Inspiration is everywhere, but never more so than in people. Last year there were a few people whose work and attitudes stood out to me. If you want to find out about some cool people and their work, read on.

Jessica Walsh

If you didn’t hear about the 40 Days of Dating last year then you may well have been living in a cave. A raw expose on two friends dating for 40 days, with stunning photographs and delightful typographic pieces.

The project itself is beautiful to me, as well as being weird. I love the study of people and their behaviour and collections of things. Paired with lovely design work it worked really well.

40 Days of Dating Homepage

Tim’s work is brilliant, and I urge you to check that out too, but it was Jessica’s work that got most of my attention. Jessica is partnered with Stefan Sagmeister and together they run an agency with a history of beautiful, weird and sometimes disconcerting work.

The 40 Days of Dating project offered an insight into Jessica’s day to day habits. This showed how creativity seeped into as many moments as possible. I think that added connection, and understanding more about her motivations is what drew me to the work.

Elle Luna

Elle is a designer and artist, currently sequestered in Bali making beautiful fabrics.

The Bulan Project

I discovered Elle via a well timed Medium article about creative junk food. It’s a brilliant post, delving into the different ways we can pursue our creativity and let it out into the world. It definitely struck a chord with me, and I found it a week after I handed my notice in at work. It could not have come at a better time.

I went on to read her other fabulous writing, and then spent one wonderful evening looking through her work. There has been a lot of interest in her art, and this video includes an explanation of how Elle quit her dream job and started painting.

There is something so incredible about that to me. So raw. She’s found her “must” and she’s doing something about it. How many of us do that? How many of us set out into the world to find a white room because we had a recurring dream about one?

I know I’d got to a point where I wasn’t anywhere near my must. I was so grateful to see Elle’s work, and hear what she had to say because I felt like it gave me permission to try to find it again.

Do check out her beautiful work. The moon calendar fabric project is endlessly fascinating to me.

Barnbrook

I’d be a bit remiss if I didn’t include someone who has long been a favourite of mine. I only discovered Johnathan during my Master’s degree. His unique, subversive work tried to pull me in a completely different direction to what I had in mind, and I almost gave in too. It wasn’t the time though, so I’ve just spent the last few years observing his work.

Barnbrook & Bowie, The Next Day

The reason he came back into focus in 2013 is of course, the Bowie album and everything that went along with that. The Barnbrook studio designed Doctrine for the Bowie project and I think it’s rather beautiful, especially the counter of the ‘a’.

I love Barnbrook’s work because it feels outside the box and like it’s questioning everything. Barnbrook is working within briefs and constraints, but it isn’t always obvious. A square over Bowie’s face caused controversy about the nature of design. The questions these things raise push us forward as designers. They start conversations and this is so so important.

Web design can be quite technical. Sometimes the debates about the picture element, Internet Explorer and flat design bore me. It’s refreshing to have something bold, beautiful, weird or even ugly appear and get everyone talking.

Gav Strange

Gav works for Aardman during the day, and is Jam Factory at night. A jack of all trades, he has a wonderful energy that seems to infect everyone it touches.

I was lucky enough to see his talk “Positive for Conkers” at Web Expo Guildford, and everyone I spoke to thought it was fantastic. The way Gav seems to say yes to all the right opportunities, and gets excited about everything is brilliant. We need more positive, excited people in this world!

Gavin Strange - Gromit

His work is all kinds of bonkers, but I love it. The story surrounding Gav’s “Stats the Way to do it Lad” is heartwarming. His chip shop themed bike race is a great way to engage people, I don’t think anyone could hear about that without smiling. His spoof for his own movie trailer is bordering on genius.

I love seeing people work hard, and giving so much love to what they do. I think that’s what all these people have in common. I’ve enjoyed seeing the beautiful, weird, heartwarming and joyful things they’re sharing with the world.