Inspiring Environs : A Creative Discussion #2 Wrap-up

About a month ago, we posed a query to get the creative community talking, and boy did it work! With the discussion’s second installment we turned a wondering eye towards the places that the creative community turns to fuel their inspirational fires. Where we work, where we go, where ever we find ourselves regularly that feeds that desire to design. Seeing the pivotal role that the environs we are enveloped in play in the creative drive that keeps us all moving, helps us to identify what elements we can use to build more of these havens for our creative mojo massages.


From the discussion that was had, there were ranges of creatives that either had their little nooks carved out in non-creative conducive environments, having once been in a more welcoming creative place, to those who were lucky enough to have large areas of expansive creative feeding space. From either place that we are all coming one thing was clear, these places play a heavy role in the creative process!

Location, Location, Location!

There are many ways that the areas we find ourselves in can work with us, filling a role as a tool of stimulation. There is also a less favorable flipside to that coin that can work against us, filling a role as a broker of creative roadblocks. Generally, with time spent in these surroundings, it can by easily sussed out which of these areas you are in. A stimulating or stifling one. But what are the elements of those areas that actually bestow these qualities upon the place? For surely if we can identify those elements, we can craft our own areas for maximal imagination stimulation. In fact, chances are, that you have been doing this for years whether you are conscience of it or not.

Throughout the discussion that took place, so many common elements began to surface between commenters, pointing to certain creative avenues down which one could venture in search of a more harmonious creative flow for their space. It also arose that these elements found in our environments that move and connect with us, can influence the style in which we work. This was brilliantly stated by Seth Etter with his comment:

I had to think on this one a bit, I never really took into consideration how my location affected my creative process, or my designs. But it most definitely does.

I’m from Wichita, KS, and in contrast to other places I have visited, I like to pride myself in living in a very friendly, relaxed, and overall simple place. Most of the people here are very outgoing and never afraid to start up a good conversation. I think my designs reflect this friendliness in the simplicity that I try to keep in them. I never want to overclutter or even include anything that is not needed. Keeping everything as too the point and user friendly as possible. I guess I should note that my biggest field is web design and usability. So you can see how this would carry over.

So our environment’s role is a dynamic one in terms of providing the right energy flow to stir our creative fires, and below are the common elements that the creative community uses to keep their environs inspiring! By building your space with any of the inclusions from the following list seems like it would be steps in the right direction for capturing that interior ambient harmony.

Add a Bit of Art

One of the items that was mentioned right off the bat, and then several times again after, was the addition of artworks to help bring the creative fires to a full burn. With a bit of inspired work surrounding you, it is sure to pass a bit of that inspiration your way and feed that flow to keep you in your creative mindset.

Since I work from home I get to benefit from my wife’s amazing interior design and artistic skills. She has put together an Ikea version of a mid-century modern living/working space that is adorned with her own artwork. My desk butts up against the window so I have a feeling of the outside coming in. Add the music of my choice blaring on the stereo and I am inspired on multi-sensory levels. Nature, design, art, music and style come together to breathe inspiration into every moment I spend in the workspace. ~ Brian McDaniel

A Touch of Tunes

When planning to put your space together one thing that a lot of people make sure is included, in one way or another, is music. Music, as we have discussed in other posts here on FYC, can be a very inspirational assistant. So making it a point to find a way to pipe the music into the scene can add the creative edge your space may be missing.

…these last 4 months have been very interesting since i have ressurected my old LP collection and my father’s as well. listening to classical, jazz and brazilian popular music has been an awesome fuel to fire up my thoughts and insights.

…Once and then i listen to different music styles, check pics and designs around the web, travel and try to connect with people who have other background from mine. i bought some books on phylosophy and i’m eating out as often as i can afford too.

it takes some transpiration to get a drop of inspiration. ~ Fabio Nogueira

Keep Nature Near

Another powerful element that seems to keep people inspired, is mother nature herself, with all her glory and splendor. So finding a way to keep yourself immersed in the natural beauty of the world around us can prove beneficial for the creative process. From adding images of nature to getting out into that environment and bringing some of it back with you, this natural tool can improve the space you need to feed your inspiration.

Environment is very important in my creative process. When I lived in Nashville, I loved going out to the hill country and hiking among the waterfalls to clear my mind and get inspiration. So many things about that area are beautiful. Great inspiration for me.

I don’t live in Nashville anymore, but I try to surround myself with nature’s beauty as much as I can. I also surround myself with visuals and posters in my office, and I keep my office neat and organized. That really helps too. ~ Angela

Keep it Colorful

Something that was brought up a few times was how the very presence of vibrant colors seemed to drive some towards the mindset to get creative. The flipside of that was also discussed. How areas that are drab and dull, lacking in color, also tend to be lacking in inspiration as well. So as you craft your perfect creative environ, be sure that you keep it colorful.

Our studio itself is floor to ceiling painted with really rich colors – dark reds, tans, deep oranges. The other designers and I each have our own space – usually filled with whatever music each designer listens to. We even have a company pool table in the front area of our office for lunch-time matches to help us relax and refocus.

We’re small too, so we know each other really well. It’s almost a tight-knit family – and the studio reflects that. It’s a smaller cozy space with couches etc for meetings instead of standard board rooms. Its a great place to work – professional but extremely inspiring.
~ Will D. White

Outfit it with Outlets

One important thing to remember to include when you setup your space is the ever needed outlet. We are not talking about electrical outlets, though to be sure they most certainly have their place too. No. We are talking creative outlets. Means to unwind in your area are perfect for providing you with a bit of an often needed mental reset. Make sure that you outfit your area with outlets to ensure your flow keeps a steady roll.

…I have decorated my walls and cabinets with my travel photos and have a large ‘project’ white board that often becomes my canvas to draw and color when I need to and I keep all kinds of markers and pencils around to doodle. I still take walks, no park to swing in though-only interstate traffic to wonder where they are going. ~ Jane Huber

Creative Comforts

We all have our little creature comforts that we crave, and creatives are no different. In order for the creative juices to not be stifled, we need to maintain a certain level of comfort. The space in which we do our creative works should be plush and inviting, or else it will not aid our process, but act instead to impede it.

I’ve found that my environment really does effect my creative process. Being able to have a bit of breathing room, proper lighting, and feeling comfortable are all very important. I also like to be surrounded by inspiration on some level, or at least have it be accessible. For the last few years I’ve been working in a department along side programmers, as a designer that was an interesting experience in adapting and making my environment workable, and although I miss the people since transitioning to freelance, I don’t miss the environment. ~ Roberto Blake

Let There Be Light

While the Emo kid inside us all may cry out for the dark to hide our tears and match our inner voids, the more imaginative side within us cries out for the light (granted that statement may not apply to all, but to some it might). The environment that we build for ourselves needs to be brightly lit to maximize the space and shine light on the other elements that we have included in the setup. Because what is the point of putting the rest of it together if it is not going to be able to be seen?

…For me, an environment that fuels my creative process has:
1. LOTS of light: I’ve worked in dark offices. It doesn’t work for me. Thank GOD I still have a MacBookPro with matte screen — the glare isn’t bad. (I’m waiting for matte to come back before I upgrade)
2. Awesome music: Ambient, acid jazz, etc. gets me in the zone (SIA is on right now!)!
3. Clutter free zone: I’m not a total neat freak, but I can’t get in the zone unless my desk is clean. ~ Lisa

That is all

That is a wrap…up. A creative discussion wrap-up to be exact. We know that not every element suggested will work for everyone, but we found some common ground among the conversation participants and we thought we would pass it along. Speaking of all those who partook in this month’s discussion, we thank you. In keeping with the what we mentioned early on to Will, we wanted to get people to show us pictures of their creative spaces. Where you work, where you go, where ever you have access to that fuels your creativity. Below is a favorite hiking space for a couple of our Fuel team, that always inspires.

Now show us yours…you know what we mean…

Rob is the talented author and graphic designer, celebrated podcaster and poet, who is now the co-editor and imaginative co-contributor of Fuel Your Creativity. With a background working through most areas of the arts, Rob works from a creative wellspring that shows no signs of running dry.


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