The creative industry and web design capitalizes on your unique and original ideas. As a professional web designer, that creativity is tapped on a weekly basis with a number of projects and to keep your business rolling (and clients happy) you need to be able to generate fresh, new ideas and concepts. Knowing what you have to do and actually finding the energy and inspiration to create that creative collateral is another matter entirely.
Finding inspiration for any creative field is difficult, but particularly in website design where demand and competition are consistently high. Given the prevalence of ecommerce and online communities, sometimes there is a sense that it has “all been done before” when it comes to innovative website design. Adding your personal touch is important and it will come from a well of your personal and professional experience, but what can you do to keep those ideas and concepts flowing? Where do you as a web designer go to feed your inner creative and continue to develop websites that create traffic, conversion and a positive memorable impression?
What is your personal idea process? We’ve provided twelve ways to kick-start your creativity for a new project to help you bring your A-Game.
1. Brand Research – Know the Product
When tackling a web re-design for a Brand and organization, you will receive graphical and text collateral from the client. What is important when formulating the design concept is to take an active look at what they have done in past work. Some designers make the mistake of only evaluating the existing website as a reference point. To really understand the brand and their previous product messaging, you have to delve into other elements including video production, newsletters, brochures and eBooks. Understand where the Brand has been so that you can take them graphically to where they need to be.
2. Audience Research – Who Are You Talking To?
Target market is one of the most over utilized terms in brand marketing, however as a web designer you need to be intuitively aware of the audience. Is the product or service speaking to the millennial generation? If so, that audience has its own preference when it comes to web design and communication. Speaking to an older crowd? That will define things like font choice (and size of font) navigation and multimedia. Designing with UX principals means understanding your audience before you create the framework. Customize your design appeal for audience.
3. Trending Designs – What Websites Are Getting the Love?
Your inspiration will, in part come from whatever is trending in the current market. That is not to say that your web design should ever plagiarize a creative concept by another designer, but all creative designs are inspired to a limited degree by other works. As such you need to spend some time evaluating which websites in the same product niche are getting attention. What elements are working for that website? Research and incorporate some of that inspiration into your original work.
4. Subscribe to Web Designer Resources
There are a number of websites and forums that provide community connections with website designers around the world. Bookmark some great resources and review the ‘buzz’ around different fonts, graphics and multimedia. You will be able to preview what is trending in the design world to keep yourself up to date as well as feed your inner creative.
Connect with other professionals in your field to discuss elements, innovative design and inspiring portfolios. Looking for great professional resources? Try Ultralinx or Designers Talk Forum.
5. YouTube Designs
Sometimes inspiration can happen with a mere suggestion of something that has a strong aesthetic appeal. YouTube is an underrated source of spectacular design inspiration. Whether amateur creative productions, short indie films and even professional music videos the imagery presented can take you in an innovative direction. Next time you are waiting or have some idle time, browse trending videos on YouTube via your smart phone for some creative juice.
The digital age makes design both enriched and challenging, given the amount of noise we have in our daily lives. Whether you are keeping tabs on the Internet feed, social media or television and radio, you can suffer an overload of stimulus that can make it more difficult to think clearly or to dig deeply into your design potential. Unplug. Take a day of wireless relaxation and do something different. Simply enjoy the white space to coax some of your inspiration out from hiding. For artists, it is important to learn to unplug and create from that white space where most of your good ideas wait.
7. Writing and Sketching
When was the last time you drew something on paper? It seems unheard of in a digital age but it can be very therapeutic to invest some pen or pencil to paper time. Clear your mind and allow yourself to conceptualize on a pad or on a white board. Sketch out some ideas and concepts and leave them in plain view to percolate. It works!
8. Get Some Rest
Those employed in the creative arts are frequently under the pressure of deadlines and other business obligations that can quickly sap energy and creative inspiration. The prescription? Do the unthinkable and budget a nap and some early nights. Well-rested minds are not only able to formulate better quality ideas and concepts, but focus is enhanced which means that you will be able to be more efficient in your process. Naps aren’t just for kids. Try it.
9. Review Previous Projects
Every project can and should be unique, however that is not to say that your previous work cannot inspire you or take you in new creative directions for website design. Take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of your best portfolio items. What made those websites unique and effective? Draw inspiration from some of your best work.
10. Engage in Visualization Exercises
Take yourself out of the role of a designer and put yourself squarely in the shoes of your audience. What kind of experience would make an impression for you if you were the audience? Walk through from a UX perspective and evaluate both aesthetic and navigation that would appeal to you. If you like, chances are they will too and if you build it they will come.
Web design is a field that shows no sign of slowing down now or in the future. With more businesses making significant investments in digital marketing, there appears to be no shortage of opportunity for talented designers. Feed your inner creative by seeking out inspiration for your talent to create truly innovative web designs.
Images provided by Shutterstock
In-post Image: Back view image of businessman drawing sketches on wall via Shutterstock