Traveling is not only a great way to reset and refresh, it’s also a time to challenge our perspective and gather some major creative inspiration.
Whether you travel across the city or across the globe, you don’t need to go very far to reap the benefits of exploring somewhere new. Read on to check out a few places that have been particularly inspiring and instrumental to the work of designers.
1. Bali, Indonesia
I travel to Bali, Indonesia every year to resource and reset. I spend most of my time here working on self-care: healthy eating, morning yoga, evening surf, and early nights. By removing clutter from my headspace, I can focus on the small details around me like the awe-inspiring color palette of the jungle, the smell of incense burning on every corner, the sounds of the Balinese chants and ceremonies, and the list goes on. I find this kind of slow living brings me much-needed clarity so that I can jump into work with a fresh mind.
2. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California is a place I draw a lot of my inspiration from. I love how the city encourages its retro past, thrives on mid-century design and architecture, and I adore the beautiful desert scenery that lives all around. I’m inspired by the rich and vibrant colors splashed throughout the city, the playful textile designs, and the eccentric décor that lives here. From the bubble gum pink doors to the storefronts styled with modern furniture, I love studying the little unique details and it motivates me to design something around it.
3. On the road
I split my time as an Art Director and as a touring musician, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a big chunk of the world on the road. I’m often working while on tour and it’s amazing to wake up in an inspiring new place every day. I’ve started to use travel as a big part of my process. There’s so much interesting signage, art, and culture tucked away in every city in the world, and I try and pull inspiration from whatever’s around me at all times. Whether it’s a street sign in Copenhagen that helps me solve a problem in current work or a museum in Fort Worth that inspires an entirely new piece, I almost always credit my travels as a source of inspiration.
4. Edinburgh, Scotland
Recently, I was in Edinburgh over New Years, and the crisp air coupled with the grunge nature of the architecture in the city took my breath away. It made me take a step back and appreciate the beautiful harshness of the city. This ended up affecting my work subtly where I now try to showcase the roughness of my art style and the grunge of my texture choices. I took what I felt in that city and want people to feel that way when they experience my work. Few things should ever be perfect. That takes the fun away.
5. Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston, Jamaica, my hometown, is where a lot of my design inspiration comes from. Each of my trips here is as inspiring as the last. It’s not because of great design, but rather the lack of it. From driving on the potholed covered roads to topping up credit on your cellphone, design that doesn’t take the human experience into account is everywhere. It’s these experiences that remind me of what the everyday frustrations can be when things aren’t designed well and how important it is to create good work.
6. South Africa, India, and the Galapagos Islands
Last year, I went traveling for ten months, visiting some amazing places including South Africa, India, and the Galapagos Islands. Above everything else, what I gained from the experience was a renewed appreciation for the natural world and our place within it. Since returning, I’ve tried to do as much creative work as possible for conservation charities, and have started work on more self-initiated projects relating to conservation, including a data visualization mapping a century of extinction. I think design can be a powerful tool to help people reconnect with nature, and understand complex issues like climate change.
7. New York City, New York
NYC, January 2019. Interestingly, I was able to stay at a boutique hotel which would later become a rebrand client. Traveling solo always presents a slightly different perspective. Being married with three children can make solitude pretty scarce. NYC is a place where you can be surrounded by thousands of people and yet feel completely alone. For the first time, I was able to visit several of the restaurants we have branded. Living in a smaller market, it’s easy to fall into small thinking. Through this trip, I was reminded that the work we’re doing really matters and that there is so much more work to be done.
8. Bristol, United Kingdom
Bristol has that exciting energy that I always look for wherever I travel. I visited there long before I started working as an illustrator, but I keep looking back on that place and find that it still inspires me to this day. The city has an amazing art scene and I have hundreds of pictures of every little thing that I thought was cool! I felt playful and liberated in Bristol, so now I try to convey that in my illustrations as much as I can.
9. A trip around the globe
My first trip around the world (nine countries, four continents, six months) humbled me. I became more aware and empathetic as I observed and listened more. I gained confidence in exploring, creating, and learning and I now bring this open-mindedness into my work. I listen to my clients’ business and user needs more carefully. I changed how I work and create because I ask so many more questions, play, and explore more. The trip opened up many possibilities in my design work.
Who’s ready to explore somewhere new? For even more travel inspiration, check out 10 inspiring cities for designers, Top 7 cities for freelance design nomads, and 8 great places to live as a designer.