Spotting, Appreciating & Being Inspired by Design – Wherever You Are, Whatever You Are Doing.

Not the catchiest of blog post titles I admit but hey, we’re having a heatwave in the UK and the brain circuitry is melting!

This last weekend I was in London (a very hot, sticky London!) to see the play The Lieutenant of Inishmore starring amongst others the ever so attractive and talented,  Aiden ‘Poldark’ Turner.  The play was super! The whole cast shone, it was witty, dark and poignant. Also the love of cats features very strongly so perhaps that could explain why a crazy cat lady like myself was so drawn to it.

But, I am not blogging a review, or fangirling about Mr Turner (tempting as that may be!) what I was thinking about on my train journey home was how much design jumped out at me over the weekend. We cannot go through even the most routine of days without design all around us but, how much do we take in consciously or subconsciously? How many times do we something seemingly so unrelated from our projects that gives us a light bulb moment? What’s the oddest times you’ve had an a-ha moment?

This weekend my first a-ha moment was bananas, literally. As I walked into the hotel there was a warning sign out front that the surface was slippery. and it wasn’t the usual dull yellow a-frame stand, it was in the shape of a banana skin! Now I may be behind the times and everyone else has seen these already but, it was my first banana skin warning sign and it made me smile and more importantly, pay attention to the surface!  What could have been just another utilitarian sign had been given some humour and style which didn’t distract from its main function but, actually enhanced it!

Lesson 1: just because something is functional it can still be attractive, enticing even and a little humour goes a long way!

Then, as Mum would be travelling with a wheelchair, as she awaits a knee operation, I visited the theatre website to check out the accessibility section. Whilst there I noticed a video tour of the theatre. Having not visited before I clicked to watch. At first I admit to being taken aback as the narration was incredibly simplified and matter of fact; it was only then I realised I was still on the access section and this was actually a video tour and guide to what happens at the theatre for visitors on the autism spectrum and other sensory issues. So I watched from the start and was very impressed with how the video was laid out and clearly a lot of research and consideration had been given to it’s production. You can watch the video here and I recommend you do.

Lesson 2: always remember the audience you are designing for, not yourself or your own perceptions.

The DMT Theatre Etiquette Guide. Click to visit full version. (c) Delfont MacKintosh Theatres

I continued to click around the site and came across this absolute gem, the Delfont MacKintosh Theatres’ Etiquette Guide. The playful nature of this guide reminds me of when air safety announcements are done really well. It is succinct, amusing, visually appealing and very much in tune with the theatre setting and the grand Victorian and Edwardian design many of them boast. 


Some people may find the theatre off putting or fear it is elitist etc, but I hope this guide gives them the confidence to come and enjoy the proceedings feeling prepared and informed, but not lectured.

Lesson 3: keep it light, keep it succinct, keep it on theme, give it visual appeal, break up the tedium of rules and instructions.

The show itself also boasted a set design of pure genius with some of the best theatre special effects I have seen in a long time, especially the gory ones but I will not go into detail on those as I don’t want to let any spoilers out should you be going to attend, and I wholeheartedly recommend you do!

So, where have you recently been that has peeked the design centre of your brain or given you a left field idea to incorporate into your e-learning or training designs?


Please feel free to comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: