Design

Stuck in a Design Rut? How to Use Pinterest for Inspiration

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Design inspiration is all around us. From the billboards on your commute to the lines of your desk chair, there’s no end to the ways you might turn on that lightbulb over your head.

There are also times when it seems like nothing is working. Every shape you shade or vector you draw seems to look exactly like something you’ve done before.

You’re in a rut, and it’s bad. That’s ok. It happens to all creatives. You’ve got to keep your head down, keep creating, and you’ll get through it.

If you’re looking for inspiration, might we suggest crowdsourcing it? You may think Pinterest is best for holiday recipes and craft projects, but it’s also a great resource for the spark you need to get out of your creative doldrums and back into the light.

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Using Pinterest for Design

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a social platform for visual bookmarking. If you’ve ever used Delicious, imagine it with fewer words and far more images.

While originally made popular by crafters and brides-to-be, Pinterest is also useful for designers. You can use the tool to showcase your own work and share it with the world. You can also browse the thousands of boards and millions of pins in search of inspiration for your next project, whether it’s a new UI or a wedding invitation.

Pinterest brings together all of your favorite design blogs and visual inspiration sources and puts them into one place. Add in liberal use of the Pin It button (either in your browser or on blog posts and pages) and you’ve got an endless repository of idea-generating goodness.

It’s All About Who You Follow

You may already be following some of the usual suspects — fellow designers, cool brands, and professionals whose work you admire. But are you using this virtual cork board to your best creative advantage? If you’re following the best designers in industry, you may already have a feed chock full of stunning graphics and cool design ideas. (If you’re not, keep reading — we’ll have more on that in just bit.)

But what about those days when you’re stuck in a creative rut? Of course, you can type “design ideas” into Google or use Pinterest’s search feature to try to find that Pinterest inspiration (Pinspiration, anyone?). But you’ll still be stuck scrolling through tons of results that aren’t relevant — or all that inspiring.

This is where the accounts you follow come into play. Aside from gaining ideas and inspiration for projects by combing through the design and typography boards you follow, think outside of the box.

Frequent Pinterest users know that many of the accounts they follow also offer a unique insight into the brains of some of the industry’s best.

Dig a little deeper into the feeds of the designers you follow. Look past the graphic design and logo boards, and you’ll find the unusual personal boards, the road maps to the quirky things that inspire the best creatives in the business.

Perhaps your favorite designer is inspired by book and album covers. Others are inspired by graffiti and product packaging. Whether it’s retro advertising, vintage passports, or an obsession with motorcycle memorabilia, you’ll find a treasure trove of curated boards that will take you out of a stale creative routine.

These boards, as quirky as they may be, feature the kind of cool products, images, and themes that are sure to take you outside of your comfort zone. Half an hour of browsing and collecting inspiration may just be all it takes to jumpstart your creativity.

Inspiration Lies Ahead

While Pinterest is an amazing source for discovering beautiful imagery, it can also be a waste of time as you scroll through hundreds of recipes, wedding ideas, and recommended pins. This is where our targeted list of the best Pinterest heavy hitters comes in.

We’ve taken the legwork out of finding the best pinners with our list of the top 12 designers to follow on Pinterest. We chose these designers, art directors, photographers, and tastemakers because their Pinterest boards are curated to perfection with content that isn’t just beautiful, it’s useful.

Their boards are updated regularly, which means you’ll always have new, fresh inspiration delivered directly to your feed. Whether you’re looking for color and typography inspiration, UI design ideas, or other personal boards to spark design ideas, these noteworthy accounts will get your creative juices flowing.

Bri Emery | Designlovefest

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Bri Emery, a Los Angeles-based art director, is the founder and editor of Designlovefest, a lifestyle blog created in 2009 out of her obsession with type and images. With more than 12,000 cool and colorful pins, her Pinterest account features everything from stylish typography and logos to whimsical illustrations and graphic patterns. Her Design Done Right board is a treasure trove of graphic eye candy. Be sure to explore her fashion, seasonal, and style boards for a dose of California sunshine and creative Vitamin C.


Christopher Dangtran

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The Pinterest account of San Francisco-based designer Christopher Dangtran has more than 4.4 million followers. A quick scroll through his boards reveals why he’s become such a Pinterest heavyweight. His boards contain more than 175k of the most efficiently organized pins you’ll ever find. While his portfolio board showcases beautiful images of his work for many international brands, his Pinterest account as a whole serves as a curated repository for the work of some of the most talented designers, architects, artists, and photographers. Give him a follow for a masterful education in the arts and inspiration that you’ll revisit again and again.


Megan Sundquist

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Megan Sundquist is a graphic designer living and working in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her infographic board, which highlights more than 100 designs, is sure to get ideas flowing. But her out-of-the-box inspiration boards, including her creative collections of zinesvintage designs, and decks of cards, are fun and quirky works of visual genius.


Maia McDonald Smith

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Northern California designer and online curator Maia McDonald Smith may be best known for her work as art director at Rue magazine, but her 1.8 million Pinterest followers know her as one of the most savvy Pinners around. Her many home, fashion, and lifestyle Pinterest boards are curated with care to convey the most clean, modern aesthetic. Her Graphic Amazement board, one of many boards that imparts calming vibes, is a favorite. Visit her account when your designs are feeling too complicated or muddled or when you’re simply looking to soothe a busy mind.


Spencer Lewis

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Spencer Lewis is an Atlanta, Georgia-based art director and social media producer for Turner Broadcasting. Look to his Pins for art and design with a hip, modern, and masculine edge. His content and creative strategy expertise make his Design and Brand boards a must follow.


Ez Pudewa

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Ez Pudewa is an inspiration seeker, photographer, illustrator, and toy maker currently based in the Central Coast of California. While her Typographical and Words of Wisdom board is enough inspiration to transport you into design nirvana, it’s her vast array of color Pins that makes her account truly stand out. Her Color Crush boards, which number more than a dozen, have millions of followers — and for good reason. Within these boards you’ll find acid yellows, cockatoo corals, and succulent blues. These are the color stories that truly inspire.


Daniel Nelson | From up North

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Swedish graphic designer Daniel Nelson is the founder of From up North, a design blog focused on promoting and inspiring creatives across the world. His Pinterest account is an awe-inspiring vault for the best in design, art, and branding from all over the creative web. Every one of his nearly 15k Pins feels special. It’s clear that he reaches into the far corners of print, digital art, apps, and even guerrilla advertising to select and share only the best work with his followers.


Paula Cevasco

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Paula Cevasco, a graphic designer, UI designer, and self-described web addict, is the kind of well-rounded Pinner we love to follow for a broad range of inspiration. In her Pinterest profile, the Buenos Aires, Argentina designer says she likes to just pin cool stuff online. Her Pins reflect just that — the coolest, most inspiring picks in the world of mobile UI design, motion graphics, and web design and development.


Brandon Lesley

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Texas-based creative director, designer, and photographer Brandon Lesley has amassed an impressive collection of graphic design inspiration. His Graphic Design // Typography // Illustration board alone contains nearly 18k Pins. On days that you’re feeling particularly stuck with a new design, we suggest scrolling through those Pins in a stream-of-consciousness style. Inspiration will strike soon after.


Thea Kennedy | Design Quixotic

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Brooklyn, New York-based art director and designer Thea Kennedy is the voice and vision behind Design Quixotic blog. Thea describes herself as a lover of design and other beautiful miscellany, and her Pinterest account impresses on both of those fronts. Her Pinterest boards read like a beautiful primer in all things design — typography, logos, posters, brand identity, packaging, mobile design, and infographics — just to name a few. With over 35k carefully chosen Pins and more than 1.9 million followers, it’s no wonder that her account was a Shorty Award Finalist for Best Pinner. If you’re someone who likes to let your imagination wander on the quest for inspiration, start here. Her Pinterest boards cover everything from Morocco and pineapples to anchors and the most artfully designed stamps. Each board is more whimsical and spirited than the next.


Mike D

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If you’re looking for cutting edge design ideas, look no further than the Pinterest account of Cincinnati, Ohio designer Mike D. When you join the ranks of his more than 3.4M Pinterest followers, you’ll soon find that his original brand of edge, wit, and Awesomeness is just the jolt of energy you need to take your designs to the next level. His out-of-the box thinking permeates every inch of his account, as is evidenced by the names of his Pinterest boards. While we are partial to his Infographicamania board, his Badgography board is also not to be missed.


Daniel Bear Hunley

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If you’re looking for a Pinterest account to transport you to the land of hot chicken and Southern hospitality, look no further than the account of Nashville, Tennessee creative Daniel Bear Hunley. More than 1.6 million Pinterest followers turn to this tastemaker’s account for a taste of Southern life and design. This Dixie designer shares everything from well-designed Bourbons labels to Willie Nelson prints. We love his Information Design board, but it’s his strong sense of place that makes his Pins especially inspiring.


Who are some of your favorite or most inspirational pinners? Have you found inspiration on Pinterest? Let us know how it’s worked for you in the comments below!

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