Reddit calls itself the "front page of the internet." It's hard to look away. I mean, I've never canceled social plans to sit at home and read the newspaper, but I was an hour late to a party because browsing /r/personalfinance had me diversifying my portfolio. Just kidding, I don't know what that means and even Reddit can't make me care. Reddit hosts a collection of subdivided, sorted and rated discussions on practically every subject, and it's wildly popular. As of January 2015, 174 million unique users visit the site every month (most of us are just rewatching this video of a park ranger outdancing his forestry core employees). If you know what you're looking for (and hopefully you're not looking for photos of Taylor Swift's armpit or remixes of the Space Jam theme song), Reddit is a great way to find new visuals and discussions on design, art and trends in internet culture.
Let's take a look at Reddit as a source for art and design ideas. If you're a graphic designer or a web editor or, I don't know, maybe a disarmingly cute Writer + Researcher named Emily, these subreddits might just have what you need:
You know back in 2009 when you wanted to see James Cameron's Avatar because the studio sold it as the film of the future, and you bought your popcorn and soda pop and sat through a plotless ode to CGI for hours and hours, thinking, "boy this looks great, but it's basically Pocahontas?" That's kinda what you get from high quality gifs. They don't mean anything, ultimately, but man are they fun to look at!
Most of the gifs are inside jokes for the designers themselves. Some of them make no sense at all. The subreddit holds a regular design contest, and it's fun to watch the designers trash-talking one another in the comments.
Did you ever think a stranger's poor web design could make you laugh out loud? Yeah, me neither, but /r/CrappyDesign has it all. Users post annoying design features, bad home improvement jobs and marketing mishaps, and we all get to laugh at others' mistakes. It can really make you feel great about yourself.
Watch as talented designers and Photoshop professionals blow off steam by manipulating embarrassing, confusing or funny photos posted to the subreddit. Everyone's in a good mood in this sub because most people are doing what they love. Also, there are chickens wearing goggles.
I can zonk out in front of this subreddit for hours. Retro Futurism is a collaboratively defined aesthetic that's part Disney's Tomorrowland, part Jetsons, part 1950s women's magazines. Imagine what our culture would look like in 2015 if the designers and technology innovators of the 50s and 60s had predicted it all. It's a lot like Steampunk, except you don't want to punch anybody who's into it!
This one's a classic. The subreddit features designers and artists looking for advice, gorgeous advertisements and shop-talk discussions. Oh yeah, and it includes disastrous cover art from self-published Amazon.com authors.
While most of us are Redditors on our own time, watching the sun rise and set as we scroll farther into the Reddit-web, we like to contribute as well. Beutler Ink recently shook the /r/books waters with a post visualizing truly outrageous quotes from 50 Shades of Grey. Safe to say we're addicted. Find the original posting from our blog here.