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Every designer has their own way of going about their day to day tasks, and they also have their own conditions as to what constitutes constructive design inspiration. I’d like to share mine, with some thoughts.



Designspiration is the closest thing to the next thing while not yet being the next thing. The next thing will integrate both cloud and local files, sorting files into an image dominant hiearchy of endless preconfigurations set by individual users.

Because I’m currently so into the act of describing, categorizing and archiving the visual, DSPN is a great neural playground that always has me saying ‘what is that?’ and wondering if what I determine it is is similar to or a variant of something I currently have filed (it almost always is, in some way).

Search Google for this Image


This is on its way to inventing the new game, but I don’t think the design milieu perceives it yet. Since all social image tagging acquires its digital root from a single ancestor, once Google can cut through all the cloned descendants there can be a unique image pointing system unlike any other, without harming the original designer. Think of each artifact of graphic design as having its own unique Google ID whereupon all iterations across the Internet landscape merely alias themselves. Forms of audio and video genome mapping have already been set forth but not yet with such homogenized accessibility.

Trend List


I don’t use Trend List on a day to day basis, but provide it as an example of where I see accurate social design tagging going. Put another way, I believe the design hive mind is approaching its own social singularity. I believe we’ll one day see an interface that graphs the chronological and quantitative usage of a particular style, and it will be way more complex than TL’s 20 or so trends. More like 20,000.

Think of it this way. Let’s throw out a few random user-defined descriptive tags, say … “Greyscale, 90º Rotated Type, Boston, Triadic Grid, Inebriated Lettering, Extended Terminals”. Each of these aspects of design have their individual histories, their own first known usage, their own eb and flow — their own story, if you will. If the new Milton Zuckerglaser of our day can find a way to corral the successes of all these clever tag trackers into one visual mammoth it may forever settle all the ‘That’s so 2014 (or whatever year)’ arguments. One will be able to immediately prove to a client how their “make it look like it was dragged in a scanner” request is thoroughly an early 2013 thing. Weak. Why doesn’t this exist yet?



I’m sorry, but Wikipedia is absolutely phenomenal. The Universe, Life, and Reality are all indescribably inexhaustible topics and Wikipedia is slowly mapping it all in a very organized, non-redundant fashion. If you start to realize every single aspect of creativity has a first cause, then digging backwards along a trend’s breadcrumb trail will give you all sorts of directions the non-historically informed designer fails to provide. The way Wikipedia keeps getting closer and closer to a solid-state encyclopedia the more I wonder if it won’t be the source that has absolutely everything you can imagine about James Langdon (or Sara De Bondt, Zak Kyes, Bob Gill, etc), sourced in one neat hierarchy with the highest possible quality images, all viewable in various forms of sorted filtering.

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You know what all these visual trend reservoirs have almost totally missed, though? Animation. Sure, there’s pinnable stills pre-provided by a studio, but there’s no interconnected engine that’s fetching and tag-sorting videos themselves based on stills. The closest thing currently is hotspot verbal tagging like ThingLink & wireWAX. There’s so much animation design that incorporates design techniques that static designers almost don’t realize exist because of this void. I’m waiting for a genius to discover how to pin and accurately tag any given video frame, then link to its contextual start time.

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In short, it’s impossible to keep up with everything, but I keep up with what I can, just like you. It’s an insatiable habit and my mind has convinced me that it’s a necessary phase if I am to be a serious designer for a lifetime, rather than a decade. Below is a prioritized sample of various resources I’ve found and use, just a hundred of them (there’s so much more, I know). Please do not be offended if it is below your taste or interest; maybe you’ll find a needle in my haystack.

Leave comments if you think you’ve found something better.

Social Tagging
DSPN / Trend List / FFFFOUND! / Lookwork / BCA / Dribbble / Behance / Pinterest / Wookmark / Panda / Design is Blank / Niice

Random Tumblrs
Ya Herd / CATS>BOYFRIENDS / Graphic Porn / BDIF / PPEEGG / Reform / Synaptic Stimuli / DG2H / Ain’t No Time for TV / bootoo / Neal Fletcher / JJJJound / Please Come to the Show / Colour / QGG / V-OM / sort by / Bob Caruthers / Hey Erica Hey / Site Inspire / XVI / Geo a Day / Mr. Div / VVORK

The Gradient / It’s Nice That / Collate / Manystuff / Grain Edit / TFIB / Slanted / Design Is History / SPD / R-Mag / Design Blog / The Artist and His Model / Design Museum / BDR / Aisle.One / Designers Books / Graphic Hug / FFF / TSA / Wanken / DWL / TAXI / DO

Bunch of Links List
NODE / Manystuff / Forest Young / TFA / IOTS

Luc Devroye / TFA / Typeverything / Typographica / Typophile / Type Radio / typetoken / Typophile Tumblr / Fontseek / Reading / TypoClub / Ministry of Type / Calligraphica / ILT / Typografie / Typetoy

Motionographer / Art of the Title / Watch the Titles / GSG / VC / Mograph Wiki / MDD / TMTC / Movie Title Screens / mograph / IMP Awards / ILTI / OFFF / F5 / Style Frames / Pause / onedotzero

Brand New / Logo Design Love / Logopedia / Good Logo / LogoLounge

Annuals / Contests
ADC Young Guns / SFDA / D&Ad / NVA / TDC / ADC HoF / AIGA Design Archives / AIGA Medal / CA