I’m a designer, therefore I collect things. We all do. We keep hoards of paper and print samples, collect tee shirts with great typography or vintage art on them, and just tend to keep extensive collections of stuff. When I attended the HOW Design Conference in San Francisco in 2014, the opening keynote was Austin Kleon (artist and author “Steal Like an Artist”) and he said, “Artists are collectors, not hoarders.” This is so true. We do collect things, but we’re not scary hoarders who end up on reality TV with poop in jars.
I collect many things, but my collections must serve a purpose since I have very little space in my townhouse. One of the things I started collecting last year were the Starbucks city/state/country mugs. I completely fell in love with the “You Are Here” collection, which is heavily graphic, brightly colored and uses clean typography. I do enjoy the global icons as well, but I’m not as thrilled with the typography and lack of bold colors. My favorite is the relief collection, but that is only available for very select cities.
As designers, we are constantly looking for inspiration and we try to surround ourselves with very well designed things. I consider my mug collection one of those things. I was doing a conference branding last year for a running company, and I was inspired by the color palette of my Orange County mug, which I ended up using for the branding as the event took place in southern California. When I did a travel-themed campaign for my company, the simple, colorful illustrations on the mug inspired the style I was looking for.
If you see my collection in its entirety, I probably do look like a bit of a hoarder, but the bottom line is that I actually use them all. I drink lots of coffee and hot tea, so I rotate my mugs around to make sure they all get used. I also will not allow the collection to expand beyond what can be held in this bookshelf. And finally, it’s responsible for two really great design ideas I had, so I figure that’s worth the space invested.
Get inspired by my collection and share yours. What do you like to collect? What inspires your designs?