It’s easy to become blinded by what’s familiar and comfortable. And unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on your ability to innovate and create. As a designer, travel can open you up to a world of new ideas and opportunities. But where should you go? And what should you see?
Add These Destinations to Your List
There’s something to be said for breaking out of the safety of your normal habits and routines and putting yourself in a unique environment that’s historically rich and visually engaging. It coaxes your brain into a creative space and, ultimately, provides fertile ground to cultivate inspiration.
There are inspiring sights and places in every city, country, and region throughout the world, but here are a few that are especially well suited for design inspiration:
1. Cairo, Egypt
Egypt is a country that most of us are familiar with from the pages of history textbooks and Netflix documentaries, but don’t let overexposure to pictures and images convince you that you’ve seen enough. There’s absolutely nothing like traveling to Egypt in person.
In particular, make it a point to visit Cairo. This puts you in close proximity to all of the quintessential Egyptian sights and sounds. Schedule a private guided tour with a qualified Egyptologist and you’ll get to enjoy the Great Pyramids of Giza, the famous Sphinx, and the bustling city of Cairo (with the Mosque of Muhammed and the Khan El Khalili Bazaar).
2. Marrakesh, Morocco
As a designer, you’ll immediately feel at home in Marrakesh – or any other Moroccan city for that matter. It’s a city with a great appreciation for eclectic design and rich art. Flavorful patterns and playful colors serve as the bedrock for both traditional and modern designs. From the architecture to the mosaics to the handmade crafts from local street vendors, you’ll find inspiration in many places. As one blogger puts it, “[Marrakesh] is as manic as Mardi Gras and as hip as Hollywood.”
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
If you’re a fan of minimalism, abstract art, and splashes of clean color, Copenhagen is a top destination. Plus, on top of all that, Danes are wonderful people. They’re warm, happy, and inviting.
Over the years, Denmark has been home to many world-renowned designers, including Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen. Must-see sights and attractions include Tivoli Gardens, Christiansborg Palace, National Museum of Denmark, and the National Gallery of Denmark.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is known as the Land of the Gods. There’s a careful beauty about the place that makes it feel both haunted and heavenly. There are lush terraced rice fields, towering volcanoes, luxurious beaches, vibrant nightlife, uniquely carved temples, and thousands of street vendors. The weather is beautiful, the scenery is exquisite, and the designs are unlike anything you’ll see in the western world.
The best piece of advice for visiting Bali is to just soak it all in. Leave your preconceived notions on the airplane tarmac and just be present. Let your mind wander and take mental inventory of all the exciting sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. This is a land you can visit over and over again without ever growing tired of it.
5. Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston is the capital of the island of Jamaica. You’ll find it on the southeast coast of the island, where 2.7 million people – or roughly half the country’s population – call home.
Kingston is a city of contrast – with both ultra-poor and very wealthy individuals residing together in close proximity. And while it’s earned a reputation for violence over the years, it’s still home to many talented artists, writers, and musicians. Be sure to check out the Devon House, National Gallery of Jamaica, Lime Cay, and the Bob Marley Museum.
Get Ready to Be Inspired
If you’ve never traveled extensively, you might initially be slightly skeptical about how much inspiration you can draw from your surroundings, but it’s imperative that you go in with the right frame of mind.
Conjuring up inspiration on your travels won’t be an issue. The real challenge is finding a way to bottle up that inspiration so that you enjoy sustained creativity. We suggest keeping a daily journal of your trip and taking the time to handwrite notes of your experiences. Pictures are also extremely helpful, as they allow you to visually return to these sights over and over again.