Designers Block and inspiring yourself
I don’t know if it’s just me and the mental blocks that I battle with every day with my brain, but I tend to find that the hardest part ironically of being a web designer, is the actual design work. How many times have you as a designer sat down to produce a design for the web but are left scratching your head, starting a design and then…” hmmm, that’s just no good”. This is the point a writer might tear up their letter or story ideas, tut for a few seconds and try again. Well, I know I’ve lost count of those times. It’s okay going away and having an idea in your head but the questions have to be asked, how do you translate that idea onto the screen. Are you developing something that suits your client or looking at your baby through rose tinted glasses, does it represent what your client is all about. The key word at this point is not necessarily innovation (which was drilled into me in my Uni days but instead it’s inspiration.
I often ask myself, How can you come up with something truly original, the answer is, you can’t. Not generally. Designs are generally inspired by something you have already seen. You are inspired, influenced. But if you are a creative you still have to take that inspiration and try to do something different. My method is as follows.
1) Scour the web for inspiration. See what’s been done, get excited, get your brain ticking.
2) Plan the semantics. How many pages, what will they be? Where and where is the content, how much will you need, how will you navigate the site
3) Paper designs. This could be Spider diagrams, sketching, architecture
4) Wireframing. Plan, whether it be on paper or on the web where your logos, buttons and design elements will be placed.
5) Photoshopping. Mockup the designs in a graphics package or even straight to the browser offline and Present to client
The biggest mistake is to go straight into the design without thinking about the above considerations. Because you will come stuck. I always keep coming back to the word inspiration. Today I found a neat little website in which you can come up with your own page designs.
It’s not industry standard and there’s a lot of work to be done (and then some) once the website has finished it’s magic (and it costs to use the full site) and it certainly doesn’t do all the hard work to create but it does give you an idea of what is required to produce a winning design and it does give you that all important inspiration. That’s what I feel, anyway.