Author: Jenna Wass

Drawing on Inspiration

It all started when I was helping at the UX in the City: Manchester conference in May of this year, with an entreaty from my colleague, Jacqui.

“We need someone to do Thought of the Day – Jenna, you’re pretty arty, go on, you do it!”

Jacqui’s one of those people who is so positive and full of sunshine that to refuse her something is like stepping on a kitten. You just can’t bring yourself to do it.

cat image

Saying it like that makes doing the Thought of the Day sound like a hardship – it really isn’t, I’m just being precious.

Gollum image

You see, at our various events, not only do we provide sensational talks and workshops that stretch the mind and get people talking, we like to delight, inspire and make people smile. One of the ways we do this is through the Thought of the Day, usually a quote that can be in turn uplifting, thought-provoking, or maybe even a bit silly and designed to get a giggle. And, who am I kidding, I blummin’ love a bit of a draw!

Anyway, I digress..

‘Go Jenna, you do it!’

And this was the first one:

Thought of the Day Sun Image

It was a quick job. Colourful – dare I say inspirational – but, in all honesty, without much artistic merit. But people noticed! They read it as they walked past and a demure smile would cross their faces. I felt kinda warm and fuzzy inside. So the next day (you’ll guess the date), I got to thinking of how to pull in a relevant character alongside the idea that learning is a good thing (a message you hope would resonate at a UX conference), and I did this one:

Thought of the Day Yoda image

I’ll let you in on a secret: this is one of my favourites. It’s Yoda! But it also got me to thinking that using the face of a well known person (or alien?!) could be the way to go, as everyone will recognise them and that will make it more memorable.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I was at the fantastic Agile Cambridge event, held within Cambridge University at the prestigious Churchill College. Needless to say, I didn’t need to look far for inspiration, and decided to draw the man himself.

A quick internet search for Churchillian quotations easily provided something that was both motivating and profound:

Thought of the Day Churchill image

I was also tempted by, “Remember gentlemen, it is not just France we are fighting for, it’s champagne!”, which would have dovetailed nicely with our prosecco and punting social night, but I thought it may have seemed a little flippant. Did you know that Churchill was so into his champagne that when he died, his favourite producer, Pol Roger, put a black outline on all of its labels? No, me neither – until I did this! You learn something new every day…

Following Churchill, at the ever-popular Lean Agile Scotland, came Gandhi:


Thought of the Day - Einstein

…and, in homage to the conference location at Agile in the City: Bristol, a bit of Banksy:

Thought of the Day Banksy image

…a galleon:

…and even that evil arch-villain, Feathers McGraw:

Thought of the Day Feather McGraw image

So what to draw now? Looking ahead, the next conference is Service Design in Government in Edinburgh, taking place in March next year. (Hmm… a kilt? A quote from Disney’s Brave? Something blue from Billy Connolly may not be entirely appropriate…suggestions on a postcard!)

…Or maybe my itchy fingers can’t wait until then…stay tuned!