Seek and ye shall find:
If you’re anything like me, you spend far too much time online egoistically searching for YouTube tutorials to transform yourself into a guru of your field. You lie awake dredging through how tos, vlogs and Instagrams looking for inspiration and skills, without actually observing or engaging the world around you. Realistically, wisdom and skill comes from decades of work and discipline - there’s no quick fix, so you might as well get some sleep if you’re on Pinterest at 2am. The search for self-improvement is fuelled by the image in your mind of your future self and if obsessed over can lead to deep unsatisfaction. It’s well worth being patient and positive when it comes to your shortcomings, for your own sanity and happiness.
This being said, we thirst for knowledge and require an education to compete or collaborate with others and succeed. We need to balanced approach to our passions and pursuit of happiness, by empowering ourselves and learning. Most designers and creatives will go to university or art school to study their discipline (although they won’t be restricted to that discipline as the creative process isn’t fixed to one output). However, this education may not be enough. In the age of information, you can bet your bottom dollar someone else has an edge over you and will take that job you want. Even if you aren’t concerned by your career, there is a wealth of knowledge available to you well worth tapping.
I have compiled a list of videos and sources of information and inspiration, so you don’t have to. This is an inspiration list for industrial designers. A bill of materials for product designers. A cavalcade of resources for creatives. This isn’t a perfect list and I’m far from wise old preacher, but I hope if anyone gains the insight from what I’ve found I’ll be glad. I’ve had fun putting this list together, even if not a single soul makes it to my blog.
Art and Architecture
How To Think Like An Architect (Short Video Series)
2-3 mins each | A series of introductory videos into the approach architects take when creating solutions for clients. Barry Berkus is a contemporary architect in California and has also given an interesting TED Talk.
5-6 mins each | A playlist of videos by School Of Life (channel worth following for thought provoking and reflective ideas) about art/architecture, including Vermeer, Palladio and Dieter Rams - three of my all time greats.
Art and Architecture | Fast Sketch Playlist
These ‘fast sketches’ are short videos providing an exposition of colour, creativity and skill. Fascinating to watch and copy.
Building Trust International
A charity I’ve worked with who brings designers and architects together to provide quality design and construction to those less fortunate than ourselves. A noble cause to apply your skills to. They open up competitions from time to time.
CAD and 3D Printing
Free CAD software if you’re in education, as a student or educator. A great resource for industry standard CAD software. Really democratic of AutoDesk, well done boys and girls.
Cloud based parametric CAD software. On par with SolidWorks, Onshape is specifically designed for collaboration and data management. Its free, but there’s a business subscription if you want full access. This is the very first fully cloud based software, access though your web browser or phone/tablet app - this means you can work SolidWorks files on a mac.
One of my favourite subscriptions, covering all things CAD/CAM. Particularly, 3D printing. They have a conference every year in the UK, which I’ve seen for a number of years and is well worth a visit.
All About 3D Printing
The latest and greatest from the 3D printing/rapid prototyping industry. For beginners and seasoned veterans alike.
An informative channel for amateur 3D printer hobbyists.
Creativity and Productivity
How to build your creative confidence | David Kelley
11:46 | One of my all time favourite TED talks. David Kelly is a thought leaders in the 'design thinking’ world and his book ‘Creative Confidence’, which this TED talk is about, is a useful read for designers and non-designers alike.
How To Come Up With Good Ideas | Mark Rober | TEDxYouth@ColumbiaSC
17:37 | An interesting perspective on creativity and cool ideas from outside the design industry.
Creative thinking - how to get out of the box and generate ideas: Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma
13:38 | Slightly philosophical and ambitious, but a thought provoking talk about the midset and approach of creative thinking.
If you don’t know this, you should. Here’s an extract from Massimo Vigenelli’s book, ‘The Vignelli Cannon’. “The international Standard paper sizes, called the A series, is based on a golden rectangle, the divine proportion. It is extremely handsome and practical as well… The United States uses a basic letter size of ugly proportions, and results in complete chaos with an endless amount of paper sizes"
Adobe Color CC
Create beautiful colour palettes, compare other peoples beautiful colour palettes and integrate beautiful colour palettes into your work. This is useful and playful site for finding the right hue for you.
Ready made vector graphics are great for infographics and diagrams, and they save you a load of time. There are hundreds of these sites, just google "free [insert what you’re looking for] vector". None the less, here are a couple of sites I’ve used before. Same thing applies to fonts too. If you’re looking for the perfect font, just google it.
Inclusive Design Toolkit | Exclusivity Calculator
If you’re designing for people, you ought to be inclusive. Here is a great tool from the Inclusive Design Toolkit, to help you identify why and how some people might be disenfranchised or excluded from your product/service.
Design Kit, from IDEO
IDEO are one of my favourite consultancies and they’ve produced a ‘Design Kit’ for research and idea generation methods. Really useful when you’re in the thick of a project.
YouTube Channel | Predominantly graphic design and consultancy work, but some really good content and interesting discussions regarding process, industry practice and motivation. It’s also important for industrial/product designers to understand branding, market positioning, graphics and portfolio - this is a great channel.
Pinterest is not just for graphic design, not by any means, but I had to put it somewhere on this list. This is great platform checking out what designs are out there and good source of inspiration.
If you’re not familiar with reddit, you should be. Reddit is the self-proclaimed ‘front page to the internet’, as there’s a community of millions contributing to sharing content and links. Reddit has thousands of subreddits, committed to any subject you can possibly think of, including graphic design. Don’t just stick to this link, you should explore reddit in all its glory.
A parody subreddit, exposing the world’s worst design. Hilarious to anyone design literate.
Inspiration and Alternative
YouTube Channel | A curious and playful about toys and gadgets. Very simple, very fun and reminiscent of the joy you had as a child when playing with a new toy.
Tips From A Shipwright
YouTube Channel | This is not a design channel, but tips from an excellent craftsman. This channel has some beautiful videos and he shows great skill and experience in woodwork and boat building. You don’t have to be into marine engineering to appreciate the love and attention that goes into crafting a vessel.
Oxford Union Addresses
The Oxford Union, of Oxford University if you didn’t know, uploads many debates and addresses on YouTube. Speeches concerning a huge range of issues with an impressive range of illustrious or even infamous guests. Interesting and stimulating stuff. The link goes to a conversation with the late Zaha Hadid, architect.
Design Matters | Podcasts
Hundreds of interviews, being made since 2005, with creatives of all stripes. Debbie Millman interviews artists and architects; business and branding people; cartoonists and columnists; designers and directors; all manor of interesting people in accessible 20-30 min podcasts.
Good Fucking Design Advice
If you like punchy design advice with the word 'fuck' in there somewhere, than this site is right up your fucking street.
This is a link of links. Design Education has thousands of links for you to explore and share the all our accumulated knowledge of design. Much like this very list here, only bigger.
Learn a new language, it’s good for you.
Go meet some real people. Meet up allows you to link with like minded people. There’s loads of courses, classes, interest groups and social meetings. Communication and networking are really important in design.
Designers’ Hippocratic Oath
Will you swear to do no harm with your designs? Check out these principles, it’s food for thought.
Industrial Design / Product Design
The subreddit for industrial design. Full of advice and inspiration. Look around reddit for other subreddits, such as product design.
Industrial design magazine, great for picking up the headlines from the industry and keeping up to date.
There are a surprising number of Facebook groups for design skills and subjects. This is one of my favourites, as it has loads of sketching tutorials worth trying at home.
Science and Engineering
Never loose sight of our place in the universe. NASA is an amazing organisation, as is anyone who looks to the stars. Perhaps one night you should climb your nearest hill and look up at the milky-way, you’ll be surprised how much there is to see.
The New Scientist is a well established magazine bringing the latest discoveries to the public. It covers all disciplines of science, including phycology and anthropology, which is key to design. Always a fascinating read.
RoyMech | Useful information, tables, schedules and formula related to mechanical engineering
This is a great site, that I have used many many times as a Design Engineer. The most commonly referenced engineering data, such as drill/tap sizes and steel section data, are all here. Sadly, the guy to complied it has passed away, but his work lives on and is still a useful design reference tool.
Sustainability and Circular Economy
Sustainability By Design
12 Talks | A playlist of inspiring stories and examples of sustainable practice and innovation in design and architecture. There is quite a lot of content, but it can be watched one talk at a time.
The Circular Design Guide
Circular design is about keeping the materials we use in the cycle of production without polluting the globe. It’s a huge subject area, but shows great promise for the longevity of life on earth. We are all responsible, but designers more so as we have direct control over the production goods. This site has tools and education materials about the subject.
The Guardian | Sustainable Business Section
A section of the Guardian website for sustainable business. This is not the only news source concerned with sustainability, there are many more if you look for it.
Sustainability is not enough, we need regenerative cultures
A great article from medium.com, putting the case for a far more aggressive and proactive attitude towards cultivating and protecting the environment. Worth a read.