1. Process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative 1.1 Quality of being inspired.
  2. Person or thing that inspires.
  3. Sudden brilliant or timely idea.

At Design Academy Eindhoven, we view inspiration as any input that stimulates a process or project. Inspiration is not simply triggered by an assignment, by advice, or by a suggestion; a mental spark or bodily sensation that stimulates action can also prompt it. Inspiration generates (new) ideas. It can be a source of energy, either for continuing an existing project or for setting up a new one.

Sources of inspiration can be consciously looked for or stumbled upon accidentally. They could either provide an instant stimulus or be something that has been encountered and collected earlier, and which, like a seed not yet germinated, can become a source of inspiration when new (design) questions are asked. The place and time for inspiration varies, and sources are very subjective. Many designers and design researchers find inspiration in rituals from their daily lives, in images, music, landscapes, conversations, materials, associations and texts, or in their cultural roots. Inspiration is often also gleaned from the work of colleagues or, additionally, a designer’s own work.

In design research, inspiration can play an important role. Being inspired is, however, not in itself sufficient to successfully conduct a design research project – in addition a certain rigour is needed in order to systematically collect, document and analyse, and to synthesise and translate data into information and knowledge.

DAE example

  • Puck Dieben, Dressed Cabinets, Graduation project Man and Activity, 2016

  • Maxime Benvenuto, The Atmospherical Potential of Boredom, Graduation project Man and Leisure, 2016