10 Tips to Enhance Your Biomimicry Design Skills
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Observe nature firsthand
  2. Study existing biomimicry designs
  3. Practice sketching from nature
  4. Engage with the biomimicry community
  5. Focus on sustainability
  6. Incorporate biomimicry into everyday designs
  7. Learn from biomimicry courses and workshops
  8. Develop a deep understanding of biology
  9. Experiment with different materials
  10. Practice patience and perseverance

Designing with nature in mind is a fascinating journey. It's about learning from the best teacher around — Mother Nature, to create designs that are both innovative and sustainable. If you're interested in getting better at biomimicry design, this blog is a goldmine for you. Here are ten practical steps that will help you hone your biomimicry design skills.

Observe nature firsthand

One of the best ways to get better at biomimicry design is to spend quality time with your teacher — nature. Here's how you can make the most of your observations:

  • Slow down and look closer. Nature unfolds its secrets to those who take the time to observe. Look at the way leaves arrange themselves around a stem, or how a spider spins its web. These are all potential design inspirations.
  • Take pictures. Carry a camera with you during your nature walks. Capturing images of interesting patterns, structures, or mechanisms can serve as a resource when you're working on a project.
  • Keep a nature journal. Jotting down your observations helps you remember details that you might overlook later. Plus, it encourages you to think deeply about what you've seen.
  • Try different observation methods. Sometimes, just sitting quietly can reveal more than active exploration. Other times, you might learn more by interacting with the environment, like touching the bark of a tree or watching ants at work.

Remember, nature is not just about plants and animals. It's also about processes, systems, and cycles. So, don't limit your observations to living things. Look at how water carves a path in the soil, or how the wind shapes sand dunes. Every observation can contribute to getting better at biomimicry design.

Study existing biomimicry designs

It's always beneficial to learn from others, and this holds true when you're working on getting better at biomimicry design. Let's see how you can take inspiration from existing designs:

  • Explore designs inspired by nature. From the high-speed trains in Japan mimicking the kingfisher's beak to the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe that emulates termite mounds for its cooling system, there are countless examples of successful biomimicry designs.
  • Understand the design process. Discover how these designs came to be. What problem were they trying to solve? How did they identify the natural model? How did they translate the biological principles into the design?
  • Evaluate the design's impact. How successful was the design in solving the problem? What were the benefits and drawbacks? This will help you understand how biomimicry can create value, while also teaching you about potential pitfalls to avoid.
  • Think about how you can improve these designs. No design is perfect. Imagine how you could improve on these existing designs, or how you could apply the same principles to different problems.

Remember, studying existing designs is not about copying them. It's about learning from their successes and failures. It's about understanding how they applied biomimicry principles to solve real-world problems. And most importantly, it's about finding inspiration for your own work. So, let's get better at biomimicry design by taking a leaf out of their book.

Practice Sketching from Nature

Next on our journey to getting better at biomimicry design, we have a fun and hands-on activity: sketching from nature. Here's why it's more than just a pleasant pastime:

  • Boosts observation skills: When you sketch, you have to look closely at your subject. You'll start to notice details you may have overlooked before. Is the leaf veined or ribbed? How does a gecko's foot allow it to walk on walls? These observations are crucial to biomimicry design.
  • Improves understanding: Sketching isn't just about creating a pretty picture. It's about understanding the subject. When you sketch, you're not just replicating what you see—you're interpreting it. This deepens your understanding of the natural world, a key ingredient to getting better at biomimicry design.
  • Encourages creativity: The act of sketching can be a great source of inspiration. As you study and draw different elements in nature, you push your creative boundaries and generate new ideas that can be incorporated into your designs.
  • Enhances communication: Sketches can be a powerful tool to communicate your ideas. They can help others visualize your biomimicry design, understand the concept behind it, and provide valuable feedback.

Don't worry if you're not an artist. The goal here is not to create a masterpiece, but to study and learn from nature. So, grab your sketchbook, head outdoors, and let's get sketching. Who knew that getting better at biomimicry design could be this fun?

Engage with the Biomimicry Community

Ever heard of the saying, "two heads are better than one?" Well, in the world of biomimicry design, this couldn't be more true. Engaging with the biomimicry community can play a significant role in improving your skills. Here's why:

  • Mentorship: Within the community, you'll find designers who have been in your shoes and can provide guidance as you navigate your biomimicry journey. They can offer tips, tricks, and insights that you might not find in books. Remember, everyone started somewhere, so don't be shy to ask for help.
  • Idea exchange: The community is a melting pot of ideas. By engaging in discussions, you'll be exposed to varied perspectives that can spark new ideas or solutions. What's more, you can share your own ideas and receive constructive feedback, which is invaluable for getting better at biomimicry design.
  • Collaboration: Biomimicry design is not a one-person job. It often involves team effort. Engaging with the community allows you to collaborate on projects, learn from each other, and create designs that are more innovative and sustainable.
  • Networking: The biomimicry community is a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. Who knows? You might even meet your future project partner or employer here. Plus, these connections can open doors to opportunities that can aid in your professional development.

So, get out there and start connecting. Join biomimicry clubs, attend events, participate in forums, and make the most of the resources available to you. The community is your oyster, and engaging with it is a surefire way to accelerate your journey in getting better at biomimicry design.

Focus on Sustainability

At its core, biomimicry design is about learning from nature to create sustainable solutions. As such, focusing on sustainability should be at the forefront of your design process. But how exactly can you ensure that your designs are sustainable? Here's a simple guide:

  • Efficient Use of Resources: Nature is a master of efficiency, and so should you be. Aim to use resources in the least wasteful manner possible. For example, consider how a tree uses sunlight, water, and nutrients efficiently to grow. Can you replicate this efficiency in your design?
  • Limit Harmful Impact: In nature, every organism plays a role in maintaining balance in its ecosystem. Similarly, your designs should strive to limit negative impact on the environment. Think about ways to reduce emissions, waste, or other environmental harm.
  • Recycle and Reuse: Nature doesn't create waste. Everything is recycled or reused in some way. Incorporate this principle into your designs. Could your product be recyclable, or could its parts be reused in some way?
  • Long-term Perspective: Nature thinks in terms of cycles and systems, not just individual elements. Adopt this long-term perspective in your designs. Consider the lifecycle of your product, not just its immediate use.

Remember, sustainability isn't just a buzzword—it's a call to action. By focusing on sustainability, you'll not only be getting better at biomimicry design, but also contributing to a healthier planet. So, the next time you're designing, ask yourself: How would nature do this?

Incorporate Biomimicry into Everyday Designs

What if I told you that you're surrounded by opportunities to practice biomimicry design every single day? That's right, just look around! Your everyday life is teeming with design opportunities. Here are a few ways to incorporate biomimicry into your regular routine:

  • Redesign Household Items: Think about an everyday object in your home, like a chair or a lamp. How can you redesign it using principles of biomimicry? For example, could you design a chair that mimics the supportive structure of a tree branch or a lamp that imitates the glow of a firefly?
  • Upgrade Your Workspace: Consider how you could use biomimicry to improve your workspace. Perhaps you could design a desk that adjusts to your posture like a responsive plant, or lighting that mimics natural daylight to boost your mood and productivity.
  • Revamp Your Wardrobe: Biomimicry isn't just about grand architectural structures or innovative technology—it can also inspire your fashion choices! How about designing a raincoat inspired by the water-repelling surface of a lotus leaf, or shoes modeled after the sure-footed grip of a mountain goat?

By incorporating biomimicry into your everyday designs, you're not just getting better at biomimicry design—you're also making your daily life more sustainable, efficient, and in sync with nature. So, get creative and see where biomimicry can take you!

Learn from Biomimicry Courses and Workshops

Have you noticed that when we're eager to learn a new skill, we often find ourselves searching for the best teachers or resources? The same applies when you're on the path to getting better at biomimicry design. Thankfully, there are a wealth of resources available in the form of courses and workshops.

  • Online Biomimicry Courses: Many platforms offer online courses that cover the basics and the intricacies of biomimicry. These courses typically include lessons on natural systems and patterns, design principles, and real-world applications of biomimicry. They can be a fantastic starting point if you're newer to the field or looking to refine your skills.
  • Workshops and Seminars: Keep an eye out for workshops and seminars, both online and in-person. These events often provide hands-on training, allowing you to apply what you've learned in a practical setting. Plus, they're a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals.
  • University Courses: Did you know that some universities offer programs and modules dedicated to biomimicry? These can provide in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience, perfect if you're serious about making biomimicry a major part of your design practice.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to learn, but to apply what you've learned. As you gain new insights and knowledge, try to incorporate them into your projects. This way, you're not only enriching your understanding but also getting better at biomimicry design with each step you take.

Develop a Deep Understanding of Biology

At first glance, it might seem peculiar to dive into biology books when your aim is to get better at biomimicry design. But here's the thing: biology is the secret sauce. It's the foundation of biomimicry and the key to unlock a world of design ideas.

  • Biology Textbooks: You might not have opened one since high school, but a good biology textbook can be a treasure trove of information. Look for books that offer clear explanations and illustrations of biological systems, structures, and functions.
  • Nature Documentaries: Who said learning biology has to be dull? Nature documentaries can be both entertaining and educational. While watching, pay attention to the intricate details and patterns in nature. They might just inspire your next design.
  • Science Magazines and Journals: These can provide insights into the latest research in biology and ecology. They can help you stay updated with recent discoveries, which could prove useful for your biomimicry projects.

Remember, biology isn't just about memorizing complex terms. It's about understanding the principles that govern life on earth. Once you grasp these, you'll find it much easier to create designs that are efficient, sustainable, and harmonious with nature—thereby getting better at biomimicry design.

Experiment with Different Materials

One of the wonders of biomimicry is how it invites us to reimagine the use of materials in design. So, the next step in getting better at biomimicry design is to roll up your sleeves and experiment with different materials.

  • Recyclable Materials: If you've ever admired a bird's nest, you've witnessed nature's own version of recycling. Birds incorporate anything—from twigs to plastic strips—into their homes. Similarly, consider using recyclable materials in your designs, not only to reduce waste but also to add unique aesthetic elements.
  • Natural Fibers: From the strength of spider silk to the flexibility of bamboo, nature is full of material inspiration. Natural fibers can offer unique properties that synthetic materials can't match. They may also have a lower environmental impact.
  • Biodegradable Materials: Decomposition is nature's recycling system. By using biodegradable materials—like plant-based plastics or mushroom-based packaging—you can create products that return to the earth once their use is over.

It may take a bit of trial and error, but don't be afraid to experiment. Like a chef in a kitchen, you never know what fantastic concoctions you might create by mixing different ingredients. And remember: every new experiment brings you one step closer to getting better at biomicry design.

Practice Patience and Perseverance

Let's face it: getting better at biomimicry design is not an overnight journey. It's more like a long hike where you'll need to navigate through dense forests of ideas, climb steep hills of challenges, and sometimes, tread carefully on the slippery slopes of failure. But, like any rewarding journey, the key is patience and perseverance.

Think about the oak tree—does it sprout to its full height in a day? Of course not! It grows slowly, steadily, and sure enough, it becomes one of the strongest trees in the forest. This is a great lesson for us. In our pursuit of getting better at biomimicry design, we need to be patient with our progress and persevere, even when things don't go as planned.

It's easy to feel frustrated when a design doesn't work out or when a project takes longer to complete than you anticipated. But, don't let these speed bumps discourage you. Instead, see them as opportunities to learn and grow. Remember, even the most successful biomimicry designs—like the Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Train inspired by the Kingfisher's beak—didn't happen overnight. They were the result of countless hours of observation, experimentation, and yes, patience and perseverance.

So, keep going. Keep refining your designs, keep learning from your mistakes, and keep pushing your creativity. In the world of biomimicry design, patience and perseverance aren't just virtues—they're necessities. And who knows? Your next design might just be the next big breakthrough in biomimicry!

If you're eager to further develop your design skills and explore innovative techniques, check out the workshop 'Creating Characters: The Design Process' by Kit Buss. Although this workshop primarily focuses on character design, the principles and techniques taught can be applied to your biomimicry design projects, helping you create more engaging and dynamic designs.