January 23, 2008
I design stuff. I design websites and flash banners you see online. I design ads you see in magazines. I design new brands and identities for older companies. I design such a wide variety of materials that the majority of my time is spent hunched in front of computer screens analyzing designs, observing design trends, trying different design options. And additional time, of course, is spent responding to design comments, edits and requests.
Enough already, this designer needs a break. A mindless commercial break with hopes for re-energizing the remainder of the workday, hopes of discovering something truly unique or humorous to forward on to friends and colleagues. The ultimate hope would to be the first discoverer of the next big internet 'thing' - discovering the next viral Holy Grail.Here's are the three types of sites I go to for taking a mind break from work and (perhaps) stumbling onto some unique viral material:
Lacking any productive purpose:
These are the sites that offer a seemingly endless stream of meaningless content sure enough to entertain (or offend) any and all parties. The first stop is the mothership of all video, youtube.com. It's here that I discovered the legendary John Kilduff and his amazing live talkshow "Let's Paint, Excercise and Blend Drinks TV!". And let's not forget our breakout talent of 2007, Tay Zonday, received over 13 million views of the instant classic "Chocolate Rain". This stuff is so golden that it's hard to resist not sending it on to your entire address book. Not just interested in video? Jump on over to digg.com or stumbledupon.com and discover the magic of family photos gone wrong or the worst album covers ever created. Solid gold.
Detours, detours, detours:
Sites used on a routine basis for reference or work can also be a pleasant diversion for those like me afflicted with workday ADD. Just jump onto images.google.com and enter in a phrase like "monkey funny face" or jump onto maps.google.com and start spying. It's great that the google camera van was shooting pictures around wrigley field before a game, i'm still looking for people i know. Wikipedia.com, Allmusic.com and imdb.com are also great for those tangent diversions that turn into six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Who knew the connection Huey Lewis and the News had with Elvis Costello's... yes, it's true.Shopping frenzy:
Better than sifting through resale shops and flea markets, you can troll through the aisles of ebay, craigslist and the like to discover a sea of useless (and questionable) items for sale. Looking for some Holy Toast?, check! Looking for an affordable Kitt car clone?, check! Looking to for the oddball box of wire coathangers or a used mattress for free? Head on over to the free section on craigslist.com and revel in the endless stream of free-ness.... It's 5:15, gotta run.