You may have noticed I’m now available for new projects - I was on a break from client work and focusing on personal projects, but things change - more on that in a future post. Right now I’m having a sort out and getting things in place for future projects, I want to hit the ground running and I thought I’d share a few of the things I’m doing.
First up inspiration. Usually, at the beginning of a project, after receiving and agreeing the brief, I’ll start putting together images - sort of a mood board, but in a folder on my Mac - I look for lots of different things, UI elements like navigations and forms, typography, photography, textures and patterns, icons and colour palettes. Most of these things will be researched and found from scratch, some will be dug up from a series of bookmarks I have within my browser of go to websites and blog posts.
For a while now I’ve wanted a way of keeping images, designs, illustrations and other bits and pieces filed away for future use, specifically for inspiration but I’ve never managed to get a system going that I’ve been happy with and that I’ve stuck to, so far it’s been either browser bookmarks, links saved to delicious or even screen grabs posted to my Tumblr for the rest of the world to view too.
Over the last few days I’ve been toying with a couple of solutions, the first one was actually the catalyst for getting something sorted - JoliCloud, it’s a service that’s still in beta, it basically gathers together all the content shared on your various social networks — images, documents, videos and audio — in one place that’s easy to explore, browse and group together in collections, but there’s no way of automating a process on JoliCloud to add an image to a collection if it’s something I’d consider to be inspiration - so I’d have to go in an sort the images myself - I wanted something quicker and easier, so JoliCloud was out. Tumblr was my next thought, I already had some images on there that I’d use, it’s a service that is easy to post to, can be organised by tags and I could share my inspiration with others. But, the major issue I had was browsing through posts, trying to find images I wanted - being web based it would be slow to search by tags, scroll through pages and click through large screen grabs; I just didn’t fancy having to go through that to gather together a few posts. Evernote was my third — and ultimately my chosen — option. I already use it for a”paperless office”, saving invoices, receipts and other documents I need for my freelance business; but it has so many more uses - one of which I’ll blog about soon. I use Google Chrome as my default browser and there is an Extension for Evernote that allows you to ‘clip’ the text on the website - if it is an article, the URL of the site or the whole web page - you can also right-click / option + click on an image within the page and add that to a note. After clipping the page or image, you’re able to save it to a specific notebook, I’ve got one labeled Inspiration, and add a description and tags for easier searching later.
After only a few days it’s working really well, I’ve got an offline file of images and websites that I can very quickly browse through, I can search within this using any tags I’ve previously attached to an image, and if I want to I can share the note via Facebook, Twitter, email or just copy a link to if for use elsewhere. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to this system so in the future I’ve got an inspiring collection of images that I can call upon when designers block strikes.