By: Laura Chwirut [MDB Art Director]
Virtual Sources of Inspiration
In a 140 character world, we art directors aren’t left out. We have our own quick-glimpse social media communities that we use to keep inspired and help develop our work and our styles.
So, when considering color combinations, graphical style, photo art direction, and use of typography, we sometimes turn to…what else…the Internet! Over the past few years, two important visual bookmarking/visual sharing sites have come to prominence within the virtual world, Dribbble and Pinterest.
Dribbble.com is basically “show and tell” for creatives. On Dribbble, designers, illustrators, developers and other creatives share “shots”— 400×300 pixels snippits— of designs they’re working on.
Shots are to Dribbble as tweets are to Twitter. “Players” are creatives who have been vetted and invited to participate for a better curated experience. Viewers, or, “spectators” can comment, mark as favorite, and also become prospects. Fellow players can rebound (take a previous shot and enhance the original shot). While the description may sound complicated, the viewing of great work is not.
The beautiful thing about Dribbble is it’s a community, and so, it is well-edited, curated, and relevant to art direction. Anyone can view Dribbble, but not all can contribute. We use this site to reference these visual “tweets” to develop style, influence color and font choices, and to keep on top of current trends.
Pinterest, in contrast, is self-edited and self-curated. Pinterest is a social image sharing website where users can create and manage their own theme-based image collections, from any image on the web, “a pin”. A collection of "pins" is called a "pinboard." The Pinterest community has been growing steadily over the past year- and pins and pinboards for any interest abound.
The act of “pinning” and creating “pinboards” is personal in nature – bookmarking and categorizing visual snippets from anywhere on the web into a collection for reference. You can search, or create boards for any subject in the world- from travel scenery to fitness inspiration, graphic design to images of obscure insects. Anything that you discover can be kept all in one place. Once pinned and categorized, images are searchable and re-pinnable to others. So the fun of using Pinterest is the surprise and randomness of what you might find by way of people you follow or that have similar interests.
Personally, I love how pinning is a bookmark/archive for me. Each pin maintains the link to the original website. This is useful not only for personal reference, but maintaining credit for the original source. Where as I used to drag and drop reference images onto my desktop, I now have them well organized online, and can track it back and credit the source when needed.
From a marketing perspective, it will be interesting to see how marketers and brands will incorporate Pinterest into their social media and sales efforts. Spend a short time on the site, and you quickly realize that the main demographic is female ages 25-45. It is a huge venue to inspire certain users to try your product or incorporate your brand into their own personal story. Real Simple Magazine embraced the concept of Pinterest early and successfully. The content from their pages comes alive online by linking inspiring images back to realsimple.com. It is said that more of their online traffic to their website is from Pinterest than Facebook. Other marketers are conducting “contests,” to encourage pinning their products, experiences, or ideas.