'Get hands on with a tactile craft' - What Inspires Me, with MSL's Michael Dowell

The MSL creative director discusses what stirs his creativity.

IRL - fighting the zombie Zoom

Lockdown 2.0, here we go again. It’s made me realise how much I truly miss the energy of being with others and the ideas generated by unexpected conversations in the office. So what better way to stay inspired and combat isolation than by getting a virtual office buddy? Just give them a WhatsApp call, pop your phone on a stand and you’ve got someone to bounce ideas off when you need it.

It’s the closest way I’ve found to feel like you’re back in the studio. You can have those incidental chats, ask those silly questions and it’s a great way of making sure the culture of your workplace lives on.

Creatives on Instagram

I’ve always found social a great place for inspiration, but thinking about it I’ve gone through a few different social platforms. I used to get lost in Twitter conversations and creatives sharing thoughts and mainly woes, then moved on to trying my hardest to curate Pinterest boards around certain topics that may be of creative stimulus but now I find a lot of my pop culture reference comes from Instagram. Keeping a good eye across different channels is a really effective way of staying inspired. Many ideas come from collaborating with creative talent I’ve stumbled across.

Spotify’s algorithms - lazy but effective

I really rely on music to help me zone in on the matter at hand but when it comes to finding new music, I’ve become super lazy. I’ve tried making different playlist for different moods, following certain artists but if I’m honest I’m now more than happy for an algorithm to surprise me with a Discover Weekly playlist. All I’d suggest is get into a good habit of favouriting the ones you do like as you’ll never find them again.

Rare time to myself

Whether its daydreaming or thinking in the shower or when you can’t quite sleep, thoughts can become quite focussed unexpectedly, just don’t forget that pen and pad in hand to capture them.

Tailor days - experiencing a different type of craft

Before PR I used to be a tailor working in a shop selling Italian bespoke suits. I learnt so much from those days from some really talented tailors. It taught me a different, more tactile type of craft and the attention to detail is a thing of beauty. So, my inspo is get hands on with a tactile craft. Be it art, painting, whittling. Get hands on.

Chuck in a book for good measure

I’m about to get going on 'Mark Manson – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck'. It was a present and I think someone was trying to tell me something. I’ll keep you posted if it’s worth a read!


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