Influence: A Semi-Interactive Article


It is important for a designer to think outside the box and explore new ways to solve problems. Designers follow established rules influenced by trends and functionality to determine a solution. Although these rules typically carry a visual standard, no two designers are the same. Each one possesses a unique aesthetic and process specific to themselves. The creative process is a skill and a talent that can be quite subjective, resulting from many different things. Creativity is fueled by inspiration, but methods of execution come from personal sources of influence.

This article explores what sort of things might influence a person’s creativity, their process and how they carry out their work.

What are some things that influence you? Where do these influences come from? How do they have an effect on you and the work you produce? Just a heads up, this is not your typical article. You will be asked to participate in a few activities, but these activities are meant to guide you to answer these questions for yourself.

ENVIRONMENT, EXPERIENCE, AND CULTURE

Many times our actions are influenced by past events and experiences. Think of a moment where you encountered a situation that resembled an experience you had before. Did it push you to make a choice that was similar or familiar to the choice you made before? Or perhaps, it compelled you to make the opposite decision. Sometimes its culture that influences how we carry ourselves; rules and normality generated from the approval of others.

Now think back to the two mazes. Did you complete both mazes? Were they difficult? Did you get stuck at some point? More importantly, where did you start the maze?

The starting point and finish line was intentionally left out of the instructions. The point of this activity wasn’t to find your way out, but to think about where you started and why you chose to start there. Did you begin the first maze from the LEFT or the RIGHT side? For the second, did you go from TOP to BOTTOM or BOTTOM to TOP? Most likely you started from the LEFT and started from the TOP, and perhaps this is a result of our western culture and reading patterns. People outside of this culture might have approached the mazes differently. Some cultures read from right to left and even vertically. Isn’t it interesting how these cultural patterns translate into mediums other than words. In what other way might these patterns have an effect on you (and your work)?

MEDIA

Designers are visual communicators. Whether through logos, mockups, or even layouts, we bring thoughts to life; communicating ideas that cannot be expressed verbally. Media is defined as the means of communication brought to the masses. Now think about how you digest media. Where does our information come from? Things we see online, hear on the news, from a friend, leave an impression on us. Even the songs you listen to or weird articles with strange activities can have an affect on you, whether that information is accurate or not.