09/20/2011 02:30 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Inspiration, by Vera

Inspiration. Anyone working in design is on a constant search for it. We make inspiration boards, scour blogs and virtual pinboards and fill our heads and our lives with things we hope will make us better designers. Working for a company that houses the archives of an artist that so many claim to be their own "design resource" leaves no shortage of inspiration. Vera Neumann created over 8,000 prints in her lifetime. Her goal -- which she amazingly achieved -- was to create 1 print per day. All her. All strong. All original.

Vera was able to create so much because she was inspired by everything -- travel, culture, trends, seasons and nature. Every experience was a resource for her designs. Her mission was to create wearable illustrations inspired by her life. Even though she was inspired by everything around her, her travels were by far her largest visible inspiration. Back in the 1960s and '70s -- when the Vera Companies were in full swing, a single woman traveling around the world to exotic locales was almost unheard of. But Vera went everywhere -- India, Africa, Peru, Haiti, Europe -- and then would come home and design a collection based on what she had seen on her travels. Looking through the photos of those trips you can find anything from a gorgeous turquoise door in Morocco covered with intricate carvings to a cluster of flowers climbing up the side of a centuries old building in Germany. Surrounded by beauty like this, how could you not be inspired?

Today, companies like Anthropologie -- with their Man Shops Globe buyer-at-large Keith Johnson and dreamy internationally-shot catalogs -- are keeping this sense of travel-inspired work alive, filling their stores with "found objects" from exotic locales. But the real question is: how can we take a cue from Vera -- looking to the world around us for inspiration? What kind of inspiration is hiding in our own backyard? How can we look to our little neighborhood as a design resource?

Where is your inspiration coming from right now?