Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and in 2011 our visually-saturated culture throws up all manner of things that feed themselves back into creatives’ work. With that in mind, the guys at Ill Studio have produced Moodcyclepedia showcasing 15 recent projects and a whole host of inspirations that were in some way responsible for the finished articles. And from 17th century painter Philippe de Champaigne and the gaelic alphabet to tennis player Bjorn Borg and a pineapple, it’s an honest, fascinating guide to their collective creative mind. We caught up with them to find out more.
Hi guys. The new Moodcyclopedia looks amazing, tell us about why you decided to document your inspirations in this way?
Well, every new project comes with its stock of mood images and inspirations – we decided to put together all the references used to produce 15 of our recent projects over the last few years to create an encyclopedia of inspirations, like a mathematical explanation of where each of these projects came from.
It is very interesting from a self-analysis point of view to see how obvious some of the references are if you compare them to the related work and how undercurrent some others can be. We love going to dig up some references in very diverse fields to bring them back in a different creative context or time period. We don’t pretend to come up with 100 per cent original works, we like to mix up loads of different inspirations to create our own thing. We thought it was an interesting way to look at your own – or someone else’s – work.
It’s a pretty diverse range of things you have in there, was that important to you?
Of course, we even classified the references in three different categories : art and design, popular culture and office space. We love all sorts of things from very different areas whether it is a super famous French fashion designer or some internet junk. It was important for us to present this really diverse cultural references on the same level.
There’s no hierarchy between Yves Saint Laurent and a goldfish for us. Well, sort of, no offence to YSL of course! It was also very important to include all the “office-space’s everyday influences” such as the music we listen to depending on the project, the food we eat, the private jokes etc. We guess these also have a massive (and less conscious) influence on our work.
Do you find inspiration easy to come by?
What’s tricky sometimes is having to come up with a so-called “good” idea every two days – being inspired on a very specific subject when you get asked to by a client can be hard sometimes. This is why we collect cultural references, concepts and ideas, as a toolkit for creative emergencies!
More seriously, the idea of the book was also to question the fine line between innovation and lineage, or even between inspiration and robbery. Most of the time designers hide their sources to avoid criticism of their originality, but with this project we wanted to literally “reveal” our sources. When people discovered all the samples used by Daft Punk, a lot were offended as they thought it was too easy to just sample a song from the past. Well, we think that it is a very creative thing to dig the right inspirations and be able to bring them back through your own spectrum, in a different context.