INSPIRATION 00 | Justin Howell

All creative’s have their own unique sources of inspiration.  We feed off of other’s energy and strive to create our own work that hopefully goes on to inspire others.  It’s part of the creative circle of life.  “Good artists copy; great artists steal” is a quote that is often repeated around creative agencies.  The original author of that quote is frequently debated and attributed to different people; most commonly being Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, and W. H. Davenport Adams.  The fact that this quote is attributed to so many incredibly creative people is a great illustration of the spirit of the quote.  As individual creatives, we don’t live in a bubble.  We are all constantly learning and curious to see what each other is doing.  Here at Serif, we frequently use Fridays as “education days.”  A day to sit at our favorite coffee shop (usually Mission Coffee), watch documentaries, browse, and keep up to date in all aspects of the creative industry.  I wanted to take a minute and share some things and people that have been inspiring me as of late. So without further adieu, here are the 5 things that have been inspiring me in this first week of 2015 (HAPPY NEW YEAR BY THE WAY!):

1. Apple’s Latest Television Broadcast Spots – “The Song”

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Simply beautiful.  Here at Serif, we constantly push the concepts of being a “Story Agency”  and creating an emotional connection through any medium available to us.  Apple perfectly accomplishes both of these in 1 minute and 30 seconds.  The first time I saw this commercial was during a football game at my apartment with a group of friends.  The room went from rowdy screaming and yelling to complete silence in under 10 seconds when the spot first came on – it was the only time in the 3.5 hour span that no one was talking.  The first words said after that remaining 80 seconds were, “wow.”  Everything from the story to the cinematography comes together to capture a beautiful moment created with Apple hardware and software.  I have long felt that Apple TV advertising has been lacking as of late but this spot put them back on the map in my mind. (Note: A behind-the-scenes of the spot can be found here.)

2. Aaron Draplin – The Man

Aaron Draplin is the man.  Earlier this year, the Serif crew had the privilege to attend one of Draplin’s talks at CCAD.  We still constantly talk about what we learned from that speech.  Despite his amazing technical and design abilities, his most inspiring attributes are his personality and passion.  His passion for good design is infectious and I love that he is always traveling around the country speaking to students and fellow designers trying to make the word a better place by helping people create better designs.  Since that talk, we have watched his classes on SkillShare and are always checking out his work for inspiration.  If he is coming to a town near you, do not hesitate to go listen to him speak.  Check out his work and support his company, Field Notes, on his website. One of his talks can be found here.


(Note: Yes, that is Doug kissing Draplin after he demanded “somebody kiss me..!”)

3. Bentley’s Promotion Film – “Intelligent Details” 

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The cheapest new Bentley available for sale starts at around $180,000.  They can afford the $12,000 Canon 1D MKIIIs, the $32,000 Red Dragons and even the $140,000+ Phantom high speed cameras easily.  Instead, they shot their latest promotional film on iPhones and edited it on iPads – in their cars. What?  Most people struggle to take a halfway decent selfie with their iPhone and the brand that is the de facto standard of luxury cars just went and created a 4 minute promotional film with one.  If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is…

4. The Noun Project –

“Creating, Sharing and Celebrating the World’s Visual Language.” Sometimes words just cannot do it. What’s that famous quote..? “A picture is worth a thousand words?” The noun project embodies this principal in every way.  When building a website or finding general inspiration, The Noun Project is always my first place to visit.  Type in any noun and all kinds of icons start to appear.  It really is “communication simplified.”  A well placed icon can add just the right touch of visual spice to a design or communicate a concept far more simply than words could ever do (sorry copywriters!). The Noun Project has a great mix of public domain (completely free to use!) and paid icons that look great on the web, infographics, logos, or posters.

5. Netflix TV Spots – “Watch Together” 

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Everybody loves Netflix. Heck, we basically did a post about it a couple months ago (okay, so it was about plot addiction but you get the point). Their new television broadcast spots capture why everyone loves Netflix so much.  Movies are a magical thing that can transport us to worlds we only previously dreamed of.  They have a unique way of bringing people together, making us laugh, making us cry, and experience every emotion in between.  Netflix didn’t need a fancy script with ultra-staged homes and overpaid (or under depending on who you ask) actors to tell their story.  They simply needed invited into the homes of their users.  The lighting is rough, the cinematography is decent and the audio is lacking at times but the story they captured is one nearly everyone can relate to.

I would love to hear what has been inspiring you guys lately so let us know below!  In the meantime, “Stay hungry, stay foolish…” -Steve Jobs.


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