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Monday, August 19, 2013

Swipe Files-A Creative Memory Bank

Those who are in creative industries know the value of "swipe files." Despite the name, this is a good idea. To keep a visual record of what you like gives you a jumping off point for inspiration. Note that I am not advocating plagiarism, ever. But let's say you keep images of gardens-as I do so that if I ever have the time/money/energy for a knot garden, I have visual references as to how I might do it.

Graphic designers may keep files on typography, layout, color scheme, etc. Architects may keep files on entryways, siding options, or facades. Interior designers may keep ideas on furniture, small room layouts, or window treatments. You may keep files on rooms you like, places to go, or types of houses you may want to buy at some point in the future.

It is now easier than ever to keep inspiration files online and subsequently save lots of trees. Sites like Flickr or Pinterest make it easy to have online scrapbooks and new sites pop up every day. Search online for other portfolio sites for your images.

Pinterest screenshot
 
Then, of course, you can do it the "old-fashioned" way, which is to tear images out of magazines (once everyone has done reading them!) and paste them into a scrapbook. I still do this and there's something very zen about arranging ephemera into a pleasing scrapbook layout. It's also one step from here to creating a collage that may be frame-worthy.

Which is very creative.

Either way you do it, saving inspirational images helps you focus on what you like and reminds you of your favorite ideas.