Social media sites are a great place to exchange all kind of ideas or meet new people, they are also a goldmine for designers and creative people searching for inspiration. In this article I share a few ways that I often use to find inspiration through social media sites.

Browse image bookmarking websites

Design bookmarking sites are probably the most popular among designers. My favourite is by far FFFFound, a social media site where selected designers (you must be invited to get an account) share designs they loved around the web. One of the best features about the website is its keyboard based navigation. Other great image bookmarking networks are Dropular, Typeish, We Heart it or vi.sualize.us.

For typography lovers, John Boardley, the author of “I Love Typography “, created with a friend “We Love Typography“, an bookmarking website targetting specifically typography related stuff. You will for sure find a lot of inspiring design work there.

FFFFound logo

Ask questions

Interaction is what web 2.0 is all about. Sometimes all you need to do is communicate, that’s what Twitter, Blurtit or Yahoo Answers are for. I often ask my Twitter followers when I’m looking for ideas for a blog post. You can even take this further by using services like Twittpoll. People will most likely be happy to help you out, they are usually glad when they can show their expertise.

BlurtIt Screenshot

Read blogs

This can sound like obvious advice, but it has to be mentionned as blogs are one of my biggest inspiration sources. There are two types of blogs that I find better to find inspiration: people who share designs that they like, for example Design You Trust or Smashing Magazine, or tutorial blogs like NetTuts or PSDTuts.

NetTuts screenshot

Browse Flickr

Flickr by itself is just a good social photo site and isn’t so helpful to find inspiration. What makes it really amazing are the cool mashups that have been created around the website. My favourite mashup is by far the color palette generator that allows you to extract colours from one of your Flickr photos. Another Flickr related colour mashup is available on the Multicolr Search Lab , where you can look for interesting pictures that contain specific colours. If you simply want to search images more efficiently, take a look at Compfight.

Flickr Palette

Watch conferences

One great resource for inspiration is to listen to inspiring and successful people, watching conferences is a good way to do that. TED is the best conference for people looking for anything related to design, entertainment and technology. They bring every year brilliant speakers and share talks on their website. Another good source for design speeches is the AIGA video section, where they put videos of conferences organized by the association. Last but not least, Talks@Google offer a wide range of inspiring talks, most are not by designers but are still interesting.

TED conference screenshot

Search for keywords on social bookmarking sites

It is no secret that people bookmark webpages that they find inspiring or useful, thus searching social bookmarking sites is a great way to find inspiration. In my opinion, Delicious and Stumbleupon are the best places for designers to find inspiration, obviously because they are the most used by other designers. In Delicious, you can perform searches by tags, then narrow you search within this tag. Another great way to make the most out of Delicious is to find power users and browse their bookmarks (for example Adobe).

For Stumbleupon, you’ll find inspiration for sure by stumbling the Graphic design, Drawing or Fine Arts categories. For more specific topics, just search for a keyword and stumble pages tagged with this keyword.

Delicious screenshot

About the author: Mirko Humbert is a freelance designer from Switzerland. He shares his thoughts about his passion on his design blog. To connect with Mirko, you can follow him on Twitter.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/hellogreenstar GreenStar

    Nice round up of links and inspiration. I never have seen the TED videos – does that make me a design loser? :) Either way, I’m browsing through all of these now and will be tweeting this url as well.

  • http://aravindajith.com aravind

    vi.sualize.us is a great recourse of inspiration.
    and deviantart indeed

  • http://designoplasty.com Matt

    I like that color palette generator, that’s cool.

  • http://www.auradev.com Web Design Portland

    Great collection of ideas… I’m looking thru your examples and getting some good insight and ideas for my site!

  • http://mysticpixels.in mysticpixels

    deviantart, is a rocking resource for all the graphic designers and artists…cant be missed out…

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  • http://smartmarketer.net Atlanta Online Marketing

    Great article! That is the inspiration I needed today. I was running into some stumbling blocks on a very long project and this helped put me in the right headspace.

    *bookmark*…and see you again soon!

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  • http://www.w3spor.no Siv

    Thank you for good article with inspiration and good tip!

  • http://www.looogo-web.com Anwar

    thanks a million.

    this is really inspiring…
    much appreciated

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Mike

    Thanks for the inspirational inspiration tips, I will definitely look into some of these areas, I’ve found TED a very useful resource, but I think that I have hardly begun to plunder the net for inspiration so thanks for the article, now I know where to look!

  • http://twitter.com/mandaleebee Amanda

    I set up a web design column on my Tweetdeck that filters the tweets of some of my favorite web and graphic designers. Its a great way to keep track of recent articles in the design field!