Synthwave, sketches and schooling, what's inspiring us?


From podcasts to influencers and galleries to digital courses, here's what's inspired the Sookio team this year. How about you?

Rory’s inspiration

1) Synthwave music

I’m super particular about the tunes I listen to while I work. Too lyrics-heavy and I end up singing along and having a wee gig in my head. Meanwhile, the tempo has got to facilitate a good pace of writing without provoking an impromptu one-man chair rave.

To that end, the lion’s share of my creative work this year has been brought to you by the likes of Carpenter Brut, Lazerhawk, and Pertubator.

Yes, I’m a hipster. What of it?

2) The LinkedIn musings of Mike Winnet

I focused my professional social media efforts on LinkedIn this year and I’m chuffed with the results. The platform was revived by Microsoft’s buyout, but with that influx of users came many a wannabe… ahem… ‘influencer,’ and a bevy of aspiring… ahem… ‘inspirational thought leaders.’ You know the type.

Mike Winnet is the antidote to this shower of delusional nitwits. His savage parodies of the worst pretentious wafflings on LinkedIn never fail to restore my faith in humanity. You won’t regret giving him a follow.

3) Generation Z

2018 highlighted what a naff generation I belong to. We were gifted with godlike communicative power and we used that power to whinge about Piers Morgan and eat Deliveroo.

In today’s new youth movement, I see genuine commitment to creating a better world; righteous anger directed at real-world injustices, from gun violence to economic inequality. They give me hope for a society where we’re united and governed as human beings, not consumers.

The world is yours. Please don’t screw it up like we did.

Marisa’s inspiration

1) Learning on the go

I’m absolutely enamored with podcasting as a medium. I know it’s not for everyone, but I’ll gladly sacrifice my music while commuting for podcast auditing – it makes me feel more productive while getting to and from work!

I love the bitesize Buffer podcast, The Science of Social Media; it keeps me up-to-date with social media trends and they’re only 15 minutes - suited to all attention spans! For a more thorough listen, Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History is a mellifluous pleasure, reinterpreting events and ideas from the past. For pure indulgence, the My Favorite Murder comedy podcast hits the spot; two American comediennes chatting about their favourite true crime tales (you may have to forgive the California vocal fry).

2) Get out of your comfort zone

I strongly recommend following accounts and influencers removed from your general interests – you may be pleasantly surprised! My other half loves tech and cars – definitely not my bag on Insta, but I find it really refreshing to learn techniques applied to other industries that you re-appropriate – nod to Marques Brownlee and Donut Media.  

Along the way, I also discovered YouTube sensation Peter Mckinnon, for budding filmmakers and photographers. He’s a fellow Canadian who gives outstanding tutorials on camera, video and editing skills. After watching one of his videos, you’ll definitely come away with new skills (and probably a hankering for coffee!).

3) Making organisation a visual delight

I wear a number of hats (who doesn’t!) so staying organised is paramount. I’ve reticently embraced a digital calendar that syncs across all platforms but, honestly, I love a hardcover diary. My trusty Moleskin weekly, with extensive notes pages, keeps me in check with all relevant tasks/aspirations/ramblings/Eureka moments at the ready.

It’s got to be visual delight as well; to keep things interesting I feed my logophilia by keeping a collection of words and turns of phrase I hear along the way - a great resource for later! And of course, a well-positioned doodle always puts a smile on my face.

Sue’s inspiration

1) Filling up on art

What visual treats have we had this year? Cornelia Parker on a surprisingly snowy birthday trip in March to Kettle’s Yard. A glittering rhino on the waterfront in Venice; Alexander Calder in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal. Laughing with my son at this terrible picture of a horse in the Grayson Perry-curated summer exhibition at the Royal Academy. Showing him the wonder of Picasso’s brushwork up close in Tate Modern. The picture defaced by a Suffragette in the National Gallery. The beautiful X-rayed Balenciaga gown at the V&A. Butterflies fluttering through kinetic sculptures at Cambridge Open Studios.

What a delicious mix. Taking my thoughts on unexpected tangents, giving me not just inspiration for my work, but a refreshed perspective on the world.

2) Listening to podcasts

I tend to go in waves, where I’ll listen to music – on the gig front, this year’s highlights are Orbital, Charlotte Gainsbourg and First Aid Kit – then suddenly dive into a week of podcasts. I wrote about my favourites in this recent blog post but at the moment I’m bingeing on:

  • Fortunately – Radio 4’s Fi Glover and Jane Garvey being rude and witty to each other and bringing out the best in their guests.

  • Recode with Kara Swisher – proper tech and media journalism that cuts through the noise in our crazy news cycle. So when all the Facebook stories and scandals have been swirling round this year she actually gets Mark Zuckerberg on and grills him for over an hour.

  • The Wired podcast – I didn’t listen to this for ages because I was so irritated by the bit at the beginning where they share a crazy fact. But if you can skip past this, they really do cover some interesting topics about tech and society.

3) Brilliant women

So many. Fresh in the mind is Killing Eve, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s deft and dark script, delivered by Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. I keep thinking about Michelle Obama saying you shouldn’t waste your seat at the table. I see up-and-coming political star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and think how resilient she’s going to have to be for the ride ahead. Nadiya Hussain should present everything on telly.

Closer to home, I see Sookio HQ roomie Kelly Molson setting up Mob Happy and opening up about her IVF journey, in turn allowing others to talk about their experiences - bravo. The pic that sums it up for me? Photographer Helena G Anderson mischievously standing high up in the sinks of a posh hotel to get the perfect shot.  

Deepa’s inspiration

1) Sketch, doodle, write

For me the key to getting inspired (or out of a rut) at work is to do something other than work for a little while. This can be a quick 10-minute break to sketch or doodle in between tasks. Or take time to practice your skills on something different, the book 642 Things to Write About provides fun writing prompts for copywriters.

2) Go for a walk

Be curious! Getting outside on your lunch hour is brilliant for the mind, and great exercise too. I like discovering what's around me. Plus, we work on Mill Road, one of the most interesting streets in Cambridge - there's always something to do, see or buy (usually cake and coffee).

mill road cambridge

3) Read as much as you can

Books, blogs, tweets - whatever you can find and need to do your job well. The internet is an amazing tool for modern working life. I've recently got into newsletters too (not the sales-y ones) for inspiration too - I particularly like Recomendo and The Do Lectures.

Frankie’s inspiration

1) Get pumped

For me the secret to getting pumped for your day ahead is by listening to music on your headphones during the journey. I tend to plug my earphones in as soon as I get in the car to a football match or on the train to work. I’m loving the Dance Replay playlist on Apple Music and Sigma’s Changing is the perfect song to play before a big game.

2) Embrace your surroundings

On a train to work or just have a long journey in the back of the car? Take advantage of all the new sights you see out the window and take this to use as inspiration at work. I especially like people watching on the platform!

3) Always learning

Tutorials, courses, guides – whatever way of learning you find easiest! I find a lot of really handy, free taster courses on teachable. YouTube is always a good source if you want to learn something fast while being given a tutorial in video form. I recommend Getting Started with Email Marketing as a good place to start. For a deeper dive, try Sookio’s digital marketing courses.

What’s inspired you this year? Leave a comment below. If you want help creating dazzling content, drop us a line.