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It’s incredible. Inspiration is just a click away. Not to mention research, reference materials, tutorials, and instructions.
Having lived and worked in what now seems like the dark ages of commercial art, I never get over the wonder and convenience of having the Internet available day and night. I’ll try to resist the temptation of reminiscing about the yesteryear experiences, before I met Robin, of trying to get to the downtown library or a book store before it closed because I needed some sort of reference material for a design project. That usually resulted in hours of frustration and yucky results. Or needing some typesetting so desperately that I’m pounding on the back door of the typesetter’s building at midnight, hoping someone on the night crew will hear the ruckus and let me in. Oops, sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.
Now that we can search for an image reference, fonts, or design inspiration and get millions of results in 0.10 seconds, life is much better. It’s still time-consuming, but at least you can do it while sitting at home where the parking is cheaper and more convenient.
Here are a few of the design sites that I check daily, for inspiration, education, and entertainment.
Under Consideration.Department of Design
UnderConsideration is “a network and enterprise dedicated to the progress of the graphic design profession and its practitioners, students, and enthusiasts. Its purpose is to question, push, analyze, and agitate graphic design and those involved in the profession.” The Department of Design showcases their design work with lots of commentary and examples. For example, here's their Valentine's Day Redesign.
Brand New: Opinions on corporate and brand identity work
Brand New is a division of UnderConsideration. It chronicles and provides opinions on corporate and brand identity design. It focuses mainly on redesigns and new designs in identity and packaging fields.
Brand New Classroom: Critiques and opinions on student identity work
Another division of UnderConsideration, Brand New Classroom provides space where the work of talented students from prominent design schools around the world is showcased and critiqued. Major design departments give assignments that focus on redesigns of real-life brands.
Yet another division of UnderConsideration, Quipsologies chronicles “the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.”
design mind: business/technology/design
Published by global innovation firm frog design, design mind includes a print magazine, a website, videos, and events. “Written by frog designers, technologists, and strategists, design mind articles provide the design and innovation community with perspectives on industry trends, emerging technologies, and global consumer culture.”
Alltop: Graphic Design
Alltop is a news aggregation site that provides “all the top” stories in a variety of categories (design being one of those categories). There are many links to design blogs and articles. After exploring them, you can decide which ones you want to add to a personal “MyAlltop” page.
Some typography sites are good idea-mines. Two favorites are Veer and T26. Also check Alltop for links lots of links to typography sites, articles, and blogs.
Finally, one of our favorite design sites that’s full of practical design solutions and instruction is Before & After magazine. B&A started in 1990 and is “dedicated to making graphic design understandable, useful, and even fun for everyone.”
Other than the Before & After link above, I haven’t included any of Robin’s other bookmarked sites because they’re mostly Shakespeare related. What’s up with that? Especially since there’s absolutely no evidence that the Man From Stratford was a graphic designer. Sometimes I can’t figure her out.