Looking for visual app to organize art inspiration files

Hello Power Users! I feel like I’m overlooking the obvious and would like other opinions.

Main question:
I’m looking for an app or organization suggestion to visually organize and quickly surface a variety of files, with a visual interface. File types: JPG, PNG, PDF, text files, web links, possibly email messages

  • Needs to be accessible on both Mac and iOS with quality search functionality.
  • Would prefer offline functionality as well.
  • Hoping for some kind of “inspiration” discovery feature to surface a random combination of old files.

Background details:
I’m re-starting the process of organizing my digital clutter, and not knowing how to organize one type of file has stumped me in the past.

I studied art in university and have “inspiration” files and tidbits of information scattered around my digital life. Photos, links, text, and PDF’s that I don’t really consider part of my formal collection of personal or day-job files, but that could turn into something one day if I could easily access them.

What I’m hoping to find is an app or system that would easily present me with a random collection of interesting files from my collection when I need inspiration, and also let me search for something specific when it comes to mind.

I couldn’t easily find a photo online, but I loved the old iOS Adobe Revel UI that scrolled diagonally in all directions presenting a non-chronological view of your photos. But I would ideally like something that could capture notes and PDFs as well.

I looked, and the Apple Notes icon interface isn’t far off, but I would prefer an option to visually see all notes in a folder together, not separated by photos/text/links, etc.

App options that I have considered:

  • Devonthink - I’m not familiar and haven’t purchased DEVONthink or DEVONsphere. I’m wondering if anyone has used the apps in this way or if they are visual enough for displaying photos.
  • Day One - I haven’t explored all the premium features, but I’m only aware of a way to see “On this day” or tagged collections. I love the interface, and just noticed the command line tools option, so perhaps a custom utility would be possible, but sadly I don’t have development knowledge myself.
  • Apple Notes - Could work, but can’t think of a way to show random collections of things
  • Pinterest - I like that it has a visual interface, but I want to focus on my own collection, not get distracted by new options. Also would love an offline version for focused work, and find adding my own content to Pinterest slower and buggier than I would like.
  • Bublup - I’ve seen ads for this, but haven’t tried it yet and don’t think it has offline options.

Any suggestions, opinions, or experiences are appreciated!

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Curio might be what you’re looking for. It’s more visual than DEVONthink, allowing you to arrange things in idea spaces. This includes images, PDFs, notes, lists, concept or mind maps, links to files, essentially anything. George, the developer is very helpful, and open to suggestions too.


Also DevonThink developers generally advise against trying to use it for visual materials - is made for text.


You might check out Pixave. I bought it to fill the Expression Media hole in my life. The workflow threw me off a bit, so I put it aside and kind of forgot about it. I keep meaning to give it a serious go, though, since it supports formats like files from the Affinity apps.


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Recently found are.na which seems similar to what you’re looking for

Curio is Mac only and will never have an iOS app, according to the developer.

Check out Morpholio and other ‘moodboard’ apps. Also look into alternative ‘social bookmarking’ sites (which you can lock down) like Raindrop.io, which has a nice free tier with 60Mb images/month (but for $28/yr you get nested collections, suggested tags, cloud backup, duplicate- and broken-link finder, no ads, and 1Gb/month upload)

But I strongly recommend instead creating private, locked Pinterest boards. Works great on web and iOS. I’m a huge Pinterest fan, and the ‘new options’ are not intrusive when in your own board(s).

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Thanks so much for the suggestions. I hadn’t thought to look at portfolio, mood board, or bookmarking apps.

Are.na and Raindrop.io look the closest to what I was envisioning. Appreciate the help @bowline and @dustinknopoff!

Also good to know that Devon isn’t designed for images @dfay

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