While Autodesk University has been a premiere event for the product design community for quite a few years now, there has historically been little to offer in the form of concept design, design sketching, and general creative inspiration outside of the CAD/CAM world. This year however, Autodesk launched their first-ever CAVE Conference with the goal of bringing some of the top creatives in the world of product design and other creative fields to share some of their insights on how they approach the design process, tricks they use to spearhead their creativity, and how they keep their already-exploding-with-creativity minds fresh with new ideas. Here we’ve rounded up ten of our favorite creativity-boosting insights from a few of the impressive speakers ranging from industrial design sketching masters Scott Robertson and Spencer Nugent to Coraline author Neil Gaiman and actor John Cleese.

1) “Newborn ideas need nurturing. If you attack them without logic, you’ll strangle them.” – John Cleese


2) “A large amount of my concept work starts with finding shapes in crumpled pieces of paper and other abstract elements that I draw inspiration from.” -Scott Robertson


3) “When you draw from observation you build your visual vocabulary.” -Spencer Nugent


4) “When I create, I shut out all outside distractions and have one rule for myself: I will let myself look out the window and daydream.” -Neil Gaiman


5) “If you want to see what the future of transportation design looks like, then study old car designs.” -Daniel Simon


6) “In visual futurism, the line between total fantasy and futuristic is a thread of reality.” -Syd Mead


7) “Play (in creativity) is not possible unless you separate it from everyday life.” -John Cleese


8) “Mirror-based iPhone apps (Mirrorgram) are extremely powerful interactive design tools that can be used anywhere to find inspiration from new forms.” -Scott Robertson


9) “The Photoshop Cutout Filter is a lot more powerful than you think: Use it to find abstract forms that can be used to create real products.” -Scott Robertson


10) “People ask me about writer’s block. The truth is, between all of my good and bad days, the final book doesn’t show which days were good and which days were bad…if I just keep moving, the final product is the sum of all parts.” -Neil Gaiman



Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.