Good designers need to continually search out places which will encourage the percolation of new ideas.
Do you ever look at a brief and think 'i don't know what to do'?
If you find yourself churning out one design after another with no other visual stimuli than your computer screen and office walls then it's time to get out there.
Of course design is everywhere. In the 21st century we are saturated by images. They whirl towards us in a storm of images as we walk down the street, stand at the bus stop, contemplate whether it's a normal latte, a skinny latte or a frothy caramel topped seasonal cappuccino day.
You don't even need to leave the house to find them as they pour through our letter boxes, shout at us from our zillions of tv channels or swoosh down our broadband connections.
The advantage of this immersion by image in our culture is that we are getting better and better at thinking visually. Practising mental visual gymnastics everyday by looking, seeing, and thinking means our responses to signs and advertisements and promotions is getting faster. So the designer can in turn develop their own ideas to create work which is more subtle, more thoughtful and more interesting as they know that there ideas will be met by an audience with a strong visual insight.
However there is also the danger of a complete visual shut down. Image fatigue.
It is a battle in this climate to create new innovative work which will stand out in all the good and the bad.
Vivienne Westwood's methods are an inspiration to me as her work is kept fresh and provocative because she feeds her mind with art - cycling around london visiting art galleries and museums finding influence from pictures in the National art library and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
As designers we can't stand still expecting our inspiration to rest solely on what passes infront of our eyes on the way to and back from work, taking whatever happens to fall into our laps.
We need to work at finding new and interesting sources for inspiration to keep our work fresh and innovative; to think about new ways of cutting through the visual clutter that surrounds us.