It can be a difficult task to create or complete something when you don’t have the right tools to do so. How does a painter paint with no paintbrush? Of course there is a multitude of ways, but there are normally only a few which turn out to be the most effective. Imagine trying to fly a plane without any gauges or sensors telling you which way to go or whether you’re flying too high. This can lead to unfortunate consequences or at the very least, a ton of frustration and an end result that is less than desirable.
The first tool that every design professional should have in their arsenal is a wide array of inspirational references. This includes fashion, art, design, and technology magazines; articles about design innovations, photographs of people, places, or things that have interesting backstories – or those that you can create a backstory for! Save a variety of pieces from all over, you never know when something may spark a new idea where it didn’t before.
Sometimes in order to get your point across it needs to be shown in a way that is visual rather than verbal. Design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop is a quick and easy way to draw out a design or ‘roomscape’ to show a client or even just to include as part of your design board. If you aren’t so technologically advanced, or happen to be a better hand sketcher, then make sure to have a drawing kit with pencils, erasers, rulers, etc. on hand. It may even benefit to keep both in your tool kit for situations when one may work better than the other.
Always keep a camera or your phone on you! Being able to instantly snap and capture inspiration on the daily is an invaluable resource for when you are in the studio or at your workbench later on. Remember, anything can be used to inspire, so be ready and waiting to seize the moment as it passes by you! Along with images of your influences, swatches of color and different types of fabrics are a great resource to keep stashed away in your workspace. Seeing and knowing how different colors and textures work for and against each other can really open your eyes to new design possibilities and innovations. Having a physical representation of color, pattern, or texture benefits the big picture and aids in your conceptualization.
Lastly, motivation is one of your most important design tools! Without motivation, where will you get the drive to create new things? Without motivation, how will you take your design to the next level? Motivation has a distinct meaning to each and every person, and how you use it – along with all four of the other tools – will determine the success of you and your design.