In Design and Inspiration

Why I’m Taking “Inside Walks” for Design Inspiration

Meet Mitch Goldstein

I want to introduce you to the latest designer I’m digging: Mitch Goldstein. I’ve been familiar with Mitch’s work for a while, but have never had the pleasure of seeing him speak until the Create Upstate design conference. After which, I haven’t stopped talking about how inspired I am by his presentation.

Mitch calls himself a “designer and educator.” If you ask me, though, I’d call him a master creator and problem solver. Mitch is a writer and designer with work that spans book covers and websites, way-finding and even rugs. He was the principal of a design studio, Hypothesis, Ltd., and has taught graphic design at RISD, MICA, VCU, and RIT. But it’s his “Inside Walk” project that really made an impression.

The computer is just a tool

Truth is, our brains didn’t evolve with computers in mind. We’ve adapted, like any animal, but our biological elements still need fresh perspective more often than you think. And, especially in the creative world, we can get so caught up in minute details that we may forget that computers are just tools. They help us be detailed and get stuff done quickly (sometimes to our own detriment) but they can’t actually help us think. They don’t feed our brains.

From weight loss to brain gain

Mitch Goldstein began taking walks to lose weight. Simple 30 minute walks a day and some edits to his diet helped him lose 75 pounds and find his comfortable “panda-bear shape.” But, while he began walking to lose weight, his inside walks took him away from the computer and actually taught him to gain weight – “the weight of curiosity.”

inside walks

Image from by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein

Learning to walk inside

Mitch’s 30-minute walks did wonders for his body, stress, and happiness. He and his wife (both artists) wanted to bring that same freshness to their design work and figured they start simply – with walks.

“Inside walks” are 30 minutes spent making something. They’re not spent focused on making anything well, interesting…or even trying to finish. They aren’t spent making something to be used elsewhere. They aren’t based on an assignment or goal. Inside walks are 30 minutes dedicated purely to creation for creation’s sake.

Like a carefree walk outside, inside walks help you “get in the habit of making, not thinking,” says Mitch. Making physical objects feeds the brain and fuels creativity. Using physical objects refreshes our human biology and re-calibrates our abilities to function away from computers.

Mitch and his wife have taken inside walks with everything from hot glue and ripped paper to paint, plastic, and even photo copies. Together, they’ve created hundreds of pieces of art that reflect the pure energy of the brain on creation.

A call to action

design inspiration

One of my own “Inside Walks” experimenting with ink

I was personally inspired by Mitch’s story to start my own inside walks. So far I’ve played with Legos, sketched careless shapes, and blown around ink. What could you create if you took 30 minutes to just let your mind walk? How could those 30 minutes help you find design inspiration, or simply change your perspectives for the day?

Take a moment to visit Mitch’s blog on Inside Walks or read how he tells the story himself. Trust me, this one will stick with you.

This blog was inspired by Create Upstate, “a conference tailor-made for designers and makers of wonderful things in Upstate New York.”

Feature image from by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein


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