SDS 101: HOW WE DO INSPIRATION ORGANIZATION
Magazine Tear From The Pile: Coded for ease
Before I made the move to working in both Austin and L.A.- I was overwhelmed with the issue of how to best gather up all the magazine pulls and product tear sheets that provided various forms of inspiration and organize them in an easy and useful manner.
I do not think I am alone in this dilemma and the quandary is more than just the format in which this mountainous pile of papers is to take shape at its final destination- that's probably the easiest part of the equation. What proved the most problematic was deciding which classification each inspiration would belong to because inevitably as designers our eyes can see multiple sources in a single image. A little rewind here:
I have a pretty darn good memory for detail- and admittedly not such diligent filing habits- but every so often I would stare at a magazine tear and think "Why did I pull this?" So I adopted an new habit and started utilizing a simple system to help me remember the reasons why an image would end up torn out of the magazine pages-- enter the Sharpie and the Codes.
The habit: Only thumb through magazine with a Sharpie in hand to notate - then and there- what stood out to me.
The Code: Super simple symbols and notes for categories, details, etc.
For example in the image above: "FP" clearly stands for "Fire Place" (meaning - put this in the fire place archives) and the "R" with a circle means "Room" (meaning - files this under the appropriate Room category...ie. sitting room, living room, bedroom, etc.)
Any Letter that is circled signifies a specific classification-
Any Term that was there serves as a call out to jolt my memory or let an assistant know what specifically I liked in the image.
Lets decipher the image below:
"Table" = I like the table and file it under Tables- I feel its obvious that its a dining table and do not need to spend time labeling this as such. (This is supposed to be quick- down and dirty!)
Had I wanted to include this dining table as PRODUCT inspiration for a future furniture piece I would have also written a "P" and circled it next to the term " table" .
Circle R = Room (Dining of course)
Color = Color Inspiration
So then the following questions remain: 1. how to file and store all these inspirations and 2. What to do with an image that multiple categories as the one above?
1. Place them in 3 ring binders under the most obvious or relevant classification
But here is the real genius:
2. Before they go into the binders- I have an assistant scan in the image and then that image is placed in any and all folders apply to it. So for the image above- it resides in the "Color" folder. "Dining Table" folder which is a sub folder to the Parent folder "Tables", as wells "Dining Rooms" folder whose Parent folder is "Rooms"
All of which lives on two thumb drives- one that lives at the office and one that goes with me in my bag at all times and comes in handy more times than I can count...especially since there will be times that you can't just hop onto the Internet and pull up a Google search. (Besides the fact that an image the size of the screen of your IPhone isn't always convincing!)
Case in point, this past week I was at a client's newly purchased home- without wireless set up just yet - and I suggested that they consider using a writing desk as one of the master bedroom bedside tables. Well, this was perplexing to them so I pulled out the thumb drive...went into the "Rooms" folder...into "Bedrooms"...and found 3 various images of writings desks used in the manner I was suggesting. No Google. No Pinterest. No loose paper shuffling. No loose sketch that we understand but often a client can not.
And so it goes. I continue to pull tear after tear. I continue to label and put in a massive pile which gets scanned and filed on a regular basis. It is one of those tasks that is easily completed when an assistant or intern claims "I have nothing to do."