Design studio focused on book design, illustration, and environment design



The Mental Kaleidoscope: No such thing as a new idea

The Mental Kaleidoscope

Mountain 1 by Laura Brown, as seen through a kaleidoscope

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

Mark Twain,

Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review

Quoted from Good Reads

“There is no such thing as a new idea.”

Try as we may to create original work, we have been influenced by the things we have seen and read. Our task is gather as great a variety of images and ideas as possible, and arrange them in such a way that they exactly meet the requirements of the project we have in front of us. If we do our job well, the problem we were given and the solution we find will align perfectly.

There is a great value to that fitting, that matching of key to lock, and we should be proud of a job well done. But not too proud. As designers or artists, writers or thinkers, we should approach our work with humility, recognizing that the things we produce have roots that go back deeper than we can imagine.

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