DESIGN CLASSICS: Mark Lee of brand agency Uniform

From LEGO to classic Penguin books to the original iMac: find out why these items are senior artist Mark Lee's top sources of inspiration.

Inspiration is everywhere. Emotion, life, art, music, the list of what can influence the creative mind is endless. So, fascinated by what really makes them tick, we asked some to lovely designers to reveal what inspires them the most. Up this week is...

Mark Lee

Mark Lee

Mark Lee is a senior artist at Liverpool-based brands communications agency Uniform. After graduating with a first-class Honours in Computer Animation in 2005, he has gone on to firmly establish himself in the architectural visualisation industry, leading film work at Uniform.

Lee has worked with some of the most influential architects in the world as well as clients including the BBC, Carlsberg and Unilever. He is also a regular contributor to many CG magazines and blogs and has won various industry awards including ones from Roses Creative Awards and CGArchitect.

Eiffel DAW Chair by Eames

"When I first started out in the architectural visualisation industry, my first job was to tackle the massive task or organising Uniform’s mammoth library of 3D resources, most of which were pieces of furniture. From knowing absolutely nothing about furniture, I quickly developed a passion for furniture design and the appreciation of form, texture and how they could complement their environment. I think learning about furniture in this way has had a huge effect on me as an artist and the way I look at most objects, not just furniture.

"The DAW chair was an instant favourite of mine and the relationship between the three materials seemed to work perfectly for every scene I used the chair in. So good in fact, I’ve just bought six of them for my new dining room table, and they work perfectly in there too!"

The Charles Eames Eiffel chair is highly stylish, with a sleek look, which makes it suitable around a dining table and an office

iMac - Jonathan Ive

"When I was 16, as part of my GCSE Graphic Design course I had to choose an item of design that inspired me and write an essay on why that was. Fast forward 12 years and here I am again, referencing the same piece.

"The original iMac, designed by Jonathan Ive was a massive turning point for me both with computers and also design. All I’d known up to that point were beige chunky boxes, and the radical organic shape and bold colours blew my mind and opened up the entire computer industry to the concept that computers could also look good as well as be functional. That ethos has been a driving force behind why I’m an artist today."

In 1998 the first ever iMac - the brainchild of Apple's head of design Jonathan Ive - was presented to the world

Lego - Ole Kirk Christiansen

"I challenge you to find someone that doesn’t love LEGO. We’ve all grown up with those brilliant little blocks, and the sheer simplicity of their design enables folk, young and old, to delve into their inner designer and craft their own magical worlds.

"If you can imagine it, you can build it, and boy do we build things with the 36 billion bricks produced each year. I used to eagerly await a new LEGO set each year on my birthday growing up and, even now, unwrapping birthday presents from my wife and seeing that famous red, yellow and white logo still puts a huge grin on my face."

For more on LEGO, check out our feature on LEGO art

Ole Kirk Christensen invented the first LEGO bricks in 1949. Image credit: Nathan Sawaya http://brickartist.com/

The T-Rex Jurassic Park

"Not a design classic in the traditional sense, but this single piece of work was the driving force in me wanting to pursue a career in all things CG. I remember watching Jurassic Park and having that 'eureka' moment, where you think, 'wow that’s cool, I wanna do that'. I’m not quite animating dinosaurs for a living now, but I’m certainly striving for the perfection they crafted in her (remember, all the dinos in the film are female!)."

Penguin books - Edward Young

"My uncle is an avid collector of the classic Penguin books, and his house has a huge floor to ceiling shelf containing his collection. The design principles for the covers are pure, clean and to the point, making his library a beauty to look at, let alone read.

"It’s a pity more books don’t follow these ideas today, as my book shelves for one are ashamedly a mismatch of badly designed covers, of which most would look instantly better by the removal of the dust jacket. I always try to squeeze a Penguin classic or two into my interior arch vis images where appropriate, although I’m yet to pick up the baton and actually start collecting them myself…"

Edward Young joined Penguin Books in 1935 and was the man behind the above cover scheme and the original Penguin logo

For more on Penguin, read our article, 20 inspirational Penguin book cover designs

What do you think of Mark's choices? What inspires you? Let us know in the comments box below...

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