The Dual Edge of Inspiration

Red Collar
2 min readMar 13, 2024

Have you ever noticed how the notion of “inspiration” has developed a bit of a bad rep among designers? It was once regarded as a natural and essential part of creative work. But nowadays, inspiration is seen as something for slackers and outsiders in the profession. Furthermore, those who sit around waiting for it are often viewed as incapable of delivering on deadlines.

Mikhail Boldyrev, Art Director

I’ve been guilty of looking down on inspiration myself, championing systematic approaches that don’t rely on the whims of the muse. And I plan to keep critiquing it.

However, here’s an epiphany I’ve had:

First off, who decided that systematic approaches and inspiration are at odds? In reality, inspiration is just another tool, albeit a more fickle one. The key lies in each person finding their own way to set the stage for inspiration. It’s about tuning the most vital tool at a designer’s disposal — themselves. By paying close attention to oneself, it’s possible to pinpoint the conditions under which your brain comes up with its best ideas and then aim to replicate those conditions.

Secondly, no matter how you organize your knowledge or integrate the latest and greatest methodologies into your flow, the most amazing ideas often arrive out of the blue, from seemingly nowhere. Thus, inspiration is likely to find you, even if you’ve been avoiding it.

Inspiration shares qualities with intuition, in the sense that the right solution (right in the sense of being true to your belief) often arrives spontaneously. Intuition is typically seen as a trait that accumulates with experience. I think inspiration works similarly, drawing from a pool of experience, and will deliver ideas of a quality to which you’ve conditioned yourself through various methods.

by Mikhail Boldyrev

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