes are recreated by all of us everyday. It could be a moral value that comes from parental or social influence, it could be a business decision found in a millionaire’s autobiography or it could be a label design bursting with homage to Great British regalia (so beyond ‘on trend’ right now …)
On the opposing side, when we’re looking to the future, can we have original thought or are we always influenced, no matter how hard we try not to be, by our past? Well I lean toward a Roland Barthes (ish) theory; interpreted into my own brain-dump: There is no such thing as an original idea, but when collated these unoriginal ideas can become brand spanking new combinations, and therefore, in a manner, become original.
That’s why when I find a few moments away from work, I like to truly ‘experience’ that moment and look around at whatever is there. This may sound trite but what I mean is, even when you’re sitting on a smelly, soggy train or stuck watching a film with too many advert breaks, read that newspaper (all the way through – even the boring sport bits) and watch the adverts (all the way through – even the boring mis-sold PPI bits), because every day I am surprised and influenced (in varying degrees) by at least one idea; be it a view point, a new fact or a new look & feel. So when I feel I’m lounging around, feeling lazy I can naturally just tell myself that I am educating and inspiring myself, and that’s the story I’m sticking to!