The answers were wide-ranging and showed how important it is to look beyond your own discipline for creative inspiration.
From 3D clay models to colorful decorations to funky lettering, the featured creatives below create art that pushes boundaries, mixes media and illustrates the power of point of view. Read on to learn about some inspirational creatives to follow this year.
Olivia Odiwe’s delicate details create a therapeutic experience
“I discovered Olivia Odiwe in 2019 when my twin brother Simon sent me a link to her Instagram,” Adam Ryan, head of Pentawards, told Creative Boom. “Her work is heavily influenced by modern culture, film and music. I spent hours on her site admiring her innovative style of portraiture, mixing faces of iconic hip-hop or grime stars with bright colors.”
Ryan was particularly impressed with Odiwe’s clay work: “Around 2020, Olivia began using clay in beautiful ways. She has recreated iconic album covers in 3D but on a miniature scale. The delicate detail of the small sculptures is placed on the album cover to bring it to life. These would all be filmed and a time lapse would be posted. It’s so therapeutic to look at: the precision, craftsmanship and detail show serious talent.
Bethan Wood’s designs inspire exploration and abundance
“London-based artist and designer Bethan Laura Wood has been an incredible source of inspiration for me,” said Laura Strauss, design strategist for Design Partners and PA Consulting.
Sharing how defining Wood’s work has been to her own creative practice of late, Strauss said, “It’s very refreshing that Bethan Laura Wood doesn’t shy away from embracing decorative elements. In recent years I’ve tended to strip my design languages down to the bare essentials, finding beauty in radical minimalism and shy engineering. However, lately I’ve found this approach increasingly boring and therefore more difficult to add meaning to my designs.
“I started to develop an appetite for more fun, organic, delightful and storytelling forms of expression. Ultimately, her work motivated me to become more exploratory myself again and to embrace the concept of abundance – meaning it’s much needed to escape the sea of sameness. “
Stefan Diez’s designs range between sophisticated and experimental
“I’ve always had a childlike fascination, so I’m drawn to designs and designers who reinterpret functional, everyday products in new and playful ways,” Greg Furniaux, senior designer at Blond, told Creative Boom.
Furniaux shared that an artist who often inspires him is German industrial designer Stefan Diez. “Diez’s work often inspires me as he combines sophistication, innovation and simplicity without losing the experimental, fun character,” adds Furniaux.
Recently, Furniaux was particularly inspired by Diez’s conceptual BOA table for HAY, an evolution of the Soba collection for Japan Creative (2015). “I loved the interactivity of the hidden, twisted rope attachment – it’s now reimagined in aluminum tubing. Instead of ropes, the pieces now come together with a satisfying technical click. It’s a masterful balance of playfulness and precision; the over-the-top chunky drain pipe shapes and tool-less Construction feels like a giant version of building toys like Lego Technic or K’Nex that the big kid in me loves.
Joseph Töreki’s digital chemistry is at the forefront of mixed media design
“Transferring materials from one reality to another has become a new form of craft,” says Lars Dittrich, graphic designer at Seymourpowell. One designer Dittrich admires in this room is the multidisciplinary artist Joseph Töreki.
According to Dittrich, Töreki’s work “beautifully captures that fine line between the virtual and the physical, exploring a traditional craft (pottery) and its fascination with digital art to make both practices inseparable and everlasting.”
Dittrich shared that he particularly “loves the experimental process of creating [Töreki’s] digital glaze collection. After firing unglazed, hand-thrown clay vases, Töreki scans the objects with a photo before applying a digital glaze. Building on a deep understanding of heirloom glazing copies, techniques and materials, Töreki, as a digital chemist, brings integrity to his digital ceramics.”
Renee Melia’s bold colors and patterns balance light and dark
“Renee Melia, an incredible Australian illustrator, was one of my biggest sources of inspiration for 2022,” Charlie Tallis, design director at Taxi Studio, told Creative Boom. Tallis shared that she came across Melia’s work on Instagram and fell in love with her striking color palettes, use of pattern, and the way she uses dark tones and light accents.
“Renee uses color in ways I wouldn’t normally have thought of,” she continues. “The way she takes on a simple subject and yet manages to create a distinctive and one-of-a-kind piece every time is truly inspiring. It reminds me that there are always new and exciting solutions to every job.”
Daniel Irizarry pulls through, from a strong point of view to a flawless execution
Butchershop Chief Creative Officer Ben McNutt is a big fan of designs by Athletics Creative Director Daniel Irizarry. “Design without an idea is just style. And yet an idea is only as good as its implementation in our industry, which is great in both concept and execution. It’s the rare designer who can see the continuous line from one to the other. Daniel can.”
McNutt praised Irizarry’s range, which is reflected in his brand work and personal designs – but line continuity is always a strong point, an ability to fully engage with one’s subjects without including anything extraneous.
“In sketch or improvisational comedy, you talk about getting down to the basics. You can perhaps throw in all sorts of things that might be funny on their own, but would ultimately detract from or derail the joke. So it’s best to commit to the part. Daniel is a designer dedicated to the concept. He only allows for the essentials for his strongest implementation and lets out the rest. This gives you marks with a clear, crisp POV view. Brands that actually are Say something. Clarity is everything. In these wild (albeit fun) digital times, there’s a lot of noise. Daniel’s work avoids him while still turning out sick fresh stuff.
Anna Mills’ hand-drawn designs are bursting with personality
Mollie Kendell, a designer at Lantern, has been with Bristol-based graphic designer Anna Mills since she was a student.
Kendall told Creative Boom that she’s “always loved [Mills’] manual approach to design with their hand-drawn illustrations and embroidered letterforms. Her style has a human, hand-drawn quality that makes each character feel like they have their own personality. Dancing on the boundary between analog and digital processes, each track feels as if it’s bouncing and dancing across the screen. She creates fluid letterforms and illustrations and brings them to life, manually drawing frame-by-frame to create shaky, twitchy animations.”
Sharing how Mills’ work directly influences her own, Kendell said Mills inspires her to “work more manually, to escape the screen and rethink how you can think of typography to express your own personality and movement.” to have”.
Recently, Kendall was particularly fond of Mills’ 36 Days of Type designs. “The animation consists of hand-drawn frames that are stitched together to show how each letterform changes and takes on a new shape, with a changing personality of each character. Her style is inspired by printed ephemera and letterforms; she incorporates this style of photocopying into her work. This is brought into the small details of their work with changing watch faces as the characters move into place.