As a designer, it’s easy to fall trap to approaching a project with limited imagination — after all, there are deadlines. And budgets. And project briefs. And account managers. And developers. And that little thing we like to call a statement of work. All of which tell us, “no” or “not like that” as we lay a pencil to paper.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for the design student to enter the world of agency design and realize that their creativity is quite capped. At RSR, we always stress that the tension between project restraints and ideation produces a better outcome. And it does. But at the end of the day, it can still be difficult to be creative when presented with a strict brief, budget and timeline.

For this reason, our creative team is regularly found at galleries, museums or creative talks to fuel our fresh perspectives. The most recent talk at CreativeMornings NYC, featured Stephen Doyle, Creative Director at Doyle Partners. A terrific speaker, his message was clear: Creativity inspires.

His talk on Magic & Nonsense focused on his work, which he considers the most creative — the non-client work he does in his spare time. These projects showed more uniqueness and creativity because he had no constraints. However, he shared where the magic happened: once clients saw the true creative work, they were also inspired. And in turn, often ask to apply similar concepts to their own work.

An example of this was when a Bronx school was inspired by a certain personal project of Stephen’s. The resulting campaign was an installation project in the school, where type treatments were displayed through the school. From various angles, the work appeared disjointed and confusing, one might even think ugly. However, when one stood in a very specific angle, the shapes came together and became powerful words like ‘Gratitude’, ‘Curiosity’ or ‘Grit”.

Throughout the entire school, in the fronts of buildings and in gyms, these words appeared to students, providing them a fresh and sudden insight out of nowhere. The idea was to instill in students that out of failure comes success, just as the art appeared a failure until a specific moment, that success comes from trial and error and taking chances rather than from a specific school one attends or family one comes from.

The impact was astounding.

Through his talk I realized something we tend to forget. As much as we as designers search out inspiration, it is just as critical for our clients to get inspired as well.

Inspiration fuels fresh perspectives for everyone, not just designers. It’s our job as designers to inspire our clients.

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