Free Vector Check Marks

Something which we use everyday but don’t necessarily have to hand. The multi-pack consists of various cross, ticks, check marks, bullet points and crosses. There are two separate file types: Illustrator CS3 and PDF.

arrows

Use them in whichever way you like on any work.

Download Illustrator CS3 File | Download PDF

I interview Elliot Jay Stocks

I’ve been reading Elliot’s blog for around 1 1/2 years now and have always been intrigued by his progression through the industry. He’s been moving fast, now freelance and speaking at conferences around the world I thought he’d be a hard man to catch. Elliot is one of the nicest guys you could ever talk to, he’s one of those down to earth guys that you’ve always got time for. He took time out of his busy schedule to speak to me.

1. Full Name and Age please. 🙂

Elliot Jay Stocks, 27

2. Favourite Biscuit and Drink.

Biscuit: Those Digestive-like Hovis ones, with a spot of cheese.

Drink: A variety of Belgian beers; probably Grimbergen Dubbel.

3. Last Book you read and last movie you saw.

Last book: The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. Last movie: Iron Man

4. Where and When did it all start?

I started drawing from a very young age and I drew all the time. At school I was often asked by the teachers to illustrate things like concert programmes, pamphlets that were given out on school open nights; that kind of thing. Illustration was very much the centre of my life. Near the end of my time at school, I became art editor of a new school magazine and also started to experiment with computers, using a crude version of what would become Photoshop Elements. I was pretty late getting into computers, really; in fact I was pretty much a technophobe until this point, which was about 1999 / 2000!

In terms of getting into web design, it wasn’t until I was in my last year of school and working part-time in a Virgin Megastore (in Bromley, Kent). A few of us (the staff members) played in bands and so we decided to release a CD of our music, convincing our managers to sell it in-store. I handled the operation with a couple of other guys, but it ended up with me being responsible for the album art, the point- of-sale material, and the website. This was my first taste of web design and I was using a online consumer-level web-building package called Homestead. I created the site for our little record label and my own band’s site, and it all went from there.

It wasn’t long before I realised the limitations of Homestead and got a cracked copy of Dreamweaver. To be honest, though, HTML scared me and I focused all of my efforts on Flash. I started building Flash sites at uni and ended up creating the site for our degree show in 2004. By that point I’d built up a small portfolio full of sites for my friends’ bands, so when I graduated in May that year, I had a music- heavy portfolio that landed me the job of Junior Web designer at EMI Records. And that, I guess, was when my career ‘officially’ started.

5. Is there anyone in the industry who you look up to?

There are so many people I look up to, and it changes all the time. In general I’m a fan of anyone who does great work and tries to do something even vaguely original. My favourite web designer is Miguel Ripoll, who’s also a friend of mine: he has such a distinct style but his work isn’t like anyone else’s. He’s also extremely hard to emulate because he’s just so good. I could name a bunch of other people but it’ll just sound like a shout-out to my friends. It’s strange because a couple of years ago I was a total fan-boy when it came to speaking to ‘big name’ designers; now I find they’re my friends! But I still get nervous when speaking to some of my idols, even when I know them quite well.

6. What was a key factor in your professional growth and development?

Ooh, good question! Getting my first proper job (at EMI) was a big thing for me in many ways, but mainly because it allowed me to quickly build up a portfolio full of famous musical artists. I’ll always be extremely grateful of that fact.

When I left EMI after two years and went to Sanctuary Records, I worked on lower-profile sites but really got to hone my skills in XHTML and CSS; it was around that time that I really started to stop using Flash. The environment at Sanctuary was extremely relaxed compared to EMI, so it also allowed me to really take my time over things and invest a lot of that time into learning.

Near the end of my time at Sanctuary, in April 2007, I released the first ‘proper’ version of my personal site and it got featured on quite a few gallery sites. The visits to my site rocketed (from around 2 uniques a day to around 2,000) and it was just a snowball effect.

When Ryan got in touch and asked me if I wanted to work for Carsonified (then called Carson Systems), I was extremely chuffed, and this was another big step. My public profile was already growing, but the association with Carsonified help raise it even more. At around the same time I started writing for .Net magazine, and shortly after that I started speaking publicly.

In short, every change of job has been a key factor, although the biggest change really happened around mid 2007, when my work started to become ‘known’. When I left Carsonified in April this year to start my own business, that was a huge step, too. I think that ‘going solo’ helped solidify my own identity as an individual rather than simply being part of a company.

7. Where does your heart lie, with design, speaking engagements or even writing books? If you were paid for all? And why.

I love writing and I love doing speaking engagements, but my heart totally lies with design, and art in general. Like I said before, I come more from an illustration background than a design one (which is ironic, considering how little illustration work I do these days). If I ever started to write or speak more than I designed, I would consider myself a fake, because how can you be an authority on a subject when it’s not your main focus? I write about design and I speak about design, therefore I should always be designing.

8. Out of these 3, WordPress, Light CMS and Expression Engine, which do you like the most and why?

I probably don’t have the knowledge to answer this one with any real insight. I’ve heard great things about Expression Engine but have never used it. I’ve heard relatively good things about Light CMS, although from what I understand, it’s very basic. My CMS of choice is absolutely WordPress. I keep meaning to get into EE but I kind of like being able to see the PHP I’m dealing with. I actually know very little PHP, but I feel like I have more control if I can see it; I’m wary of the way EE hides it away outside of the template files. But I’m open to suggestion: if EE – or any CMS for that matter – can replicate the exact functionality I have in WordPress but in an easier way, or can expand upon that functionality – then I’m game.

9. What was it like working for Carsonified?

Great people, fun times, lots of travelling, some interesting challenges, and lots of exposure. Also, at times, very hard work!

10. What was the biggest project you worked on whilst working there?

The rebranding of Carson Systems to Carsonified was probably the biggest project. It also fed into the rebranding and redesigning of all the other sites, so it was kind of an ongoing process. Mike’s carried that forward in a new direction, and I really like what he’s done, especially with the new events sites.

11. What made you go freelance, were there any defining factors?

Without any offence intended for any of the companies I’ve worked at, when you’re an employee, you’re working towards the goals of your employer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to work towards my own goals. I wanted the freedom to take on a variety of projects outside the standard job description of a ‘designer’, work from anywhere in the world, have control over my own timetable and workload, and work fewer hours. I wrote about working fewer hours quite recently: why being freelance does not mean you have to work more hours.

12. Throughout your entire career to date, is there any particular problem you’ve ran in to more than once? Clients, Jobs, Work, Family?

These are some very demanding questions, Gavin!   🙂

There’s always been a problem with balancing work time with home time, but I’m getting better at that and I can safely say that I have a better work- life balance now that I’m my own boss.

One problem I’ve consistently come up against since I started my career is that I’m never 100% happy with what I put out. That’s not me being a perfectionist; I just find that at the last moment in a project, some of the subtle niceties are lost and you don”t get to add that extra bit of TLC you were planning on. Often this is caused by tight deadlines, but also I’ve found that last-minute client changes or code bastardisation thanks to dodgy CMSs can knock your 100% good project down to 99% good. I’m not sure I have an answer to this dilemma, but I hope I find it eventually!

13. What do you consider to be the biggest contributing factor to your success?

Well that’s very kind of you to think that I’m successful! There are two factors that I see have helped me out a lot: firstly, exposure. By that I mean it helps immensely that you can find me all over the web, in magazines, etc. Some of that exposure has occurred because of the high-profile companies I’ve worked for; but most of it has occurred because I’ve got myself out there, calling up magazines, asking to speak at events, submitting my sites to endless galleries, etc. The second factor is client base. As I said before, I’m extremely grateful that my first job let me fill my portfolio with big-name musicians.

Ever since then I’ve worked with other big-name clients, whether it be more in the music industry or well-respected web-centric companies like WordPress and Blue Flavor.

14. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think what I find most inspiring is the beauty of the natural world, as poncey as that sounds. I love the countryside, I love trees, and a beautiful landscape will never cease to amaze me. That said, I’m not sure that that’s the inspiration that ends up in most of my work. My favourite artist is Alfons Mucha from the Art Nouveau movement, but again, I’m not sure if his influence shows itself that much in my designs. I love comic books – particularly Mike Mignola’s stuff and the anime-tastic illustrations of Joe Madureira – and I hope that occasionally shows through.

Ironically I think it’s my influences from my early years of design that are still evident. Dave McKean was one of my favourite contemporary artists, although I think so many young artists and designers have been influenced by him that it’s almost pointless to say so. Also, the artwork for Nine Inch Nails’ CD releases around 1996 – 2000 were a profound influence on me (particularly the early work of Rob Sheridan and the textural stuff by Russel Mills); in fact they got me into computer-based artwork. The very first website I saw and loved was the old Juxt Interactive Flash site. I think some of that still comes through in my own style, and also probably explains why I love Miguel’s stuff so much.

15. As we all know you’re a mac man, what are your 3 favourite apps?

That’s a tough one! I don’t think there’s any way I can narrow it down to three. Besides the designer’s staple diet of Adobe Creative Suite apps, my must-have three would be TextMate (for web development), Linotype Font Explorer X (for font management), and Things (for task management). But I’d like to cheat and also recommend three unsung heroes of OSX: Scrivener (for long-form writing of books, articles, etc.), ExpanDrive (for Finder-based SFTP), and Photonic (for Flickr). I’m also really excited about three apps still in alpha: LittleSnapper (for screenshot inspiration management), Espresso (for web development), and a font management tool that I can’t remember, but which looks very cool indeed!

16. What are the benefits and negatives of being freelance?

This question deserves an article in itself! I’ll have to be brief.

Benefits: being your own boss, choosing what work to take on or turn down, working from home, rearranging your work schedule to suit your personal life and not the other way around, claiming back anything and everything as expenses, working on personal projects during ‘work’ hours, and generally earning more money. Negatives: having to be very strict with yourself and your schedule, dealing with lots of paperwork, bearing the sole responsibility for everything, managing outsourced help, and not having a guaranteed income. But give me the negatives any day: the benefits are worth it! For instance, I’ve decided to take December off to work on some new music – I’d never be able to do that if I had a regular job.

17. How do you balance your time between your designing, writing and speaking?

At the moment, because I’m writing a book, I’ve had to be very strict about scheduling writing time. When I was in full-time employment, I always had to do my article-writing (for .Net magazine) on the side, but as soon as I went freelance I had the freedom of being able to do that in ‘work’ time. Being freelance also allows me to do things like take a week out of my schedule to go and speak in another country (which I did a couple of weeks ago). Unfortunately, because speaking gigs invariably involve travel and the preparation of speeches, they can take up a lot of time. But this can all still be counted as ‘work’, especially as some are paid. And expenses are always covered, so I try and treat all speaking gigs like free mini-holidays! I’ll nearly always end up writing my presentations a few evenings before performing them, but I don’t mind putting in a few extra hours here and there. Designing / writing / speaking has yet to rear any real scheduling problems.

18. Where do you see the future being?

For me or for the industry?

In the not-too-distant future I’d like to spend a little more time focusing on personal projects. I have a few waiting in the wings that require some attention, such as a new album, a second book idea, and some printed schwag I intend to sell. At some point I’d love to write / illustrate / design / publish my own comic book.

As for the industry: I’m excited about the future of typography on the web, although the painfully slow adoption of new standards will probably still mean years of browser hacks yet.

19. You’re a well known designer, do you class yourself as famous?

I’d probably sound like an arrogant bastard if I referred to myself as ‘famous’, and although I appear to be relatively well known in the web design industry, I’m not getting invited to red-carpet movie premieres just yet!  😉  I’ve been recognised on the street before (and I freely admit that I love it when that happens) but it’s hardly fame. I’m just flattered, really. There is actually some unpleasantness associated with being well known (more people are there to watch you slip up or send you nasty emails), so I’m not sure I’d want to become that much ‘bigger’ anyway.

However, for work purposes, having a high profile in the industry is great. Since going freelance in April, I haven’t once had to look for new work! Let’s hope that continues…

20. Are you heading to any conferences over the next year?

Definitely. I always have so much fun at conferences, often because they’re the only chances we get to meet so many of our web-based friends in the flesh. I’m delivering one of the keynote speeches at Oxford Geek Night X in January, speaking – and teaching a workshop – at Web Directions North in Colorado in February, appearing as part of a panel at SXSW in March, and speaking at Twiist.be in Belgium in May.

I’m not sure what’s happening in the second half of the year yet, but I’ll definitely be attending dConstruct, which was my favourite event of this year.

21. If you had one goal to reach (anything) within 3 years, what would it be?

Top the achievements of the last three years!

22. If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to venture in to the your industry, what would it be?

Work ‘for the man’ before going freelance. The amount of experience and the ease with which you can build your portfolio is far superior for a first-time designer. I actually wrote about this recently: http://elliotjaystocks.com/blog/archive/2008/build-your-profile-to-get-more-freelance-work/

A massive thanks to Elliot for taking part in the interview. Look forward to chatting again in the future.

Elliot’s Blog: www.elliotjaystocks.com

Elliot’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/elliotjaystocks

The interview was originally posted at floobe.com on 24th November 2008.

Getting it all under one roof

I’ve been running various blogs over the past 2 years and have now decided to merge two of them. One being this one (gavinelliott.co.uk) and the other being floobe.com. I had great thoughts about floobe.com when originally starting out, but lack of time and even less effort hindered it’s progress.

The high hopes were hindered by lack of effort and the lack of effort was down to having too many places to blog when all I wanted to do was produce awesome content. I’m certainly not shy of hard work and writing content, years ago between 2000 and 2003 I wrote regularly at nvmax.com as the Gaming Editor. Our competitors back then were neowin, nvnews and guru3d. All three were very big websites and we had a plan to progress hard and fast through the ranks of which we were already pretty high.

I’ve been wanting to progress my writing in many ways so finding ways to move on and add better content was key over the past couple of weeks. Making the big decision to port the content from floobe.com to here was a big decision I must admit but one which I feel I have to do.

So in future you’ll be getting the same kind of awesome content as you saw on Friday with the 30 Designers, 1 Question post as the follow up post is already in progress.

I interview Adii from Woothemes

This is one of the first posts to be ported over from Floobe.com, I’ll be posting shortly about the reasons I’m moving everything to here so keep an eye out. The original post went live on the 15th December 2008, I’m looking forward to doing a follow up interview with Adii in the future.

Hey Adii thanks ever so much for taking the time out for this!

1. Full Name and Age please.

Adriaan Pienaar, 24.

2. Favourite Biscuit and Drink.

Shortbread biscuits & Cream Soda.

3. Last Book you read and last movie you saw.

Getting Real by 37Signals & last movie I saw (on the big screen anyway) was Eagle Eye.

4. Where and when did your career start?

I started freelancing at the start of 2007 and basically worked out of my 1 bedroom apartment whilst still studying.

5. Is there anyone in the industry who you look up to?

Yup – and there’s too many to mention… 🙂 From a business perspective, I really like the way Ryan Carson & Jason Calacanis run their respective businesses and how they’ve almost established a new way of running one’s business. It’s really their progressive ideas that have turned them into amazing role models in the online, business world. And from a design perspective, I really love Jason Santa Maria’s work – the guys is an absolute genius!

6. What was a key factor in your professional growth and development?

I think my own ambitious attitude is the major driving force in this regard, as I’m always looking to improve myself and my skills. I would not have been where I am today without challenging myself on a daily basis and continuously try new ways of doing daily tasks.

7. Where does your heart lie, with woothemes, your blog or radiiate and why?

Neither of them specifically. My heart lies there where I’m being challenged and at the moment the challenge is maintaining 3 established web properties, whilst also sustaining their respective growth. I see all 3 of these properties as part of my online presence and thus invest an equal amount of energy in each.

8. Out of these 3, WordPress, Light CMS and Expression Engine, which do you like the most and why?

It’s gotta be WordPress, simply because I’ve built my reputation and my business around it. I love the ease of use thereof, whilst the increasing ability to use it as a fully-fledged CMS excites me immensely. That said however, I also look forward to expanding my skills to EE once they release version 2.0 early next year.

9. Do you see WooThemes as work or just a way of life?

It’s probably more a way of life at this stage, because working on WooThemes has become part of my daily routine. That said, it most definitely feels like a job at times; especially when I have to spend hours on yet doing e-mail and other nasty admin stuff.

10. What is the biggest project you’ve worked on so far?

Probably the design & development for Fairlady Magazine. It’s got to be the most complex WP site I have ever developed…

11. Throughout your entire career to date, is there any particular problem you’ve ran in to more than once? Clients, Jobs, Work, Family?

I think there’s a recurring theme in every problem: a dodgy client… 🙂 Some clients don’t pay, pretend that they know everything and delay the project for weeks on end, because they couldn’t care about your schedule… But that’s just the standard problems that web professionals deal with on a daily basis, right?

12. What do you consider to be the biggest contributing factor to your success?

Hard work and not being afraid of trying new things.

13. Where do you get your inspiration from and where do feel most inspirational?

Anywhere & every where… I get ideas at the most random of times in the most random places! 🙂

14. What are your 3 favourite apps?

Currently: Things, 1Password & Versions App. All on Mac obviously…

15. Premium themes are exceptionally good, do you think that type of work will become over populated and the profit will disappear?

Maybe. I think many designers (especially) would never get involved with template work, as they feel it devalues their creativity and reputation. But more and more designers / developers will get involved and I believe that instead of decreasing the profit, the increased supply will simply increase the size of the market.

16. How do you balance your time between family, radiate, WooThemes and your blog?

Chaos Management. 🙂 Nah, I think it’s all about having priorities, re-evaluating them on a daily basis and making sure that you go to bed at the end of the day feeling happy about how you spent your time during the day. I can’t go to bed if I feel that I haven’t done enough work or spent enough time with my fiance for example – so it’s all about deciding what you want to get out of the day.

17. Where do you see the future being?

Dunno. Things move to fast for me to even attempt at planning too far ahead… My immediate future lies with growing both {radiiate} and WooThemes into even more sustainable businesses, whereafter I don’t know what kind of ideas I’ll pursue in 2009… 🙂

18. You’re a well known individual, do you class yourself as famous?

Not at all. I’m only a little avatar in a very, very big pond. I do however appreciate my following and I do believe that I’ve got enough of a backing base to launch new ideas of.

19. Do you see yourself doing speaking engagements in the near future to talk about the industry?

I’ve done a few locally before and I absolutely love doing public speaking – so I wouldn’t mind to get a few international gigs in 2009. But I also think that there’s still a lot of hard work that needs to be done, before I can consider myself as a well-known international speaker and industry expert. This is however something that I hope I can achieve in my lifetime! 🙂

20. If you had one goal to reach (anything) within 3 years, what would it be?

This might sound arrogant, but what I’ve achieved in the last year, was probably 3 years’ worth of goals… 🙂 So I don’t really know how to answer that question, as I haven’t really thought about it. As mentioned in #17, I’d really like to continue growing {radiiate} and WooThemes and this compromises most of my strategy and goals for 2009.

21. If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to venture in to your industry, what would it be?

Make friends and be as transparent as possible during your journey.

Adii’s Blog: http://www.adii.co.za

Woothemes: http://www.woothemes.com
Radiiate: http://www.radiiate.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/adii

30 Designers 1 Question – Where are you most inspired?

In 99% of interviews with designers we will always get asked the same question! “Where do you get your inspiration from?” It crops up time and time again and is usually answered with the same kind of answer which usually consists of CSS galleries, printed material or the outdoors etc.

I wanted to find out where 30 designers are when they feel most inspired. Was there one place where a creative person can be when all of the ideas come together?

The place where I’m most inspired is absolutely bathroom related, 80% shower, 20% on the pot. However gruesome that sounds, the bathroom is like in inspirational supernova.

aaronirizarryAaron Irizarry – www.thisisaaronslife.com

I would say that I am most find myself inspired most when I am in my backyard, it is very quiet and serene, and usually if I am back there it is some of the only quiet time I get.

Other than that… I am a pretty random person, and inspiration can strike me at any time, from the car to the kitchen… sometimes it just pops into my head.

oliverkerOliver Ker – www.oliverker.com

Inspiration occurs in lots of places, I wouldn’t say I go to one place to get inspiration, but If I get some of my ideas is either in car or at that point just before you go to sleep – and I never get to write them down. (the only times I get to think about things)

sambrownSam Brown – http://sam.brown.tc

Super question.

I feel most inspired in two places, the shower, most likely because I’m alone with just my thoughts and the relaxing sound of running water, nothing is better at clearing my head. Also in bed at night trying to wind-down from a busy day working, I always keep a notepad and pen on my bedside table as I often have many great ideas or inspiring thoughts when I’m trying to drift off to sleep. Probably because I’m too busy thinking about the days ahead and what I need to accomplish, any quiet personal time is thus my real answer by the sounds of it.

gravatarDavid Legget – www.betterblogger.net

I find a great deal of inspiration when I’m attending conferences or local meetup groups. People tend to be my source of inspiration, and it’s in places where we convene that I have the opportunity share ideas and perspectives on different interests of mine. These places encourage taking action and promote new ideas for my business, my goals, and my design process.  The room itself is not important (we’ve met in universities, hotels, churches, even outside), it’s the gathering of people that inspires conversation and discovery.

pasqualedasilvaPasquale D’Silva – http://darkmotion.com

For me, it actually is ‘where’ that inspires me. A ‘place’ is the answer to ‘where’.

Places contain an infinite collection of elements that define them from surroundings, people, embedded culture which naturally produce moods and tones. So because places inspire me, I don’t have a single location I am at when I am most inspired. In fact, I was so hungry for more amazing things to stimulate thought, that I just moved across the world ( From Australia, to Vancouver, Canada).

I guess in a generality, I’d say that the places I am most inspired are where there is a bustle of new people. People build culture, so the surrounding environment is also very much shaped by the types of people that exist within them. I’m an animator & illustrator, so life is really an essential resource to draw from. Airports, big cities, bank queues; anywhere with a diversity of people does the trick.  I’ll often take a sketchbook out with me to scribble caricatures, & take notes about ideas that spring up. The best ideas seem to come sub-consciously, so just being away from a computer or drawing table is enough to let ideas fire around.

davidaireyDavid Airey – www.davidairey.com

It differs, but sometimes I’m inspired in bed. Now I’m not professing to be a sex god. Far from it. I’m saying that being in self-employment makes it difficult to switch off at night, and when I climb into bed I get business / design ideas floating about.

jacobcassJacob Cass – http://justcreativedesign.com

I seem to get my best ideas is when I am brainstorming which is usually in my office, on the desk parallel with my computer desk (a whole 180 degree swivel in my chair). I am most comfortable here and this is usually where my ideas come from. Other than that, it would be in bed when trying to go to sleep.

davidperelDavid Perel – http://www.from-the-couch.com

Without a doubt the best place I get inspired is at a specific place and time.

Its on a Saturday night between 7pm and 1 am and its at my desk. The reason it’s at that time is because one of our radio stations plays my favourite music (deep house music) and they play it well. It’s got to the point where I have committed myself to design on a Saturday between those times and it works every time. Obox Design’s ’09 site, all our themes and all our wallpapers were created during those hours.

So for me its at my desk, but at only at a specific time.

liammckayLiam McKay – http://www.wefunction.com

I don’t think there’s any one place that stands out as a big source of ideas for me. But one place I do tend to think about ideas and creative solutions a lot clearer, is when I’m driving on my own. I really love being alone in my car listening to my favorite music, enjoying the occasional good weather and relatively good scenery. I think maybe the because I find driving quite relaxing has something to do with the fact I get a lot of good ideas while driving, and also coming home from a quick drive tends to give me an extra boost and thirst for getting my work done.

snookJonathan Snook – http://snook.ca

That’s a very interesting question. Mostly, I’m sitting at my chair in my office. Not very exciting, I know. Otherwise, I’m often inspired by buildings and architecture. Therefore, I’ll be inspired when I’m just walking down the street and see a window sign or see a building accent. I try and store those ideas away in the back of my head for when I’m in the thick of designing.

jonphillipsJon Phillips – http://www.spyrestudios.com

I like that, great idea!

My best ideas and inspiration usually comes at night when I go to sleep. For some reason as soon as I put my head on the pillow, ideas start popping in my head. So I now keep my Moleskine notebook close and write those ideas down.

chriscoyierChris Coyier – http://css-tricks.com

A lot of times it is where I happen to be about 15 minutes after I’ve left the computer. Could be sitting down to have a bite to eat for example. I haven’t been away from it long enough to have “shaken it off” so my mind is still pretty focused on work, yet I’m taking in all the fresh stimuli of being out and about. I think that combination leads to some “ah-ha” moments pretty regularly.

Much to my annoyance, I have inspirational moment a lot of times as my mind is wrapping up loose ends right before I drift off to sleep at night, which can cause sleep problems since I typically need to wake up and at least jot them down so they are not lost!

sharebrainThomas Ulbricht – http://sharebrain.info

So where am I when i am most inspired? Wait …let me think … think think think …. hmmm… think think … seems like sitting in front of the computer don’t inspire me.
So wait a moment, i will be right back … just taking a bath………….. ok back. Well that was nice … and i felt some inspiration coming … but damn … now i am sitting in front of this computer again. and. the.inspiration.goes.away.need food! brb again ……………………………………………………………………….

Ahhh that was good. sitting on the balkony, eating a great non healthy sandwich, watching people on the streets…but still no big inspirations.

Hmmm if i think about it there isn’t such a thing as THE place for inspiration. I think that a creative idea always based on the need to make something better. That can happen everywhere. Even at normaly “not so inpiring places”. So if you take a closer look you must be “everywhere and nowhere” – it’s about where your brain can be.
Inspiration comes from imagination. So where should you be when you want to be inspired? Anywhere you want. 🙂

elliotjaystocksElliot Jay Stocks – http://elliotjaystocks.com

Being outside in the midst of nature with hardly anything man-made around is probably when I feel most inspired, I’d say, but that’s a ‘general’ kind of inspiration about everything; not specifically design. In terms of inspiration that has more of an influence on my actual work, I think I tend to be most inspired when flicking through beautiful books. Books about design, books about anything; I just find book design to be extremely inspirational. That moment – where I’m standing in a book shop, looking at all different kinds of books and feeling completely immersed in all those sources of inspiration – that’s when I feel excited about where that inspiration could take me.

mikekusMike Kus – www.thethingswemake.co.uk

Interesting! 🙂  I’m anywhere normally – i get inspired anywhere… but I guess there are a few recurring places.
When I’m lying in bed in the dark before I go to sleep. I get ideas then I have to keep turning over to type them into my phone as a reminder for the next day.

When I’m out running – today I ran past a shop window which gave me a great idea for a site I’m working.

When I’m listening to music – This can be anywhere. As Soon I put a great record on I think about my work in a totally different way.
When I’m on the train… I guess i get inspired when I’m in a place where I have time to think without interruption.

leemunroeLee Munroe – www.leemunroe.com

lol bathroom related was one of the first things that sprung to mind for me too.

Answer: When I’m out for a run; it gives me a chance to get away from work, clear my mind and think about things. Then I’m raring to go once I get back to the laptop. Oh and when I’m at the pub or at friends house having drinks. I always come up with ideas then, but of course they don’t sound as good the next day.

veerlepietersVeerle Pieters – http://veerle.duoh.com

Interesting approach indeed.

I think for me the meaning of “where” would be perceived as “where is my mind” at that moment. My mind is disconnected from the real world at that moment. I’m in a very relaxed state of mind, only focused on what I’m creating, preferably with my favorite (deep house) music in my ears. That’s when I’m at the office sitting at my desk, in production mode as sort of speak. If I’m not working, or at the office, inspiration comes randomly at any place really. It’s all based on what I see and how I’m feeling at that moment: on my bike in the middle of nature, sitting in a couch in a nice modern looking interior, be surrounded with nice colors,…  I’m very easily distracted, and it’s at moments like that that my mind wonders off and I get inspired. It could also be in bed, right before I fall asleep, because at that moment my mind is very relaxed.

chrisspoonerChris Spooner – www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk

I actually find a lot of inspiration while browsing clothes stores, the printed promotional signage and labels are often designed using bright colours and abstract designs that tie into a specific theme. This also changes dramatically between women’s clothes, Summer/Winter fashion as well as the more leisure and extreme sports brands.

jasonsantamariaJason Santa Maria – www.jasonsantamaria.com

I always seem to come up with my best ideas while showering in the morning.

Grace Smith – www.gracesmith.co.uk

gracesmithUsually right before i drift into sleep, so i keep my iPod Touch and trusty Moleskine on my beside cabinet for those moments when inspiration strikes. Most of my best ideas have hit at this time so it tends to be a time when the ideas flow naturally for me. I simply jot down a quick summary and bullet points of the main idea, ready to be fleshed out the next day.

In the past i said to myself ‘i will remember that in the morning’, and never did which as most people know is just downright annoying. Due to this it’s been a force of habit to always have a way to record my ideas quickly and efficiently.

danielmatthewsDaniel Matthews – www.daniel-matthews.com

I find that inspiration tends to strike whenever I least expect it, whenever I’m away from a computer or as far away from a pen and paper as possible! Which usually means that I forget my best ideas. Thankfully since I got an iPhone, the number of forgotten brainwaves have decreased.

Prior to that though, my secondary place of inspiration was when seated on the toilet! I don’t know why, but it’s the place I seem to think most clearly. I usually bound down the bathroom stairs with a million ideas for whatever I’m working on, after washing my hands of  course!

ryandownieRyan Downie – www.ryandownie.com

I would have to say I am most inspired when at home, even though I do most of my work at the office for the agency that I work for. It just feels more relaxed and I can listen to music (sadly we not allowed to in the office due to phones etc). Something about working on my own in the late evenings with a bit of music ( whatever it be Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, Jay-Z, Coldplay etc) seems to really get the creative juices flowing.

adellecharlesAdelle Charles – www.fuelyourcreativity.com

When I’m at my computer I am the least inspired, since I pretty much sit in front of it all day. Believe it or not I’m usually in the car driving when I get a brilliant idea or think of something new. Often times I also get inspired while outside walking my dogs!

fabiosassoFabio Sasso – www.abduzeedo.com

Usually I’m in front of my computer doing other things but with my sketch book. However sometimes I need to go to other places to refresh my mind. I have to say when I’m practicing exercises such as running or surfing, I always get great ideas too. But one thing that is really important is that I have to understand exactly what I’m looking for in terms of target audience and their needs.

chrismerritChris Merrit – www.pixelightcreative.com

Typically I get inspired by other designers, which means I’m usually sitting at my Mac, looking at their work…….not very weird or wonderful.

Daniel Cork – www.corkingdesign.co.uk

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I get inspired in many different places. I find the warm morning shower to be a great place, also the boring train journey to work in the mornings is a pretty good too, I always make sure to keep a moleskin in my bag to write down/sketch out ideas. I get inspired in other locations also, these are normally at times when I am relaxing and not really thinking about anything in particular.

mattdraper

Matt Draper – www.identitygraphics.org

Most days its first thing in the morning in my kitchen. As I ponder my days work the ideas simply pop in my head.
I feel rushed some days to get to the computer and get them into form… before my mind looses them forever.

adiirockstar

Adii – http://adii.co.za

I’d have to go for when I’m driving in my car (alone) and listening to some proper rock tunes.

Lisa Moseley – www.lisamoseley.com

lisamoseleyAs it turns out my answer is neither weird nor wonderful really! It definitely is an interesting question, and had me really thinking about where I am when I find inspiration:

“For me, inspiration is often random and surprising. However if I had to narrow it down to a few locations I would say in my car, listing to my favorite tunes loud enough to really feel the music. Somehow the time alone, along with taking in all the surrounding sights, colors, people, movement accompanied by bands I really dig gets me inspired to explore new ideas.

Another is when I’m walking my dogs. No music, no talking, just us and nature. Even just small stroll around my neighborhood is enough to break the cycle and allow new ideas to manifest and grow. I do have to say though, inspiration can often be found anywhere and everywhere- most likely when you’re not expecting it, especially when you’re on a project that is exciting and inspiring in itself 🙂

sarahparmenterSarah Parmenter – www.youknowwhodesign.com

My most inspirational place is a little village in Spain called Caleta. I go there every year and since it’s only had electricity the past 10 years the internet isn’t wide spread down there, which means completely switching off from everything. I normally take down some great books, relating to web design, and it gives me time to think through the past years work and where I’d like to be heading toward this time next year when I’m back again…

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who got involved in the post! The emails were flying back and forth over a 10 day period and I really appreciate you all for taking the time out and getting back to me.

So… where are you most inspired?

I’d like to hear from other designers / developers or speakers about where they are when they’re most inspired, leave comments below.

Showing my favorites

I generally don’t actively set favorites on Twitter and if I remember correctly I believe I set my first favorite tweet by complete accident. Today as I was flicking through tweetdeck I came across my favorites which were limited in number and ones which I’d completely forgotten about. My favorite tweets are below, not many considering I’ve been a member since 2007 and have over 2500 tweets to my name.

Andy Clarke (@malarkey)

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Matt Brett (@mattbrett)

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Sam Brown (@sambrown)

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And I even favorited one of my own Tweets, a calamity error by myself when posting a link for the ecommerce experiment led is.gd to humiliate me in twitterpublic. It was very VERY funny at the time.

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Undisputed – The best console fighting game?

Not many people know this but I’m an avid UFC fan (that’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship) for people that haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world and has the potential to be the largest sport probably behind Football (Soccer) in years to come. It’s currently a billion dollar industry and has been going for more than 10 years in one form or another. Lets not talk about the real UFC for a second and concentrate on the console game, UFC 2009 – Undisputed.

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I’m not usually into fighting games on a console and take a much bigger part in First Person Shooters which most recently has been Battlefield: Bad Company. Over the past couple of months I’ve not even touched the 360, however knowing that the UFC demo was available I thought I’d give it an hour of my time just to see what it was like. My prediction was that it would be horrendous like all of the other fighting computer games. They usually don’t feel right, the transitions don’t flow, the punches are “plain” and it just doesn’t seem like it’s supposed to.

I was pleasantly surprised. First off by the lack of a health bar, the huge defining factor in most fighting games that you’re about to get your ass kicked and lose a match. In the UFC a knockout can come at any time and it’s the same for the game, granted you can become gassed if your cardio isn’t up to scratch and this can have an effect on your fight but even a last ditch attempt at a knockout can be successful.

I’ve only played this game for one afternoon and haven’t explored the full thing but was so impressed I thought I’d write up about it.

At the end of the day I’m impressed, the visuals are crisp, the transitions and fighting flows, the soundtrack as with most UFC events is terrific and I’ve not thrown the controller through the wall. One funny part of the game is the fighters, they look very realistic and in fact look more a less identical to the actual real life fighters yet Dana White looks nothing like Dana.

New Blog Design Preview

So I’m going to do something that I don’t usually do, I’m previewing the blog design I’ve been working on and whilst it’s only a snippet of what it may look like I just thought I’d show it off. I’ve been working on the new design on and off since Christmas but I am aiming to get it live for the beginning of August as I have a lot of other things going on at the minute with eCommerce experiment, carrotmedia, floobe.com and validationicons.com

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I wanted to produce a design that encompasses what I like when I’m at home and comfortable. After all this blog is my personal space.