A stimulus is something which interests an artist or designer and gives them new ideas. A stimulus can be as simple as a word or as complex as a novel, person, place or an entire culture. The plural is stimuli.
You may decide on your own stimulus, or have to respond to one that is provided.
In design work, carrying out market research might suggest possible starting points. You may also work from a source of inspiration or from a design problem as a stimulus to help you generate ideas.
Artists can find stimuli in many places, including those outlined in the infographic below:
When choosing your own stimulus, try to do the following:
Don't give up and select another stimulus when you encounter difficulties. You are likely to come across some challenges responding to most stimuli but keep persevering.