Image by Rockstar Games

Turning procrastination into inspiration.

An ex-colleague of mine recently shared on Facebook a blog post written by a Polish developer, named Tomasz Dziurko. The post titled ‘Why Sometimes I Hate Myself’, goes on to describe his frustrations in meeting the high expectations of an aspiring developer, with the sacrifice of shrouding his true-self and what he loved to do away from coding.

I felt a somewhat strong resonance to what I had read as a lot of his points applied to my own life process and how I apply it to my work as a Digital Art Director.

You see, I’m not the most outspoken and articulate individual, but I am a firm believer in my ways of sourcing fuel for creativity. I don’t have the longest attention span so I tend to read few books and gravitate more towards the shorter forms of literature such as articles, blogs and discussion boards. What I love about opinions are that they offer you a different perspective to what you’re seeing, whether they’re right or wrong.

When I get home, I tend to switch off from what I do all day as a designer. Though, subconsciously my brain is still at work gathering resources for when I return to my desk and log in.

From my early years as a teen up until now in my early thirties, you could say I wasted time playing video games. But it’s fair to say that I can attribute a majority of my inspiration and influence to my design work from this - especially in the digital and interactive space. How a menu animated, a button appeared on screen, an object glinted to grab your attention, how a sound suggested you to perform an action or to watch your step. Years of playing video games, stored in a memory vault for me to use towards my own creativity.

When I’m not designing, I pretend I’m in the NBA.

Film, TV and sports. As with video games, I can resurface things from my subconscience: how a film’s graded, the framing of a scene, ‘WOW those graphics that popped up looked cool’. In fact, it was Imaginary Forces’ opening title sequence to Se7en and then watching Kyle Cooper talk about his process at an AGIDEAS conference in Melbourne that inspired me to work with motion and interaction.

Se7en (1995) title sequences. Image courtesy of

Architecture, industrial design and landscapes I see on my daily ventures outside also add to my experiences. Geometry, tones and shapes are everywhere I look.

Hobbies are a great distraction but also invaluable to keeping inspired. The studio I work in, Pollen, is a small team filled with extremely talented folk. Each of them have their own interests outside of work hours: travel, food, music, fishing, woodwork, football, skateboarding, mountain biking to name a few. I grew up by the ocean and love to be in the surf, a perfect place to gather your thoughts. Photography is also a recent passion I’ve found, it keeps me creative without it ever feeling like work. I digress, were we talking about distractions?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think that I do great work when I’m at my happiest and most motivated. When I’m doing a repetitive task, I lose interest and feel the need to close my eyes and be doing something else. When I’m deprived of something I love to do, I’ll want to do it even more.

And I think this is where I establish my philosophy. Take a break and do other things that make you happy. You’ll come back extra motivated, working at your best, and those seemingly useless experiences will become useful to you at some stage of your life.

Others will share a different opinion and I know that every human being works in their own unique way. Do what works for you.


Hugo Vann works as an Art Director at Pollen, Sydney.


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