We all have context. Every product you design, every job you do, every email you write all have something that came before it. None of us live and create in a vacuum. All too often, the things we design, do, and write are basically copies of things that have done in the past. We don’t take the time or creative energy to turn it into something new.
However, when we do take that time; When we flip something on its head, we end up with something new. Sure, originals have their place, but I love to hear a cover that completely changes the original meaning
The original by Iggy Azalea is a good song, but I actually like the Dunn version even better. Whenever, I play it for someone younger than me their eyes pop open and feel that they have been shown something new.
This video is made ironically, but really changed the entire song from Easy E. Easy E is a classic, but this cover makes my brain explode.
I loved the Nine Inch Nails version but when I heard Johnny Cash, my whole understanding of the song changed. It wasn’t about a teenager who is feeling angst, it’s an old person afraid of dying! It blew my mind!
George Michael had a 80’s staple with this song, but when I heard the Limp Bizkit version my head exploded. I jumped out of my seat.
These are song examples, but I try to do the same thing when I am designing business software. I look at other software and try to flip it on its head. How can I make it cool, while still drawing inspiration from the original? Things I’ve designed:
- Hotkoko was inspired by intuit QuickBase
- Marketo Smart Campaigns were inspired by IBM Rational Rose
- Marketo Engagement Streams were inspired by Trello
- Engagio Scout was inspired by Lever.co
- Obo was inspired by Google Wave
Most of my designs are cover songs. However, I never just replay the song. I try to do what Johnny Cash and others above did. I flip it on its head and add something new and special to it.
What inspires you?