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How Travel Can Inspire Your Work

 

After a ten-day trip through Scotland, I have come away with a refreshed perspective as both a designer and a business owner. No matter what your business is, travel and adventure always shed new light on our day-to-day chase for success. These are some of the ways my most recent trip has inspired my work:

 

A Fresh Creative Perspective

Design can and should incorporate all of your surroundings. Other designer’s work—whether it’s visual art, architecture, landscape, interior, graphic, modern, traditional, five months old, five centuries old, the natural world, people/culture, anything—is an infinite resource.

Maybe you find inspiration from other graphic designer’s style or how the company chose to incorporate it into everything they did like Drygate Brewing Co.:

Being exposed to an entirely different environment is a sure way to gain inspiration in your creative field. It is important to be intentional, but it’s just as important to relax. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss opportunities. Opportunities for creative inspiration in unsuspecting places (more on that coming in another blog post). But, you can also go too far and pay so much attention to the “inspiration” that you miss the moment. When you’re not in the moment, honest inspiration feels impossible.

To strike this balance seems a lot harder than it sounds, but what’s most important is to stay alert without sacrificing your experience. Just be sure to be intentional and you’ll be fine!

 

You as a Person and a Business Owner

Traveling not only directly inspires the work you produce, but it changes your worldview. This, in turn, changes your business. 

I believe business owners should reevaluate their goals and next steps whenever it’s practical. There’s no better time to do this than after a trip or a vacation. This is especially true when you are returning from some new, fresh experience back to what is familiar. 

Glasgow, for example, shares many similarities to other cities here in the States, but what is more evident from my visit is how many differences there are. The food is fresher wherever you go. The culture is more communal. And they bring their dogs everywhere—even restaurants. I will take it a step further and consider what values or circumstances must shape cultures differently.

For example, searching out local partners (like restaurants using local fresh ingredients, or getting involved your community center for commerce) has always been important to me. Although, it has not always been the easiest choice. My trip has challenged me to consider the internal processes of my business and how they involve valuing the people in my direct community.

(I’m not quite sure how Scotland’s dog culture has affected my business—but if you have a storefront or restaurant you should consider making it “dog-friendly”. A dog-friendly world is a friendly world.) 🙂

Maybe you find inspiration from the natural world, like this leaf pattern which funnily enough looks like a leaf:

 

Time and Distance to Reset

This may be an obvious one, but taking a step back from your business helps you gain a fresh perspective and approach. This new perspective can help you implement new things you may not have considered while you were away. It keeps your business from feeling stale and refreshes it with new momentum. It can just as easily give you a clear head. Be sure to take lots of photos, sketch your thoughts, brainstorm lists on paper or whatever helps you record inspiration when it hits while you’re there (and these don’t have to be masterpieces). When you go home, you have something to help solidify and clarify new conclusions and ideas.

All of these things allow you to create your best work and fight for practices and values that are important to you and your community. In that way, traveling and adventures stop being escapes from work, and help to become the fuel that keeps in running. Somewhere in there is a hope of finding the balance that lets us work how we want to work and live how we want to live.