Inspirations: top creatives reveal the objects that fire their imaginations

From a painting to the Guggenheim Museum and Q-Tip, creative leaders share the objects that bring them daily inspiration.

Smoke 2

by Delphine Lebourgeois 

Nicky Bullard, chairwoman and chief creative officer, MRM Meteorite

Smoke 2 by Delphine Lebourgeois sits on my wall.  She has secured her moment out of the madness, taking a big drag on life, ready to exhale some answers. This picture often makes me stop what I’m doing and take a couple of minutes to think about stuff above the everyday.

Standing Dog 

by Christopher Marvell 

Rosie Arnold, creative partner and 
head of art, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

There is something about 3D objects that lifts my soul. I bought this three years ago. Every time I see him, I smile. It is the jaunty lift of the ear, the set of the head, the kink of the tail. It takes a great artist to create something so simple but with so much essence of dog. Christopher Marvell has achieved the simplicity that I think all artists are working towards. It’s what I try to do with my own work – boil everything down to the essence.

ZX Spectrum 

Iain Tait, executive creative director, Wieden & Kennedy London

The ZX Spectrum was the genesis of everything for me. I could plug it into the TV and take over the screen. Even if it just repeated "Iain is skill" over and over again.


by Marcel Duchamp

Nicolas Roope, co-founder and executive creative director, Poke

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain is probably the object commanding the most influence over how I think and how I regard creativity. Decoupling the thought from the making is like splitting the atom.

This little fella 

Ben Middleton, CCO, Creature

This little fella has lived on my desk for years. I like him being there, because he’s a constant reminder to me that we’re running one of the agencies that is an outlaw in this industry world of holding-company homogeny. And it was a "gift" from my eldest daughter, when she came to visit Creature. She said he’d "keep me safe from wankers", and it’s worked. Mostly.


Dave Monk, ECD, Publicis London

A man who convinced me as an art director to fall in love with words.

The Ouse Valley Viaduct

Andy Jex, CCO, TBWA\London

Every day, I trundle over these 37 arches on my commuter train. The forest views open out into a spectacular panorama. At 95 feet up, it’s the closest Southern Rail will ever get to flight. I never fail to drop everything, look out and drink in the vista. It’s a dreamy mini-meditation; my inspirational bookends for the day. But the real treat is left for those that arrive by foot and venture under it. 

The Guggenheim Museum 

Sir John Hegarty, creative director 
and partner, The Garage Soho

The Guggenheim Museum in New York. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It confounded conventional thinking by being built on a circular platform. The viewer rides to the top of the museum and gradually walks down a spiral pathway. A unique way of viewing. It stands as a remarkable piece of design against the buildings that surround it. Encouraging the public to embrace difference before they’ve crossed the building’s threshold. One more remarkable fact: Lloyd Wright died at the age of 91, six months before the museum opened. His greatest creation produced at the end of his life. Who says you have to be young to be brilliant?

Uniform Wares Watch 

Jeavon Smith, executive creative director, Amplify

My Uniform Wares watch is a constant reference to the beauty of simplicity in design and that, more often than not, less is more. Inspired by British factory clocks (that were made in my home town), it’s a small piece of home that acts as a reminder of the need to work hard, 
then work harder still, in the pursuit of great creative.

Reprezent FM 

Laurence Thomson, co-president and chief creative officer, McCann London

Every morning I wake up and, while getting my daughter ready for the day ahead, I tune in to my favourite source of inspiration of late: Reprezent FM. This station is the sound of young London and, for half an hour every day, it helps me get back in touch with me – but a younger me. It’s a true source of inspiration, because all of its output is, to some degree, fresh, new and exciting… everything that creativity should be built on. It’s the platform for, and from, young Britain. I’m listening and being creatively inspired. Tune in.


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