Confession: I have a Pinterest account, and while I don’t have my dream wedding planned on it, I do have 122 pins dedicated to home decor, 33 to graphic design and eight to tattoos – in the event that I’m ever gutsy enough for ink.
I’m not a rabid pinner by any means. In fact, if I’m going to save something I found online, there’s a 99 percent chance I’m going to do it the old-fashioned way: by bookmarking it. (Much like my Hotmail email address, you can’t take my precious bookmarks away … you just can’t, OK?)
But Pinterest certainly has its time and place.
We live in a world influenced by the speed and convenience of having everything we could ever need at our fingertips. We’re fast. We’re visual. We want our info, and we want it lickety-split – like, three seconds ago.
We also want a million ways to eat bacon, bridesmaids’ dresses in the perfect shade of eggplant, and manicures so elaborate they’d put Vincent van Gogh to shame.
Back when I was young and naive, I didn’t think it could get any better than Google Images.
Now it’s like, “Pshaw, take Myspace and go back to 2006 where you both belong because Pinterest is where it’s at.”
It’s where I find pictures of two-ingredient pancakes and smoky eye makeup and five articles of clothing I can wear a zillion different ways while I cry into my boring, tasteless pancakes – and never mind the fact that I’m ruining the makeup I just spent three hours applying because it makes me look like I took a foul ball to the face anyway, and where’s the fun in that?
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It’s where I can exhibit junkielike behavior without fear of intervention, where one minute I’m looking at craft ideas, and the next thing I know it’s 4 a.m. and I’ve pinned exactly zero ways to reuse cardboard toilet paper tubes. But hey, I now have 300 new recipes for tacos that I never even knew I needed, so it’s cool.
Except, what’s with all these food wrappers? And when was the last time I put on deodorant?
If you can manage to avoid the rabbit hole that is Pinterest – and congrats, pat yourself on the back, that’s a huge accomplishment – the site can be an incredibly powerful tool. Here’s what I mean.
Pinterest for Research
As a graphic designer, I’m completely useless if I start a new project without any direction, even if it’s something as open-ended as “just make it pretty.” It’s like going into the Super Bowl without a playbook. I need that period of time before opening a blank document to do research, whether it involves weighing font, color and layout options, looking at what others have done on similar projects, brushing up on the client’s brand (if they have one) or finding examples of their desired image (if they don’t), or all of the above.
Research isn’t an optional part of the design process. It’s vital. But because deadlines are the bossman in this industry, we don’t always have ample time for it. In those situations, Pinterest is ideal. It’s quick and it’s convenient. Click. New tab. Type in the URL. Enter my search terms. Bam. All the glorious examples of sleek typography a girl could ask for.
If only dating were this easy, but I digress.
Pinterest for Inspiration
I like to think of Pinterest as the Gandhi of the Internet. It does not judge and it does not exclude. Pinterest takes its little pair of cyber arms and wraps everything it touches in a blanket of love.
I turn to the site because it’s all-encompassing and because I know there’s a really good chance that I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for, even if it’s something superspecific that probably doesn’t exist elsewhere. (And if it doesn’t exist at all, there’s always the option to introduce it to the Web myself, which is pretty neato too.)
Because there’s so much to explore on Pinterest, there’s also no shortage of things – odd or not – to draw inspiration from. Though photos of the Eiffel Tower in springtime or cute little golden retrievers frolicking in a meadow of wildflowers don’t really do a whole lot for me – sorry, Paris; sorry, puppies – I am inspired by other people and the work they create.
Nothing is more motivating to me than seeing what others are capable of and knowing, even if I’m being delusional about it, that I could do it too.
Well, except for making a convincing case for using Comic Sans.
We all know that’s impossible.
Pinterest for Collaboration
As a free, Web-based application, Pinterest is a cinch to access, which in turn makes it a cinch to collaborate with other creative types. I have a friend from college who’s a photographer, and he’s been on my case for months to team up with him on a future project because we’re both artsy-fartsy – and hey, why not? The advent of Pinterest means we can throw ideas at each other even though we’re two time zones and 1,200 miles apart.
And yeah, we might have to wade through some filth to find what we’re looking for, but welcome to the Internet. Scoff all you want at a website that strives to turn you into Martha Stewart overnight (sans felony charges) and promises you body parts like whichever Kardashian-Jenner kid is relevant at the moment, but know that this is the 21st century. If it’s perfectly acceptable for grown adults to run outside and chase fictional characters on their cellphones, then it’s perfectly acceptable for you to pin until the wee hours of the night.
Just try not to forget to bathe, and remember: If those Cookie Monster cupcakes look too good to be true, it’s probably because they are.