Inspiration in the ordinary

Us designers sweat over ideas, based on a client brief and deep understanding of their business challenges, carefully styled and crafted to reflect the brand personality and tone of voice. On the other hand is the vernacular, the incidental designs in our every-day environment which people have crafted to communicate what they need.

From the delightful to the cringingly bad, this art of the people, or mingei (as it’s referred to in Japan) is often the wallpaper of our urban lives. Being influenced by the rude and crude (rudimentary and unpolished) of ‘street style’ is nothing new. In fashion for instance, the UK was an outstanding influence on Jean Paul Gaultier in the 1980s and graffiti in many forms has found its way into mainstream design.

It’s when we are experiencing the unfamiliar surroundings of a foreign country that the ordinary really comes to life. Well, at least that is what I found when we were recently visiting northern India. Here are a few examples of what we captured, some are designed brands, the rest is created from necessity or the love of making something special.

As designers, our way of seeing the world around us means that we are influenced consciously and unconsciously by our experiences, often recording in our memories or photo, those things which build our visual resources. We believe what we do is more than mark-making. With an excellent idea, design becomes memorable, impactful, and able to change perceptions. This also happens in great vernacular design.

I hope you enjoy this small selection from our way of seeing in northern India.

Ghandi’s signature has become his brand, along with his spectacles.

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