“True inspiration comes from life. Real life. Not a pixelated version of it.” – Sir John Hegarty

Bee in Thailand Pai

“Remove the headphones and unplug the computer. True inspiration comes from life. Real life. Not some pixelated version of it.”
– Sir John Hegarty

Anything you see on Internet are flat pictures – but no experience. So you are somehow missing of the “real feel”. What you see on the screen is a biased version of the reality. Looking for pictures for hours and hours on Internet change us into Sitting-zombies.


“THIS PICTURE  IS NOT REAL LIFE” What if you go office, and your colleague look at you like this. Haha!

Don’t get “trapped” at looking for pictures on websites like Getty image for your moodboard. There is no right or wrong to use them. But make sure you know how to dissociate beautiful pictures from pictures with true meanings. 

1 Build your own sensitivity.

You have to build your own sense of critics. So you don’t want to see the same things that anybody else see when they Google the same keywords as you. Remember that the displayed pictures have been selected by a robot…

Maybe one day Google will select the pictures according to your own needs, story and identity. But till that day, trust yourself first.

On internet, we are consumer of pictures. Instead, why not being a producer ! Get out to the streets, travel if you can where you will take pictures or sketch keeping a record of your own inspiration.

Get a camera !
Create your own picture database shooting environment, colors, graphics, products, people, insects…

Every picture should remind you an emotion. Basically, Do not only store pictures, but your feelings. That’s what you will want to translate in your designs.

2 Get inspired from your 5 senses.

The sens of vision is overated.
It’s only 1 of of our 5 senses. You need to touch, ear, taste, smell… feel! All these senses are as much important. If you take them in consideration while you design, I am sure you products will get much more meaningful to people and the users.

You are curious, you discover the world and understand how real people live. You talk to them, shake their hand and discover some “feelings”that nobody else has even written on newspaper or even a blog.

Why? Because you was that only one who lived that experience in real.

3 Create interraction with people.

We design for people, for tribes, for families. Study people’s behavior and try to feel and catch their mindset with no judgement.

“Nurture your self confidence…
Be brave and dare to think the unthinkable, because as creative people we demonstrate an uncanny ability to visualize what other people can’t see.”
– Phil Evans

You make a project for blind people?
Meet real blind people. Don’t only look at forums, statistics and Wikipedia. You design for babies? Meet parents and be volunteer to babysit you niece or nephew! And so on… Be creative! Pursue things that nobody else see. 

The day you present your project at school, your voice will change, you will “live” your project! The jury will love you as they will feel your sincerity.

So, leave your chair, your computer and go out enjoy the world! 

May I show you some pictures that inspire me when I travel – I have just picked up from my Facebook. Even though as a designer you create products, “cherish your life experience more than being materialistic”. Like how my friend Ben said.

Don’t wait for people to tell you stories about how things work. Try to guess, imagine, making scenarios… Be an active observer of the real world. 🙂 

Transparent umbrella in Japan Tokyo

In Japan, they have transparent umbrellas – so they can also walk in the crowd.

China Retired house Dongguan

Every year, we went to visit the retired house in China. Even though we could not speak the same language, we could feel their solitude. It was great to see them smiling.

Drying cuttlefish at Hong Kong

In Hong-Kong – you may see cuttlefish drying among the clothes.

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At Taiwan, a graffiti where Ultraman is playing music with the gods.

Japan safe feel

Despite of the darkness, I felt safe in the Japan’s subway.

Baby Dongguan China

It’s common to see Baby pant “Ready to pooh”! in the street of China.

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Thailand – The only way to eat some is to get there! The legs are pretty annoying to eat.

Cheese in can Singapore

Singapore – The French cheese is served in a can. WTF. lol Sometime, design do not always do the right thing…

Bee in Thailand Pai

I never saw a such beee before. It went in my room at Pai, in Thailand. The shape of the body is inspirational. Somehow like a racing motorbike.

Bali eggs Vulcano

At Bali, you can taste hard boiled eggs from the Vulcano steam – Nature is full of unexpected ressource.

Dragqueen race in london

In the middle of a Drag Queen race in London! (I was not a participant though) You can’t imagine crazy things as long as you have not seen them. 🙂

Families live under bridges

Family under bridge

Manila, many families live under the bridge. One day, a huge flood devastated everything. They settled back in few days. They are maybe poor, but ressourceful.

DIY Baby chair on bike

A DIY baby chair on bike in Taiwan – When tradition meets modernity.


Me drinking Macha at Kumamoto Japan

Myself, drinking Macha at Kumamoto Castle in Japan. :9 I never saw such green before. It was somehow pale, yet thick and intense.

I feel lucky I bring my camera everywhere I went to for traveling. I may have thousands of pictures in my hard disk – all recorded and classified. Make every single of your day a unique experience and a learning opportunity!

See you!

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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.

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