Here’s how I’m spending my day. I’ve got an extra few free hours and I’m tackling this pile of magazines. I have just a couple thoughts for you on organization of inspiration images and sources.
I look at magazines for two reasons: inspiration images and product sources. I rip out anything that catches my eye and put it into one of these two piles. The images get scanned, cropped, and saved with the rest of my digital inspiration library. The products or sources get looked up and if I think it might be useful in the future, I bookmark the site with a really descriptive name so I can remember what it was I liked about the source in the first place. Then I recycle the hard copy and the magazine. I rarely keep magazines around after I’ve looked through them. It’s easy to get behind and there are always new ones coming. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the growing stack and just recycle them without reading.
As a designer, I’m always saving images. It doesn’t matter where they come from – books, magazines, blogs, or pinterest. I have thousands. I’ve tried many different filing systems too, some very complicated and time consuming. I discovered the more time a system required, the more reluctant I was to save images. About a year ago, I created an inspiration folder on my work computer, my home computer, and my phone. Anytime I see an image, I dump it in there. I don’t organize, I don’t label. Every month or so, I combine all the images and just move on. It’s been working really well for me. I vaguely know what I have and if I’m looking for something specific, I space bar preview them (on a mac) and it’s super fast. The large collection of unorganized images with minimal time input is much more valuable to me than an organized system that takes considerable effort.