Get Design inspired like a Chef !

Ratatouille Chef Gusteaus

Question from Ragavendran
Architecture student from India.

Q: Where, When, How do you get inspired for any designs?

Sometime we wish we could simply switch on a button to make inspiration appear like a bright light from a light bulb. Don’t panic, lacking of inspiration is a good thing, and is daily part of the designer journey. It’s actually a good challenge that drive us to always be more innovative.

Beside that, I found out that design is pretty similar to cooking. Let’s look at “4 tips to design like a chef !”

Ratatouille Chef Gusteaus
Ratatouille – Chef Gusteau

4 Tips to Design like a chef !

Spinning-Cycle-Coking ideas - inspiration
Feed well your brain to cook better

Choosing the information that come in our brain is like choosing the ingredients for the dish we wanna prepare. Then it’s up to us to eat it, or serve it to others.

1| Be aware of diet
If we constantly eat and remain tempted by junk food, the body won’t feel good (Overweight, high blood pressure…) Our body is directly related from what we eat. Logic right ? Junk food temptation

> Same for creation. If the information that come in our brain are made of low quality (reality show, TV news… are the equivalent to the junk food), our design thinking won’t be much better inspired.

2| Picky selection of ingredients
A strict diet is not necessary. It’s good to be fed of all kind of food though. It’s all about the ratio and frequency. quality food

Picky selection of food

> We receive information from multi directions and we subject of all kind of influence. Yet we can decide to be exposed to some more than others. Select what you want your brain to be made of or influenced.
eg. Cut down on watching TV passively. Look for documentary or movie for education and/or pure entertainment. Looking for training, seminars is a great alternative.

3| Try “exotic taste”
Look for foreign ingredients even if they are far from your own culture. Put aside your personal taste, and discover unknown/unexpected flavours !

Horned melon
Honey lemon with a unique taste.

> Try to avoid preconception. Our subconscious often talk first. Be empathic and twist your point of view beyond the cliché – Different people, different story. The world is big and worth to explore.
eg. FIDM gives some basic courses of FENG SHUI to Interior architect students in Los Angeles.
I even heard about Feng Shui Architect and consulting in New York.
*Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

4| 1 + 1 = 3 !
Be a chef ! Combine different ingredients and create your own recipes.
> Create unexpected ideas by merging simple one.
eg. Air bubble  + sneakers = Nike shock absorber outsole !

Ratatouille mix flavours
Ratatouille, Disney – Creating new flavours by mixing ingredients.

See you for the next TIP ! And feel free to leave a comment or like the article. See yah !

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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.

1 Comment

  • Jose Gamboa

    Reply Reply November 16, 2015

    Hello Chou, my name is Jose and I’m the creator and designer of a sketching methodology with emphasis I in learning the basics of drawing in order to communicate concepts visually.
    I would love if you can share this event with your community:

    The Sketching Lab is a three-day intensive workshop to endorse creativity through sketching, mind mapping, concept development and visual communication and it takes place in San Jose, Costa Rica.
    We often use biomimicry as a methodology to foster concept iteration.

    Thank you for your support.
    You are doing a great job highlighting the power of sketching.

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