Pinterest is one of my favourite tools as a designer: I use it as a visual search engine to find creative inspiration for projects of all kinds. With millions of ideas just a click away, it’s great for sparking inspiration, collaborating with clients – and, best of all, it’s completely free!
Pinterest newbie? Never fear. Read on to find out more about how I use Pinterest to inspire, discover a theme and move a project away from ‘messy’ to ‘fabulously creative and coherent’!
THE PINTEREST BASICS
You might not have much of a design brief at first–you might begin by simply pinning logos or other images that you like. Or you might have the vaguest of ideas, let’s say for example, a leaning towards a simple, striking Art Deco-style font. Open up the ‘Search’ bar on Pinterest and type in all of the related terms you can think of.
For example, I might begin with ‘Art Deco’, or search for ‘Art Deco font’. I might also use descriptors such as The Great Gatsby, 1920s, Prohibition, Jazz, Jazz Era and so on. Be aware that Pinterest is clever: when you enter ‘Art Deco’ into the search field, like Google, it anticipates what you’re about to type, giving you a list of related search terms. Just entering ‘Art Deco’, for example, throws up suggestions like ‘Art Deco pattern’, ‘Art Deco engagement ring’, ‘Art Deco interior’ and so on.
You might find yourself searching using more and more obscure terms as you discover what you like: think ‘1920s tattoos’, ‘F Scott Fitzgerald book covers’, ‘The Candlelight Club’ and the like. It truly is a rabbithole–but a good rabbithole. My advice is don’t be too prescriptive; be open to exploring different ideas and, at first, pin indiscriminately. Like it? Pin it, and trust that a pattern will begin to emerge.
How to pin? Select ‘Save’ on the image and choose the ‘board’ you’d like to pin to. Alternatively, create a new board, and give it a name: ‘Website Inspiration’ or ‘Branding Ideas for XXXXX’. You can make your board private if you want to protect it from prying eyes, but do make sure you add me so that I can start to see the direction of your ideas.
WHAT’S YOUR THEME?
Once you’ve pinned to your heart’s content, it’s time to take a step back and look at your board as a whole. What stands out? Do particular colours or patterns dominate? What’s the overall aesthetic – detailed and intricate, or strikingly minimalist? Have you gone for a classic style, or are there elements of a modern twist? Look at your images and ask yourself which is your favourite, or what specifically drew you to a particular pin. I’ll do this too, and together we’ll tease out the key elements you want for your own branding or design work.
As you start to interrogate your mood board, you may find you want to delete certain images. That’s fine! The delete button is your friend; it can help refine your choices and make your overall desired aesthetic clearer.
Also, don’t forget you can go outside of Pinterest for more inspiration. As your ideas become clearer, you might want to search for specific images using, for example, Google’s image search. Lots of websites already have the ‘Pin It’ function installed, or you can download Pinterest’s ‘Pin It’ button for your browser so that you can save just about any image you see online – more info here.
One of the most useful things about Pinterest is that it allows me to work with my clients. Once you’ve added me as a collaborator to your board (or vice versa, if you want me to get ahead with pinning), we can look at ideas together and talk through how they might be adapted for your branding and across different brand assets. From there, I can ask questions and make suggestions before starting to draft some branding routes.
I’m a visual thinker – unsurprisingly, given my line of work – and seeing what my client is thinking is worth a hundred written explanations. I love Pinterest because it gives me a direct line to your imagination, and that’s an incredibly powerful thing.
Make sure you follow me – I continuously add to my inspiration boards.