Hanging out in the Pinterest same-o-sphere can send a designer running from the herd, however I wouldn’t desert the realm of industrial chic interiors and bespoke hand-lettered inspo quotes just yet. This is why Pinterest helps my design process.
That ordering algorithm is sick. Sure, it’s temporally ordered by recency, but look closer you’ll see that it organizes by colour and tone, and look even closer and you’ll see it accounts for structure as well. This means you can view groupings of images that are not from the same category at all, right against each other. For example a type layout for a book cover, next to a bauhaus building from the 30s next to some textile pattern from a far away land all speaking a similar language. This really helps you look outside the narrow discipline of “web design” for inspiration.
You can distinguish between the trends and the timeless. Take it from someone who told her SO not to invest in UGGS in the early 00’s – it pays to know when a trend is not just a trend! Of course no one has a crystal ball that will tell you if cool ideas won’t run their course by the next quarter, but looking back on your pins will definitely show which elements have stood the test of time, and may even regenerate into the next trends. For example, Are full screen overlay menus a pain in the arse now, or on their way to defining a new mobile navigation experience?
So there you go, you can waste away hours in a Pinterest hole, safe in the knowledge that you are polishing your design sensibility, and arming your clients with the sharpest design and UI prowess around!