After dabbling with it for a few minutes, I quickly realised this site had huge potential to become an incredibly useful resource and tool, both for my graphic design career and my blogging efforts.
So what is Pinterest?
Pinterest, quite simply is an image and video bookmarking site that looks and feel great, and is free to use.
It’s more than just somewhere to save images, though. It’s a friendly, active community, made up from different people, from different backgrounds, with different interests, all submitting images meaning you’re incredibly likely to discover something you never would have found on your own.
One of the first things I was taught at the start of my graphic design degree was the importance of looking in other ‘ponds’ for inspiration. Pinterest allows me to absorb fields that I’m not particularly interested in, such as fashion or interior design, in an easy to digest manner.
And every so often something I wouldn’t have thought I’d like catches my eye.
Sign up is currently invite only, but not exclusive so you simply request an invite from the sign up page or an existing member can invite you (get in touch with me via my contact form and I’ll sort you out).
How does it work?
Once you’re signed in, you’re prompted to drag a ‘Pin’ button to your browsers bookmark bar that when clicked gives you the option of ‘pinning’ any images on the webpage you currently have open onto a ‘board’ (complete with a link back to the original source page).
These boards are simply a way of both categorising and grouping images you’ve found together. You can even add #hashtags or @mentions to your pin description and post a link to directly to Twitter and Facebook.
Why it’s generally awesome for designers and creatives.
Aside from being a great source of inspiration, it can also lead to the one thing all new creatives strive for.
There is always the the potential for your images to go viral. One person pins and tweets, 100 people view the tweet and take a look at your work, who may then decide to re-pin and retweet and so forth, until there’s a pandemic.
Obviously that’s all theory though.
Still, there’s no need to be shy about pinning your own content. It all helps.
Why it’s (potentially) awesome for freelancers
When working on the research stage of a design project, trying to understand what it is your client wants, mood boards can come in handy.
These are basically just images collected and collated that the client likes for whatever reason and help give an overall ‘feel’ to aim for.
Pinterest actually allows selected members (that you select) to contribute to a board and pin their own images.
You could create a separate Pinterest account for clients, giving them the log-in details when a project starts (password changed each time of course) and show them how to gather inspiration for you to look at.
Ask them to pin the images to your ‘XY Project’ mood board, each with a brief description of why they like it, to hopefully help you to understand what they’re asking of you.
This (hopefully) saves the awkward fumbling about online as they desperately try to find that logo they saw when they can’t remember where they saw it, or the stomach-turning moment when a client says they don’t like the idea you’ve shown them because your interpretation of “clean and jazzy” was vastly different to what they actually meant.
Why it’s awesome for design students.
If you’re a design student (just like me), you should definitely sign up.
More and more university creative degree courses are now asking students to start and constantly update a blog with insights into their working methods, things they find to be inspirational or interesting and views on their self-development.
In order to prevent any issues of copyright infringement or plagiarism, we’re asked to include a link back to the original content and credit the author or copyright owner (which is good blogging etiquette anyway).
Using Pinterest, you can collect images or videos that you like, complete with a link to the original location, and blog about them at a later date, without having to worry about finding the original page again (this applies to blogging in general too, particularly image list-posts).
Plus, it’s a massive source of inspiration!
How do you find Pinterest?
If you’re also using Pinterest, I’d love to know what you think of it, and wether you’ve found any other creative ways you could use it.
I’d also like to know your opinons on the ‘mood board’ idea; Would it work or is it too much hassle? Do you have another preferred method of establishing exactly what a client is looking for?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below.