A couple weeks ago I was meeting with a friend of mine (who has a growing photography business) to talk about doing some design work for her. She was showing me some stuff that she likes, which helped give me an idea of what she likes, her style sense, and the kinds of things she takes in as visual inspiration. Clearly, this isn't about taking these things and duplicating them exactly but rather filtering them all through and taking them as an inspiration to take off from. She shared with me how a lot of times people will bring with them pictures they have found and say "I want this," and she was curious as to how I deal with that kind of a request. I thought this spurred an interesting conversation on "Originality."
We all want to be the first, the trend setter, the trail blazer, and I think we can be, but I also think that whether directly or indirectly we are inspired by everything around us. Taking things in all the time, even when we may be unaware of it. So, when it comes to people seeking out inspiration for a project I don't think it makes them any less creative. The creativity comes in re-interpretation. So, if someone was to come to me and say I want this exact thing duplicated, my job as a creative problem solver isn't to march of and do it. My job is to "listen" to what they are really saying and ask the "right" questions, to figure out what it is they really want. For example someone brings you an image with a lot of polka-dots and says, "I want this." Instead of giving them exactly that, maybe what their saying is that they want a youthful or playful look or they want to incorporate a lot of color. Dig deeper and find the creativity to re-interpret.
As creatives maybe there are those ideas that come out of thin air, but honestly I think it all stems from something. An inventory of you life (the things you've seen, heard, touched, smelled, and tasted) being pulled from whether conscious or not.
So, here is a commercial for the Samsung 3D LED TV that I absolutely love and continue to watch over and over. When I saw this for the first time I immediately thought of all those 3D chalk drawing I've seen posted on the web over the year. Makes me wonder how direct the reference was supposed to be or really is. When I see these kinds of great commercials I just wish I could have been in all those meetings from inception to completion to hear the train of thought these people had.