Evernote is a web site, desktop and mobile app which allows you to gather your thoughts online through note-taking, capturing images from web pages and your camera, voice messages and handwritten notes. Evernote’s slogan is “Remember Everything,” and if you’re like me and sometimes feel you forget everything, this is a very easy and helpful tool to use.
I’ve only been using it for a short while and initially only for research and notes on my blog posts here on SitePoint and on my own website. More recently, I’ve put together some mood boards for my design work, by grouping together my own notes, articles found online, images of interest, colour palettes, screen grabs and fonts I like. That’s why I love this app, because it keeps it all organised for me.
Each project that you work on is stored as a “notebook,” which you can name and add your content to. When you have the plug-in installed on your browser, it is simply a matter of selecting what you want to remember, and then right clicking and choose “Add to Evernote,” or clicking on the Evernote icon which is visible at the top of your browser.
The selection you’ve made is saved to your account, along with any tags you want to attach to it, and the web page where it came from.
If you haven’t made a mood board before, or if you never heard about a mood board, here’s a brief explanation. A mood board is a tool used by designers to give clients (and themselves) ideas for the look and feel of a design. Mood boards are basically collages of items such as photographs, sketches, clippings, fonts, fabric swatches and color samples. A mood board can be physical or virtual. They are very popular with interior and fashion designers but I believe they are equally of use for web and graphic designers.
To create your own online mood boards, make a new notebook in Evernote and name it something appropriate for the project you’re working on. Then when you’re using the web, anything you find of interest you can quickly add to your project, whether it’s inspiring images or fonts that might work with your design. It’s a good idea to add tags when you’re saving something. It makes it easy to cross-reference and you might find something you had saved before is just what you’re looking for. While you won’t actually see all of your saved selections as one collage in Evernote, what you do see are thumbnails of each item. Click on a thumbnail to see more information including your own notes and the link back to the source site.
Mood boards are a great way for designers to present their take on a theme to clients. Evernote allows you to share your notebooks with others, a great opportunity when working on designs for international clients.
Signing up for Evernote on their web site is free, and there is also a premium account available. From there you can download the plug-in or bookmarklet, windows or Mac desktop app or mobile app. The free account allows you to upload 40MB of “stuff” in digital form. The paid account costs $5 per month or $45 per year and allows uploads of 500MB.
Just to be clear, this post is not an ad! Nor is it a paid review. I’m just genuinely excited about this app.
Do you use Evernote or something similar for collating your design research or ideas?