Illustration by: Mariana Yatsuda Ikuta
In Canada, we are fortunate enough to live in an open, free society so at this most unusual time, when we are confined to our homes in an effort to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us are struggling to stay motivated and inspired. To help our community, the LIV Design team has compiled a list of digital ideas for you and your families.
As we try to adjust to this curious, new ‘normal’, internet bandwidth is our saviour. Our ability to connect digitally not only ensures we can stay connected to family, friends, and colleagues, it also offers us countless ways to educate, stimulate and inspire.
If you are feeling creatively blocked, turn to some digital suggestions for
- Culture Trip – Take a tour through a virtual museum
- Creative Crush – Get inspired by other creatives across the globe
- Brain Boost – Watch, read or listen to a new set of ideas
- Virtual Escape – Indulge your wanderlust with virtual travelleing
- Culinary Capers – Bring the international platter to your kitchen
Families and Kids:
- School’s On – Continuing playful learning at home
- Film Studies – Resources for independent learning
- Game Time – Mixing fun with education
- Field Tripping – Take a trip outside the ‘home classroom’
Inspiring Design-minded Adults
As creators ourselves, we find inspiration from so many sources around us. Now, given our restricted movements, finding that inspiration suddenly became a bit more challenging for many of us. However, in many ways, it offers us the time and space for critical introspection as well as boredom – both of which can sow the seeds of creativity in unpredictable ways.
1. Google Arts & Culture – Our friends at Google hold the virtual keys to more than 2500 museums and galleries, Street View collections to inspire, and 360-degree videos of iconic spots from around the corner to around the world. Visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Tate Modern in London or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. For Fashion lovers sad to see the Met gala postponed, see the works of Rei Kawakubo and Coco Chanel in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spectacular online-only exhibits.
2. This is Colossal – Considered the “Tate Modern of the Internet” This is Colossal is an international platform for contemporary art and visual expression covering a vast range of disciplines. A simple index on the home page under “More”, gives you a peek into the expansive array of content available on this site- everything from fine art and illustration to modern craft, street art and animation – it is all here, curated to perfection.
3. Dezeen – Our go-to for an aggregated look at all things happening in the world of art and design. Dezeen compiles stories that cover the beautiful, innovative and beneficial in terms of design. Currently running on the site is the highly lauded Virtual Design Festival, the world’s first online design festival with attraction from around the globe.
4. Gray Magazine – A staple of Pacific Northwest Design inspiration and industry standards. Gray Magazine is also currently hosting their first Virtual Design Expo, with a variety of Speakers, Exhibitors, and Partners to engage your imagination.
5. BOOOOOOM.com – This site features some of the most innovative work happening in areas of design, photography, and illustration. And, right now, they have compiled a list of resources that can help artists and other creators through this difficult period here.
6. New York Times – The digital version of one of the worlds’ most important newspapers is a wonder to behold. This on-line version offers some of the most innovative, immersive, and instructive presentations of information, data and stories out there. Currently, the paywall is lifted for important COVID-19 related matters but they also offer a free trial of the full digital paper. For us designers, their Style Magazine always features innovative articles, images, and videos of design and interiors, fashion and beauty, travel, food, art, and video.
8. TedTalks – Always a great source of stimulation and inspiration, TedTalks offer quick hits of thought-provoking content. Some of our favourites include:
7. Travel & Leisure – For us, nothing stimulates the senses more than new and unfamiliar surroundings. Conde Nast’s Travel & Leisure will transport us beyond our living rooms to places we have been or hope to go once this pandemic passes. One of our perennial favourite’s is the magazine’s annual Top 50 Places to visit in any given year. 2020 seems a bust but let’s look forward to 2021!
- David Kelley: How to Build Your Creative Confidence
- John Maeda: How art, technology, and design inform creative leaders
- Tim Harford: How frustration can make us more creative
- Amy Tan: Where Does Creativity Hide?
- Nora Atkinson: Why Art Thrives at Burning Man?
8. For many designers, less is more and currently, the world is able to witness some remarkable views of magical, historic spaces, without people. TimeOut has compiled a list of webcam feeds that show us the beauty of familiar, crowded tourist attractions from around the world…without tourists. The emptiness is both captivating and melancholic.
9. Go Gucci – Seeing as you won’t be visiting Rodeo Drive anytime soon but will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen, why not take in some Instagram cooking classes by Gucci Osteria’s, Michelin star chef, Massimo Bottura. His easy-to-follow and entertaining cooking tutorials are free via his Instagram account @massimobottura. Bon Appetito!
Inspiring Families & Kids
Recognizing that as Spring Break comes to an end, many parents will be searching for ways to homeschool their children or simply provide engaging distractions for them. Thankfully the list of online resources is extensive. From the world’s biggest video streaming site, YouTube with its countless educational channels to dedicated learning websites, the options are endless. Some of our favourites include:
10. BrainPop – An educational learning platform offering free access during the current school closures, BrainPop offers curious learners rich experiences on a gamut of subjects from traditional maths and sciences to coding and movie making. Colourful, clever animated videos explain concepts clearly and effectively.
11. Outschool – Free online, courses for ages 3-18 over live video and chat. Currently offering financial assistance and fundraising opportunities for those in need.
12. Khan Academy –Khan Academy is a non-profit virtual school dedicated to providing free-world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Users can tap into a vast repository of trusted content to learn and clarify a wide variety of subjects. Learners, teachers, and parents can access information through separate portals.
13. Crash Course Kids – A YouTube channel featuring lessons on Grade school science subjects using 4-30 minute videos. Whether you’re looking for a full lesson or a short distraction, Crash Course Kids has what you and your little ones are looking for.
14. Beast Academy – Dedicated to teaching math for ages 8-13 curriculum, Beast Academy is offering a 15% discount with the code FlattenTheCurve.
15. Tynker – No time like the present to learn how to code! For students 5+, Tynker empowers kids to create through tutorials, coding challenges, Minecraft modules and more.
16. Science Channel – Expand your universe and learn about outer space, leading scientific exploration, new technology, earth science basics & more.
17. Geek Gurl Diaries – A collection of videos encouraging girls to become technology ‘makers’ by teaching them about coding, game design, the tech industry and more. A great site for encouraging young women to enter STEM fields down the road.
18. National Geographic Kids – Access series like Explorer Academy, Exploration Barbie, Exploration Adventurer, Best Job Ever, Destination World and multiple others brilliantly produced by National Geographic and shedding light on far-ranging subjects from climate change and ancient cave art to riding horses with nomads and penguin tagging.
19. Science Max – Science Max conducts experiments on a full range of subjects, including ecology, biology, chemistry, and physics. Nothing beats hands-on learning – kids will be inspired to conduct the same experiments at home.
20. CBC Gem – CBC streams documentaries and kids programming for free through their GEM channel.
21. Free School – A YouTube channel featuring an expansive repository of engaging short videos on far-ranging subjects including art, classical music, children’s literature, government, and natural science.
22. Curiosity Stream – This site offers subscription access to 1000’s of documentaries. Currently, offering $12/year subscriptions for regular users and different pricing options for educators and businesses.
23. Fortnite – yes, every parent’s nightmare might be their saving grace. This collaborative video game will enable kids to stay connected with their friends and engage in multi-player scenarios on the same team. And most recently, Microsoft has released 12 free educational games for Minecraft available in the Minecraft marketplace. For some other video games, perfect for quarantine, check out this list from The Guardian.
24. Turtle Diary – A great resource for parents who are excited about computer games for their kids but looking for more educationally focused games or easy starters. On Turtle Diary, for grades Kindergarten through grade 5, you will find games, quizzes, and printables to bring the classroom home and help your little ones to productively engage with technology.
25. Google Streetview – A phenomenal tool we can all access and use to transport us to other corners of the world, quite literally. It also provides a unique experience regular travel cannot – it can reveal how a place has changed over time. Each time the Google car has passed a location a collective memory is created. For example, if you head to Ground Zero in New York you can see the 911 memorial emerge from a hole in the ground to completion. For inspiration, check out The Thrillist’s 10 Unbelievable Street Tours.
26. Google Art Project offers some incredible audio street art walking tours of cities in every corner of the world. Kids and parents alike will be inspired by the innovative graffiti artists and muralists working around the world.
27. Discovery Education – There will be many times when the walls feel like they are closing in on your quarantine so this site will offer welcome relief. Here you’ll be able to enjoy an extensive library of multi-media content including virtual field trips, immersive study programs and more.
28. Visit the zoo anywhere while keeping your social distance! Did you know you can search upwards of 20 animals using Google Chrome that will show up in 3D augmented reality wherever you may be with your smartphone? Alternatively, zoos from around the world are also offering virtual tours, here’s a list.
29. Go to the Park – The United States National Parks Service partnered with Google and followed park rangers through some of the most spectacular terrains in their parks, from the Alaskan Glaciers to Utah’s Bryce Canyon. Take your family on an audio tour of these glorious destinations.
30. Virtual Disneyland – Yes, the happiest place on earth is also closed in this global fight to prevent the spread of COVID but you can still take the kids on some of their iconic rides, virtually. For thrill-seekers, visit Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and for younger children, enjoy It’s A Small World or Snow White’s Scary Adventure.