CottageSignShoppe; Etsy

Today I will be talking about what inspires me in my designing life and a few things I have been working on this past year. It has been a very crazy year, from moving to a new city to having one of my most creative periods in my entire *short* life! Next year should be a little better as I will not be moving. Originally the plan was to move back to Tampa, but our stay in Baton Rouge has been extended by two years (quickly throws evil eyes at my dad). So at least I will have some stability in my life before college. Enough about my personal life (this is not a life blog or a Facebook page), lets talk about the things I create, why, and what inspires me…you know the stuff you want to read.

At the top of this post I have a picture of the Guimard Paris Metro signage that was designed for the 1890’s Worlds Fair at the height of Art Nouveau. And in case that did not give away the fact we are going to be talking about Paris and metro-systems then hopefully this sentence will. For me Paris represents what every city could be; dense, highly organized and interconnected population centers with a multitude of living styles and attractions united by rich history and culture. For the hell of it I wanted to see what Baton Rouge would look like as Paris and it really puts into perspective the lack of proper development and farsighted political thinking this nation has no dearth of. It shows on a humble scale what Baton Rouge (and many American Cities in general) could be, but sadly are not.

Baton Rouge-Paris map

Thanks Post-War urban planners

The whole city of Paris could fit within the confines (with a few small adjustments here and there) of the cities current limits combined with those of West Baton Rouge and still have some room left over. It is a sad reality, but I problem I was inspired to fix.

You see, for me cities like Paris, London, or Berlin all provide inspiration for me. They showcase what a city can be and that excites me. Paris excites me the most simply because of Haussmann’s renovation of the city (which is responsible for creating what we now see Paris as). The renovation included the creation of Paris’ bullet straight boulevards, uniform building styles, great size, and even department stores. I think the biggest thing these cities have that inspire me is unity. In a lot of the cities I have lived in they lack this, everyone one lives in their own suburb. This has led to our cities being thinly developed, but developed in a way that makes it hard to fix the problems that style of development brought. Take Atlanta, a city notorious for sprawl and try to design a network of roads that connect the city like Paris’ boulevards. Sure, you may be able to make some progress downtown, but the moment you leave downtown you find yourself ripping through communities. The truth is that while sprawl lets us live in our own worlds it also destroys the convenience of living in a unified world. I could take this further and try to link this up with why American politics are becoming divisive, but for the sake of myself and you the reader I won’t but I encourage you to mull on the concept.

The bottom line is that unity is the largest factor that drives my creative life. Whether it be artistic, branding, architectural, developmental, etc. unity is my subway. So when I make any plan I think to myself “How can I unify a community through this?”, “How can I make this united with the areas culture and architecture?”…you get the idea. In one of my most recent designs unity was a big factor. It was a transportation branding for really any city (though I was thinking about Baton Rouge when I made it). Everything from the font, to the color palate, to the typeface, and even symbolism behind the logos.

subway logo

bus logo

ferry logointerstate logorailway logo

So as you can hopefully see I like coherence and unity. This is why making a plan for Baton Rouge is so hard, there is virtually no unity in the city. Anyways this is where Paris and even DC come back in…

One thing that really interests me are metro maps. Their clean lines and *most of the time* easy to read nature. The first metro map that I was introduced to was the DC Metro map when my family visited in 2011. The city was impressive and it certainly left a mark on me design wise, but the metro map left a really big impression on me. Since then I have of course discovered the world of metro maps (this is a topic I will discuss in more detail in the future.). The metro map has really helped me in designing a metro system and eventual plan for Baton Rouge. So add that to the list of things that inspire me.

Awesome map by TransitMaps; Tumblr

The final thing that really inspires me is culture/history. In my first post here I talked about Baton Rouge history and learning about this cities and states history has helped me fall in love with it and enjoy my stay here. So whenever I make a plan I research the places culture and history and it has always inspired me to create different things.

I will end on encouraging you all to find what inspires you and embrace it. Maybe even try to discover something new that inspires you, the internet has made it easier. I encourage you all to use that to your advantage and go make something beautiful. As always, thanks for joining the revolution!