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How my commute inspires me

by Zoe Harrison | 29.02.2016
Working and living in London is amazing. But there’s one thing I find really difficult to get my head around. The commute. Mine is over an hour, there are three changes from SW15 to EC2A and my trains are delayed 80% of the time. It’s a stuffy, stressful experience and I wish my journey to work consisted of a pleasant 10 minute stroll down the road. Having said that, there is a silver lining. It’s developed into a time for me to reflect and get inspired, it’s when I come up with a lot of my ideas and I think I’d miss those 10/11 hours a week spend travelling to and from work if they were gone. I’ve mapped out my route to work, giving you the sights and sounds that get my creative juices flowing. If you hate your commute too maybe you could do the same.

 8.25: Putney Station
In this stint of my journey I have access to 4G. Facebook’s algorithm is smart, it picks up the things you click on most, and here are my scrolling picks according to Facebook (and myself). I’ve listed some of my favourite articles.

Mashable: Best for light-hearted marketing news and funny reports on anything that goes viral. Great for community managers who need to keep up with anything that’s trending.
Did social media kill fashion week once and for all?

Vice: Best for photography, weird stories about brothels, alternative politics and sub-cultures that we didn’t even know existed. If you want to be inspired by new trends, this is the place to come. We Spent 24 Hours in Brixton’s 24-Hour Jerk Chicken Shop

TED: Best for inspiring talks on literally anything you could imagine. Their speakers all have one thing in common, creative thinking. If you’re interested in thinking outside the box, this is the page to come to.


TASTY: The original Vine-esqe video recipe page (if that’s a thing?). From what I can see they’ve literally taken over the world with their ice-cream bread and red velvet truffles. I love TASTY, no.1 because the recipes are awesome and no.2 because they created a new way to show people how to cook.
Ice Cream Bread

Computer Arts: Pure design inspiration. I look to Computer Arts for technical tutorials, new fonts and articles straight from the designer’s mouth. They also love a good infographic.
50 amazing vector art tutorials

The Debrief: I love reading The Debrief’s matter-of-fact articles. They’re a true barometer to any angry 20-something living in London today. Following The Debrief is the perfect way to understand this audience. Topics include-stress, depression, mortgages, jobs, friends, house shares, food, makeup, relationships, etc.
Science says being broke can cause actual pain

 8.55: Waterloo station

Being one of the largest train stations in the UK, my arrival into Waterloo is usually met with some sort of spectacle. The most memorable have been a true assault on the senses and perfect examples of how advertising can make monotonous experiences such as getting to work that little bit more memorable. A few months ago, Jurassic park took over the station. A great way to start a Monday I would say.

9.00 Waterloo and city line to bank
For some reason TFL haven’t sorted out constant Wifi on the underground yet. The brief lack of connection to the internet gives me a chance to catch up on some reading. Every now and again it’s a book but mainly I take interest in the various handouts provided to me.
Time Out Tuesday’s are my favourite. They’ve developed a fantastic tone of voice and as a Social Media Exec I constantly used their subjects as inspiration when creating content for my clients. They represent a pretty broad spectrum of people in London and definitely give them a voice when it comes to anything going on. I love their ‘Word on the street’ feature although I’m not entirely sure all of it is true.
Check it out: Word On The Street
Also amazing for going’s on in London including restaurant openings and festivals. Such a great eye-opener if you’re interested in doing something a little different at the weekend.

9.10 Northern line to Old street
Underground advertising has always inspired me. Waiting for the tube on a busy platform isn’t the most pleasurable of experiences and most commuters are looking for literally anything to read during this time. What an amazing opportunity for advertisers to grab their attention. This TFL campaigns sure grabbed mine:

Travel Better London

It’s a great example of how picking the perfect illustrator can elevate a campaign. It makes light of a subject that isn’t particularly interesting or fun to talk about.

9.20 Old street station
I’m nearly at work and I can tell I’m in Shoreditch. Old street has undergone a regeneration recently, partnering with Appear Here, a pop-up agency. Every week I find new pop-ups occupying the shops in Old Street and they’re a true indicator of the creative culture in Shoreditch. What I see every week appearing in the station is what I should be interested in, it’s a real centre of innovation. For instance some of my work mates caught a women riding a donkey into the station the other day, apparently it was linked to a brand (!?).
A real highlight last week saw popular jazz band Emperical take over one of the shops. They did free performances and workshops all week. Being welcomed into Shoreditch by such a great band is a wonderful way to start the day.

9.25 Walk through Shoreditch

My five minute walk to the office is littered with incredible street art and doing this on a daily basis means I’m always one of the first to see it. Working in design, these artworks are a serious source of inspiration. Shoreditch street art sets trends and you can often find world class designers making their mark on the worn brickwork surrounding the area. One fantastic example stands proud on the main stretch of Old Street. Check out Camille Walala to learn more about her, she’s awesome.

camille walawa