Is it too late for ’09 lists? Yes? Well, tough noogies.
Here are some resources that became indispensable to me over the last year. Not necessarily all design related, and not necessarily new in the grand scheme. But things I have come to depend on in my quest to create badassedry.
In no particular order:
Flickr is an unbelievable image resource. It’s infinitely searchable due to tagging, there is a huge variety of images available for research, and some are even available for use in projects*. Probably my most-searched-for word is vintage. Vintage type, vintage signage, vintage pharmaceutical advertising. Partly because I dig the aesthetic, but also because these days design can get very meta, very quickly. Looking at images of real, tactile items created with metal and wood and paper helps bring a more tactile to my work, even when it’s all digital.
*Flickr now has a search function that finds Creative Commons licensed images suitable for commercial use. I don’t use Flickr photos in big projects, but it is a good source of imagery for comps or pro-bono work. It’s a good idea to contact the owner of the image out of courtesy in those cases.
My second runner up has always been the Library of Congress image archives, but it is bulky and difficult to search. The plus is that most of the LoC images have expired copyrights and are available for commercial projects.
Got this app from MacHeist this year, and it was definitely a score. ShoveBox is a crazy little organizer where you can “shove” bits of information: snippets of text, bookmarks, images, etc. The bits of info are then taggable, commentable, searchable…I organize mine into folders by project so that any inspiration I run across can be shoved right in.
And of course there is an iPhone app that syncs with your Mac. That’s a crucial thing for me, because then all of my little snippets are available when I’m away from my machine. This is a much better alternative than the piles of notes I’d create on my iPhone, only to forget they were there.
I did use and love Harvest before this last year. But in 2009 I used Harvest’s invoicing and estimates features exclusively in my business. Is wonderful too strong a word to use about an app that helps with accounting? A joy? A little slice of sunshine in my mathematically -challenged world? At any rate, the estimates are easy to create, nice looking, and give clients the option of approving them online. You can turn estimates directly into invoices, or invoice based on hours worked, or create invoices from scratch. Harvest fulfills my dreams of software that has plenty of gorgeous functionality but not so much your brain explodes (hello, C&P!).
Did I mention that I like Harvest? Give them your money.
4. Color Slide iPhone app
Color Slide brings you hundreds of thousands of color schemes via Adobe’s Kuler service. It’s great for brainstorming web colors on the fly. I use it to do research when I’m standing in lines. People still look at me funny when I want to use purple and yellow together.
Yeah, I know. Twitter is the big new thing. Everybody talks about it, but only about half actually get it. And I’m on the silly little bandwagon.
Actually, 140 character non-sequiturs are some of my favorite things to give and receive. My only complaint with most Twitter clients was the difficulty with which they made retweeting or replying. I used Twitteriffic forever, but got sick of manually typing “RT @FlooDeeDoo…” Beak has a nice, unobtrusive interface and does what it’s supposed to. Which is all I could ask for.
So those are my most-used resources of the last year. In 2010 I hope to a) get a list out before the year’s out, and b) include an email/Twitter aggregator in the list. Let me know in the comments what resources you can’t live without.