Best way to save and store your design ideas in one place?

Where do all you creative minds collect and store all your design ideas and concept sketches so that you can get a good overview and find things easy when needed?
The reason I ask is that Im constantly coming up with ideas for new or existing designs and solutions to problems, and I usually jot them down wherever possible (just to dont forget them). So now I have a mixed mess of ideas laying around as physical paper and napkin sketches as well as notes in my phone and computer (dropbox, NAS-disk, photo, txt/word files, evernote, OneNote, wunderlist etc)

I need a one place to rule them all solution but havent really found one yet (easy to access and tablet friendly with a mix of text notes sketches and images)
OneNote is the closet so far and I have started migrating everything to it but I dont like having my private and “top secret” ideas in the hands of a Microsoft cloud.
I figure this is the right Place to ask since you are all probably the most creative and experienced minds I can think of :slight_smile: and have probably experienced the same problem at some point.

Any help in sorting out my mess will be most appreciated :blush:

If you want to access the notes from multiple devices and don’t want anything in the cloud then I’d say you’re out of luck for simple solutions. Maybe storing everything on an encrypted NAS that you can access remotely?

Never trust any sort of proprietary software or format…

I keep a folder of images on my computer. I can take screenshots of stuff I see, pics of sketches, pics from the internet for reference…etc. A single running word or text file can be used for text. A JPG won’t be out of date any time soon I think. I have over 65,000 images I’ve collected for reference for almost 20 years. Have migrated from various computers, across CD-ROM>DVD> flash drives> hard drives> different cloud services. Easy to sync a folder with files…

I can organize and browse in Lightroom, but the original files are kept as simple images in folders and LR is not required to use it. Easy to backup on multiple backups formats, keep and access in the cloud. Pretty much future proof.


Seems like its something that should be individually designed. I’m not a fan of the idea of “life caching” so ideas and other stuff will be necessarily edited by what I think is most important to keep. Just not EVERYTHING.
In practice this has taken the form of various sketchbooks or notebooks. I draw on or decorate or decal the covers so even if the formats are the same (moleskine etc.) they look different and I can recognize time and place and context. Doesn’t matter if nobody else can understand the organization. But I’d print things out and then cut and paste them into the sketchbooks (if they were digital).
Yes - a couple of folders of images on my personal laptop HD as well. Backed up with Time Machine. I’ve tried to be organized with this but found a big dumping pile works almost as well, with less mental effort.

Thanx for your answers :slight_smile: Its always Nice to hear how others handle a specific task. Good idea of always storing as a photo/jpeg as it works well with my NAS.
So judging by your answers its rather a matter of personal preference and just trying to keep organized from the start no matter what media you use for storing your thoughts.

If you read this and have more ideas or just want to share your own solution please keep postning Ill be more than happy to hear :blush:

I was using onenote for notes, but it seems like Evernote is faster and has more features.

I don’t keep many sketches outside of books and binders, but I do have a folder on my network storage where I drop images, PDFs, spec sheets, etc. I used to have it on a USB key, but now I have a NAS and I’ll sync it using a merge tool from wherever I am working.