Pinterest for design ideas

This guest post is by Richard Berman. Rick teaches courses in Urban Studies, and shared his use of Pinterest at the Lightning Round at our October symposium. Pinterest provides a simple way to collect, organize, annotate and share images from a variety of sources. Rick guides his students to document their creative process visually by compiling a Pinterest board of examples they can build upon. He has shared details of his class assignment below:

Richard W. BermanI used WordPress rather than Blackboard, for my new summer class called Exploring Creativity (URBS-421).  My assignments were posted to the site.  The majority of projects the students did during this course were uploaded to the site, as well. Besides allowing me to review their work, it allowed students to see what others were doing, and (hopefully) share their ideas with each other.  During our class sessions, we pulled the site onto our projection screen for class discussions.

I also had each student create a Pinterest account to use during the course.  Links to students Pinterest boards were added to our WordPress homepage, as well.  This short project is an example of how it was integrated into the process:


  1. CHOOSE an urban design problem within Philly. a simple element needing improvement…
  2. DEFINE THE PROBLEM.  Look for the root cause of the problem, not symptoms of a particular design solution.
  3. SKETCH IT (3 sketches).
  4. GATHER IDEAS about how other places solve similar problems. Use to scrapbook these ideas.  You’ll need to open a free account for this.
  5. DESIGN OWN SOLUTION for Philly. The object isn’t to steal an idea from elsewhere.  Rather it’s to use those ideas to inspire your own.


One example of how works is the Umbrellas board created by Rick’s student Min-ji Kim – this collection of images for umbrella designs from different cultures and contexts has helped her create a new umbrella design.

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