My inspiration: Aardman Digital's Gavin Strange

Aardman Digital's senior designer Gavin Strange tells us why his DVD collection, vinyl toys, music and architecture are his top sources of inspiration.

People find inspiration in anything and everything. A source or item that one artist may treasure, another may discard, meaning ideas for the most beautiful designs can resonate from some unexpected places.

Gavin Strange

This week, we asked senior designer Gavin Strange to reveal his top sources of inspiration. By day, Gavin works in the digital department at Aardman animations and by night goes under the alias of the JamFactory.

Read on to find out why his limited, but specific DVD collection and vinyl toys inspire him so much...

The work of director Spike Jonze DVD

"I first came across this DVD in HMV in 2003 when I just stumbled across the Director series on a shelf. I became hooked immediately and ending up buying the Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry ones as I'm a fan of them all.

"Since college - where I should have been thinking about graphic design, not film! - I've always harboured dreams of being a film maker. Spike Jonze is the epitome of film makers for me as he's made a career with skateboard movies, music videos, cool commercials and feature films.

I absolutely love it and regularly pop it on for some fresh inspiration.

"His body of work is all presented in this 'The Work of...' DVD and I absolutely love it and regularly pop it on for some fresh inspiration. I don't own any DVDs anymore, I got rid of them all but I kept this one and a few of the other 'Work of' DVDs as they're just so inspirational."

This impressive compilation features some of Jonze's most famous music videos, including Sure Shot by The Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim's Praise You

The Clifton Suspension Bridge

"I moved to Bristol in 2004 and my first flat was in Clifton (where the bridge is located). Because I worked for myself, I would take myself up to the bridge most days to get some fresh air and eat my lunch. I've been in love with it ever since.

"It's something I never, ever, tire of - it really is a sight to behold. There's no better feeling than being away from Bristol, then coming back into the city and being greeted by this huge structure spanning the Avon gorge.

It makes me so proud to call Bristol 'home'.

"It's just a beautiful piece of architecture and engineering. I still visit the bridge often and just sit on the grass beside it to watch the world go by and gather my thoughts. I've just moved from Clifton to South of the river Avon, which means I get to see the bridge every day from a distance and I love it. It makes me so proud to call Bristol 'home'."

The world famous bridge and iconic symbol of Bristol was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831


"I'm always into what apps are new and interesting, and Spotify is just perfect for me. I've used it since it was launched. It's a cliche I know, but music is a huge inspiration and Spotify means I can pretty much listen to anything, anywhere, at any time. There's not a day that goes by that I don't listen to something.

"I'm inspired by all kinds of music - from the rhymes in hip-hop to the aggression in metal, my mood can be really influenced by music and that means my creative output is too, which I love."

Spotify is a Swedish music streaming service, which, as of July 2011, provides a catalogue of approximately 15 million songs

Boris by Pete Fowler

"I got bought Boris for my birthday in 2004. I remember that because I was taken to Bristol for a little weekend away and I ended up renting the basement flat in the B&B house I stayed in that day! I've been a toy fiend ever since.

I love being surrounded by little faces and having characters hidden all over the place.

"But little did I know that it would lead to not only a big collection of vinyl toys but also to my very own series of toys being produced (4 in total!).

"I love being surrounded by little faces and having characters hidden all over the place giving a splash of colour and life to where I create things. Also, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Pete Fowler a few years back. He is such a hero of mine and I was blown away by what a lovely bloke he is. It's ace when your heroes are so nice!"

Pete Fowler first started to design toys with Sony Creative Products in 2001. Boris is part of his well known Monsterism series

Mister Cartoon on The Run Up DVD

"There's something about moving images that really inspire me and The Run Up is no different. It's a film put together by Upper Playground and is a collection of interviews with prolific artists, designers and creatives from around the world.

His no-bullshit approach and wise words resonate with me time and time again.

"I originally heard about it when my friend Mr Jago gave me a copy as he features in the film itself, and I fell in love with the wide range of people on the film. My absolute favourite, and a section I come back to again and again, is the profile of L.A Tattooist 'Mister Cartoon'. His no-bullshit approach and wise words resonate with me time and time again."

The Run Up DVD features one-on-one interviews with some of the world's leading graffiti and street artists, designers and photographers

What are your design classics? Let us know in the comments box below...