SimpleDesks started as a simple Tumblr which visualized the workspaces of various creatives- writers, designers, developers, and the like. Modest at first, the site exploded in popularity. Yesterday, SimpleDesks returned from a six-month hiatus with a new look, a new focus, and membership options.
Workspace visualization, on the surface, may seem like a pointless exercise, but it can be a valuable tool in providing inspiration to other creatives who spend their days at a desk.
Even before the internet age, there was always a fascination with the workspaces of famous creatives. The Guardian, as recently as 2009, posted an ongoing series of writers' workspaces. Many books The Writer's Deskare available which highlight the relationship between writers and their place of work. The source of the inspiration these visualizations provide are, of course, multi-faceted, but one of the primary reasons this type of media remains so popular is the fact that it frames creators in a very human way. Van Gogh, Nabokov, and Dieter Rams may seem like they work in some far-off land situated amongst the clouds, but in fact, they sit down at desks similar to ours and punch out the work, much as we do. By extension, those known as 'the rest of us' can take comfort in the fact that the greatest of creators were simply men and women just like us. It's a subtle psychoogical trick, but it works- and that's part of the reason that workspace visualization is so popular.
SimpleDesks does this type of curation as well as anyone on the web. Initially, the spaces seemed to be linked by a minimalist thread: the desks portrayed were quite sparse. There's something to be said for that approach: research has shown that the elimination of visual clutter can increase productivity. That's far from a rule, though: the simple truth is that our workspaces must vary as widely as our minds do.
To that end, SimpleDesks articulates a shift away from pure minimalism in its return on the site's 'why' page:
By avoiding as much as possible the fetishism of minimalism, and instead promoting a flexible, functional approach to the subject, I hope to inspire those interested to simplify their work to a sensible - not obsessive - extent.
SimpleDesks, much like this site, is run by one person, and must be maintained. In the most recent post, the curator states the need to monetize: "if the site is to be sustainable it needs to bring in a larger income - to a reasonable extent - so that I can justify spending the time I do on maintaining it."
With that in mind, SimpleDesks now includes an option to become a supporter. The site is, of course, free to browse, but those who wish to do so may become a contributor for $1.50 per month.
SimpleDesks can be viewed via the site itself, or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or via RSS or email. Head on over to check it out.
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