the inspiration archive

September 29, 2009 | 5 Comments

As I promised a few weeks ago, I have a few posts in the works with some tips on managing my workflow for web design. This would be the first of those…

I’ve been building websites for about 15 years, mostly for personal projects like this one. There have been some side jobs here and there, but it’s been in the last year that I’m doing significant freelance work to put food in my family’s mouths. Looking back at some of the sites I made even a year ago, I’m happy with how much I’ve improved. But most of the credit for that progress comes from keeping my eyes open for designs I like and learning from others.

At the center of this has been an inspiration archive I’ve created in Yojimbo. This is an archive of tutorials, font samples, galleries, or single sites that have a striking design. When I’m getting started on a new site, I often scan through these archived pages, and without fail, I come away with one or two ideas to get me started.

I’ve considered doing something like this in Voila or Little Snapper, both of which are great apps that can easily capture an entire webpage. However, they store the webpages as a giant image. Yojimbo fully archives the page with all the graphics and text so I can see the layout and search for specific text if I’m trying to find a certain page, style, or topic.

You might not be a designer, but this archive feature can be helpful for you too. Yojimbo can serve as your own mini-Google of sites you find helpful and want to have immediate access to at a later time. If you are a photographer, it could be tips or images of photo shoots from your “wanna be like” list. If you are a writer, you could collect an archive of writing tips or short stories to get you going.

It’s easy to capture websites to Yojimbo using a simple bookmarklet you can add to your browser. I used the app for a year or two before I even realized this feature was in there, but now it’s the most important feature for me. In the Yojimbo menubar, select Help, and then choose Bookmarklet. This will take you to the instructions to add a bookmarklet for whatever browser you are using. Once the bookmarklet is in place, a single click dumps whatever website you are viewing into Yojimbo.

  • jhfrudd

    How does Yojimbo stack up against EverNote? That app will also store entire webpages and also the link to revisit them.

    interested to know your view.

    Great site!

  • John

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve looked at Evernote several times, but it hasn’t pulled me away from Yojimbo. Yojimbo is still more refined at this point, at least from my experience.

    When I did look at Evernote, I think that web archives were only available in the paid version, but that memory might not be accurate.

  • Check out Together for Mac – it’s like Yojimbo but takes you that extra mile. i used to use Yoj, but switched after a better overall experience.

  • John

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve heard good things about Together, but I’ve been happy enough with Yojimbo that I don’t see it worth being the time to switch and learn the nuances of a new app.

  • I’ve been using Yojmbo for a couple of years too — and had no idea the bookmarklets even existed. They’re a treasure. Thanks so much for this.

    Re Evernote and Yojimbo — I use both. My main use for Evernote however is to get paper notes into Curio. I just photograph them, then drag them into the relevant Curio file. For general storage use, Yojimbo is easier for me; I like Evernote’s interface, but it has bugs which make it too annoying to bother with for constant use. (It totally stopped working on my PC, so guess I need to reinstall. Still works on my Macs.)