Award-wining video game designer Jenova Chen once said “creativity is not talent but attitude” and we could not agree more. We can all train our minds to be creative by immersing ourselves in a whole range of things that we can use as inspiration in our daily lives.
Great ideas can come from a whole host of sources, so we decided to compile a list of the apps, podcasts, books, articles, and just about everything in between that has been inspiring us recently. Here are the things the O team has been enjoying – we are curious to know what you have been drawing inspiration from!
Bear – It’s not rare that we experience lightbulb moments in the most unexpected of circumstances, sometimes with our laptops far from reach and only our phones on hand to save the day. For the longest time, the generic notes app has served us well, although its lack of structure and limited features soon started turning our creativity off. Until we discovered Bear. There is something truly satisfying about Bear’s user-friendly interface that does not sacrifice beautiful design over high speed and versatility. What we love most about this app is how easy it is to browse through your notes and personal hashtags, which makes it the perfect app for anyone fiercely passionate about organisation and pretty notetaking. (Sadly, though, the app is currently exclusively available for iOS users).
Unfold – Speaking of organisation and gorgeous layouts – Unfold is the go-to app for Instagram stories that stand out. Not only is it incredibly easy to use, but it also offers eight packs of layout templates that are so versatile they can suit any theme and aesthetic you might be going for. What is even better is that, unlike many other layout apps we have tried, Untold works on a single-purchase basis, getting rid of restrictive premium memberships. Aside from the built-in free layouts pack, layout pack prices range from £0.90 to £1.99, which makes it even more satisfying to use.
Headspace – We know that feeling passionate about your work can sometimes take up a lot of headspace, making it hard to disconnect. While we know that handling stress and mental health is a very personal topic that everyone approaches differently, we really stand behind this game-changing app. Headspace is a London-based company offering guided meditation services that not only help you take a break from work and offer the opportunity to de-stress, but also works wonders for anxiety and insomnia.
Superbrand, so what? – A look inside at one of the UK’s most recognised brands, Biffa’s head of marketing Guy Maddock reveals what it’s like to be classed as a ‘superbrand’ and how a business can use that title for a commercial advantage.
Conversations with Friends – If you have walked past any bookstore recently, the name Sally Rooney will likely ring a bell. Her two books, the first ones she has ever published, have caused a phenomenon among avid readers, one comparable to the hype only well-seasoned authors seem to stir. Rooney’s prose is sharp, clever, unpredictable, and surprisingly relatable, even if many struggle to describe the plotlines of her books. What we enjoyed the most about Conversations with Friends (Rooney’s debut) is not so much the narrative structure – which, at a first glance, does not seem particularly complicated – but the author’s fine social commentary. Conversations with Friends has perhaps some of the best dialogue in recent fiction and a breath-taking underlying feminist analysis of the dynamics between love and friendship, hate and admiration, social class and moral values, politics and gender.
The Daily – We really value being up to date with world affairs, but sometimes staying in the loop can get confusing and frustrating. If you feel the same, you will really enjoy The New York Times’ news and politics podcast. They are doing a fantastic job analysing international news and producing easily-digestible, half-hour pieces explaining the who? what? where? when? and why? constituting current affair news stories, each episode just the right amount of information for listeners to not feel overwhelmed. Truly a must-listen for those curious to have a clearer understanding of what is going on in the world.
Serial – We know there has been an abundance on new true crime shows recently but we cannot recommend this podcast enough. It doesn’t have half of the gritty and gore-y details of most shows, instead betting on host Sarah Koenig’s phenomenal journalistic style to capture your attention and keep you thinking about the story she unfolds one episode at a time. The podcast’s first season is notoriously brilliant, so much so that HBO is in the works to produce a docuseries based on Koenig’s research. Every episode is easy to follow and does a great job at refreshing your memory about names, characters, and how facts are interconnected, so there is really no reason why you wouldn’t want to give it a try!
Getting Curious with Johnathan Van Ness – If you enjoyed the cast of Netflix’s Queer Eye, then you are absolutely going to be hooked on Getting Curious. There is something truly comforting about spending 40 minutes every week with host Johnathan Van Ness, whose quest to unpack and seek answers to his curiosities about the world is just as entertaining as it is unexpectedly informative. The podcast does not have a particular theme, but the format is very easy to get used to – every week a new expert comes on the show to share their insights on topics such as “Why Is Immigration a Queer Issue?”, “What Is The Tea with Vaccines, Hunty?” or “How Can You Turn Marginalization Into Activism?”.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman – We have been long-time fans of Letterman’s humour and wit, so when his Netflix-original show came out last year we were particularly excited to see what he had in store next. With guests such as Barack Obama, Tina Fey, Malala Yousafzai or Jay-Z, the bar was set really high for the season two – and it delivered! Released all at once at the end of May, the five new episodes depict conversations between Letterman and guests such as Melinda Gates, Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West. Definitely worth the watch if you are curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the lives and minds of world-renowned creatives – we definitely felt inspired!
Fleabag – We know we may be a bit late to join the bandwagon, but this show is so brilliant we had to mention it. Described as a comedy-drama, the show depicts the tumultuous life of a quirky and nonconformist young woman living in London. We fell in love with the smart humour authored by screenwriter and lead actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge from the first season, but it’s most recent episodes, released in April, truly stand out as genius. The show only has a total of twelve half-hour episodes so far, which means you can easily binge watch it on BBC iPlayer!
Explained – Netflix has a lot of really good docuseries we would encourage you to explore, but if we had to pick one that caught our attention the most, it would definitely have to be Vox’s Explained. We are big fans of the investigative work Vox has been producing on YouTube, so the idea of more in-depth content about complex contemporary topics made perfect sense to us. There are fifteen episodes in total, each narrated by a different celebrity (of which Kristen Bell, Yara Shahidi and Nick Kroll are amongst), which makes the experience feel like a podcast, but visual! Among some of our favourite episodes are ‘Designer DNA’, ‘Astrology’ or ‘Political Correctness’, but we really recommend you go through all of them and discover your own favourites.