Design Things, a curated design database.

Michele Byrne
Jun 29, 2017 · 4 min read

There are three things about myself that led me to creating Design Things.

  1. I keep everything I own. I always have.

I only recently threw out my complete middle school compilation of three years of meticulously organized tests, homework, and report cards. I even had a file folder for notes I passed in class (I kept those).

I mean, c’mon, I just turned 28 yet I still have most of my high school work. (Hit me up if you need an AP European History essay.) That is hoarder territory.

2. I write a lot of lists.

3. I live, breathe, and bleed (not really, that’s excessive) graphic design.

It was only natural for me to collect, organize, list, and categorize my favorite design resources. I tend to this so I go back and reference when starting a new project, but also, it’s mostly the hoarding thing.


When I was fresh out of college I was desperately looking for a job in graphic design. I was determined to work at a top-notch company in New York City. I already knew all of the big agencies off the top of my head but my plan was to apply everywhere. To do that, I needed a long list. I went to Google and searched keywords like “New York City design firms” and “best New York City graphic design companies.” Unfortunately, the results weren’t outstanding. I searched for a while and came up with two takeaways… one, design companies need to work on their SEO and two, I needed to make my own list. Thanks for nuffin’ Google.

Anyway, this inspired me to start an Evernote account in 2011 where I would curate a list of companies I thought were important to keep tabs on. These companies were logged, tagged by discipline, city, country, and placed in different buckets (Studios & Agencies, Vendors, Photographers, Design Resources, etc.)

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Most days, I would start with browsing through my Feedly account (another tool I love) which aggregates all of the blogs that I follow. If I come across a promising company while perusing the internet that I haven’t see before I’d add it to Evernote. Whenever I was on a job hunt, the collection came in very handy.

As time has passed, I have continued cataloging and found other ways to put my stack into use. For example, when looking for a specific printer to make a custom cardboard box or finding a resource for downloading brand assets, I would go straight to Evernote. Now, I go straight to Design Things.

Over the years my Evernote collection has served me well. Today, I want to share its evolution with you.

How does Design Things work?

Good question. Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Here are a few ways you can use Design Things:

  • Let’s say you decide to move to California one day (good for you!), you can easily search cities like “San Francisco” or “Los Angeles” and see which agencies are out there. The world is your oyster!
  • Maybe you work in Orlando. Maybe you work at Disney (jealous) and are looking for a printer nearby, search “printer Orlando.”
  • You know there’s a type foundry you like in Amsterdam but can’t quite think of the name, search “foundry Amsterdam.” You’ll find it there.
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The future iterations of Design Things will have more categories including a comprehensive list of vendors and general graphic design resources. There will also a be a more robust search and filtering system.

I’m going to continue to keep Design Things relevant and updated. It will remain an exclusive curation of the best places in the world. (I’m not going to add every agency, foundry, and resource under the sun.)

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Stay up to date to see which agencies or resources have been recently added. Keep up with Design Things by joining the mailing list. If you’re interested in having your company indexed in the database please email hey@michelewho.com.

Lastly, I’d like to dedicate this article to my Mom for graciously allowing me to store all of my “collections” in her attic (aka my grotto).

Design Things is a side-project-of-love brought to you by Michele Byrne. The beta version is now live. Please let me know if you notice any technical difficulties. Thanks!

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