I’ve always been aware of Paul Smith’s sharp suits and stripes but not much more. What piqued my interest last year was reading about his ‘ideas room’ when we were talking about our version at AB. It looked like total chaos but his mantra is ‘ideas come from anywhere’.
Soon after there was lots of publicity about a Paul Smith Exhibition at the Design Museum in London. So I did some research, bought a book (Paul Smith A to Z) and set off for the South Bank. The exhibition was a little disappointing and only partially successful in summarising a 50 year career. So later that day I went to his new flag ship store on Albermale Street and was dazzled. Incredible looking staff, all super polite and intrigued when I told them about why I was there. The store was a knocking together of two shops with an extraordinarily eclectic fit out and I subsequently discovered that no two Paul Smith shops are the same. Cleverly he works with the space rather than forcing anything.
What I took from it all is that it’s vital to be always moving forward, new inspiration can come from anywhere, anyone. His theory on his achievements includes his dyslexia (diagnosed but not addressed) meaning he doesn’t think in a purely rational way; his brain is not formatted for linear thinking and is constantly interrupted by thousands of ideas; he has retained the soul of a child and remains curious about everything.
“Ideas can come from anywhere – you can take inspiration from anything.”
Author: Ed Burnand
Ed's focus is on strategy and management and he has been responsible for the development of numerous innovative client projects across brand, digital, advertising and film. He inspires confidence and believes that planning and knowledge are critical to producing effective communications. He has over 20 years of client-side and consulting experience in the UK and internationally having worked at Tequila London and Telewest Broadband (now Virgin Media).