Down the Pinterest Rabbit Hole

The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well. – Horace Walpole


Unless you’ve been on sabbatical in Calcutta for six months, you’ve heard of It’s that snappy site where members have online bulletin boards, categorized by whatever interests them (“weddings”, “recipes”, “shoes”, etc.). Users “pin” links or images to their boards from one of three places: other websites, their computer or other Pinterest members’ boards. The pins maintain the links to the images’ original websites, so it’s a way to keep all their bookmarks in a single, cool and convenient location, all nicely organized by topic. (That’s key for me, as my Firefox bookmark menu could be featured on Hoarders.)

Navigating Pinterest is a bit voyeuristic, as you can “follow” anyone’s boards you like – friends and strangers – and see what they find funny or fashionable, important or interesting. And since the whole shebang is searchable, you can look for almost anything.

This site is so hot now that major retailers from Whole Foods to Nordstrom have started their own boards, hoping their products will be chosen and re-pinned across the pinterland. It averages more than 1.3 million visitors a day, 68% of which are women and 28% of the whole have a household income of $100k+. (If infographics make you happy as a Who on Christmas, there are more gritty details here.)

Which brings me to the point of this blog post: that, for me as a designer, Pinterest is an amazing source of creativity and inspiration, a single location that springboards me to so many more sites than I would ever come across in my usual meanderings through the blogosphere. Being aware of what is new or trending in fashion and literature, art or home décor, keeps me fresher in my own field – the broader my base of knowledge, the more effective my design will be to a larger audience.

The only problem is getting off Pinterest. It’s a bit like going down the rabbit hole – it’s unbelievably easy to hop from one board to another and another, joyfully absorbing all the new pieces of inspiration…until you realize you’ve used your entire lunch break doing it.

Good thing it’s “creative research.” <wink>