To produce great content, you must consume great content
There are so many different approaches in the quest for the most efficient way to collect creative research. It can be so mind boggling with a million and one different resources, theres an app to save this, share that, bookmark those for later, it’s a minefield. Over the past 12 months I’ve managed to try and test some of the best ways to keep topped up on creative resource, and I’d like to share with you what I have found to be great starting points.
My personal creative newspaper! This is such a good resource and my 'go-to' site for inspiration.
Feedly for those who don’t know is an RSS reader, collating any website that you would regularly look at, and then presenting it back to you in a magazine style. I usually head here when I’m looking for general research (in the hope of something catching my eye) It’s always handy having a look on my lunch break.
In case you didn’t know, this app isn’t just full of cupcakes and pretty girly things. Used properly it can be a great tool, I’ve had my Pinterest account for a good while now, and as it grows in popularity I’ve found the more intelligent it gets. Following specific boards or people the app now delivers inspiration to me directly without me going in search of it. I use this as a nice bridge between work and home, creating boards in a similar way to my ref folder (which I will talk about further down) on my mac which I can easily transfer from online to offline. The useful feature about Pinterest is it links back to the original source (which can then send me on a two hour spree of inspiration hunting!)
I’ll admit this is a new one which I haven’t started to utilise properly yet, but I can see it being extremely useful (once I have everything set up) In short, Stache is a bookmarking tool, now I know you can bookmark in your browser, and I don’t know about anyone else, but when I save links in my browser I can never remember what I’d kept the links for!
Stache saves thumbnails of the web pages but also allows me to folder off links and also add them to collections. Very handy, I just need to get using it!!
This is usually a route to head to when I’m struggling with creative block and having a read of other insights can be interesting too. I’ve found sometimes reading up on creativity and ideas generation can buck the way I’m working and give me a little boost. There are also other great articles on teamwork, leadership and strategy which gets me thinking in another way!
The Absolute bookshelf is stacked with a multitude of design books and magazines to get stuck into in search for that spark of inspiration. One that I would absolutely recommend is 64GB book, we all swear by it in the studio as it is one of those full of graphic design delights! No matter what you are looking for you find something new!
My ref folder
Collect collect collect! I’ve learnt quickly that having this on my Mac is very useful. The internet can be a confusing beast and when you need a quick hit of inspiration you don’t want to be searching down every nook and cranny. Having folders of ref to quickly search through eliminates so much wasted time, it does demand a lot of attention and maintenance, wether I’m looking for a new branding project, photography reference or a new print piece it is my most treasured asset in my creative arsenal!
For some further reading on this topic, check out this article by Brian Gardener