Where are the Visual Inspiration Websites These Days?
August 19, 2020 1:48 PM   Subscribe

In the Golden Age of the internet, I loved browsing sites like Tumblr, FFFFound, Stumbleupon, etc. They were simple, beautiful, and had a diverse mix of visually interesting art, photos, graphic design, fashion, architecture, etc. They were often fairly random and full of unique images, had minimal/unobtrusive marketing or ads, and just exposed you to stuff you might not see otherwise. Where can I find sites or apps like that today?

Pinterest was great in its heyday, but has completely succumbed to sponsored pins/advertisements and is barely usable because of that. Instagram's explore tab used to be decent, but their push towards "reels" and "stories" is noisy and distracting, and the algorithm curates everything to such a super-narrow aesthetic that you never see anything different or way out of the box it has placed you in based on your interaction with the app.

I get a lot of inspiration for my own life by seeing a wide variety of visual art and design, stuff I would never even think to look at, but I'm struggling to find sources for that nowadays. (Also real-life inspiration like museums and indie-movie-houses aren't available these days.)

Any suggestions?
posted by carlypennylane to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
How about Thisiscolossal ?
posted by Julnyes at 1:56 PM on August 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

I hear all the cool kids are over at mltshp now.
posted by zamboni at 2:23 PM on August 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

I used Ffffound and later Pinterest in this way, and for the past few years I’ve been on Tumblr for the same purpose.
posted by migurski at 3:13 PM on August 19, 2020

NOTCOT (short for "not couture", iirc) is an old favorite of mine. it skews towards graphic/product design, which sounds up your alley.
posted by wintersonata9 at 4:45 PM on August 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Here's two sites I recommend: Mix and Medium. Both let you highlight subjects you're interested in. I think that Mix came out of Stumbleupon.
posted by ydaltak at 4:52 PM on August 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

For design-design it’s all Dribbbl.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:33 PM on August 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lines and Colors

Gurney Journey

and, well, demoralizing as it, most artists I know use instagram.. so i have an instagram account that is completely not social media-y - so i'm not following anyone i know IRL/friends with this account - that I made for this very purpose, because I wanted to look at beautiful things.

(ps - you can have multiple instagram user profiles and switch between them, so if you do decide you want to have a real personal instagram social-media-y account, you can access them both/toggle between them. alas in my experience instagram is not super accessible in the browser/from the PC, but I think I have read about some workarounds if you're really motivated.. other mefites if I'm wrong on this, I'd be glad to know : ) )
posted by elgee at 7:34 PM on August 19, 2020

diverse mix of visually interesting art, photos, graphic design, fashion, architecture, etc.

You’ve just described Behance. The links at the top of the page are graphic design, photography, illustration, interaction, motion, architecture, product design, fashion, advertising, fine arts, crafts, etc.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:45 PM on August 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is partially what I use Tumblr for. There are lots of Tumblr accounts that exist only to post nice things to look at, and you can curate your experience by following only these kinds of accounts. Tumblr sometimes shows you posts that it guesses you will like, and it's not always correct, but I have genuinely found cool new accounts to follow that way. Real humans also reblog other humans' posts, which is another way to find more good accounts.
posted by confluency at 2:25 AM on August 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Neocities has tons of beautiful, weird and just interesting sites.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:32 PM on August 20, 2020

I like Juxtapoz, Flavorwire, and Raw Vision. Also a big fan of Colossal.
posted by cross_impact at 1:33 PM on August 20, 2020

I'm not afeared to say I love Instagram for this.

I have an art account and follow tons of art accounts, hashtags, design accounts etc who post a crazy wide spectrum of types of crafts art and design (and ux/branding since that's my "real job").

To find new things you don't already see on your feed, you can check out the discover page which is admittedly only mildly helpful even with a super curated account like mine (💅), or of course hashtags. Start with an account you like and look at their tags, find one you want to see more of and go from there.
posted by moons in june at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2020

I actually still use Flickr for this sort of visual browsing. (My paper snowflakes post from a few months back was inspired by a Flickr discovery.)

Flickr has a really robust search feature, so I often search by keyword, but you can follow individual members, too. I like how international the site's membership is.
posted by yarntheory at 4:50 PM on August 20, 2020

Archillect (which I mostly consume via Twitter) is the best Ffffound replacement I've, uh, found. That same mix of serendipity, randomness, weirdness, and inspiration...
posted by cmaxmagee at 5:51 PM on August 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

ello is still around...
posted by progosk at 3:13 AM on August 21, 2020

I've been using are.na for a few years. Non-algorithmic, no ads, no "you might also like", etc. Very stripped down interface.
posted by brainnews at 6:17 AM on August 24, 2020

Saatchi Art is a sort of Etsy for fine art, and it has a photography section.

VSCO is a photography app with a much cleaner interface than Insta.

I have a separate Instagram account for following artists. Rather than spending time on the Explore tab, I like to follow a few artists and then click the down arrow that appears beside "Following" on their profile to follow similar accounts. I check it on my computer - for now at least, Instagram ads don't appear on desktop, only on mobile. Makes for a much better experience.
posted by MorseCold at 4:16 PM on April 13, 2021

« Older California Plumbing Certification   |   Corded Twin-Bell or Mechanical Alarm Clock... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.