When it comes to tools and technology, web designers always have something new to learn. On one hand, this is great. This knowledge not only makes you marketable, it can also make your job easier. The downside is that it is easy to spend so much time focusing on improving technical skills that you forget to give your creative muscles a workout.
Since good web design is dependent on beauty, color, form, and other artistic elements, it is just as important to develop nourish creativity as it is your hard skills. Take a few minutes to check out these creativity boosting tips.
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Chances are, you were led into your career as a web designer because you had other artistic interests. Maybe picked up painting or sketching. Perhaps you preferred 3D art such as sculpting or modeling. In any case, if you’ve gotten away from art and design as a means of personal enrichment, consider picking things back up again. Better yet, expand your horizons and pick up a new hobby. This will get your mind strengthening its associations between creative thought, creative action, and enjoyment. You might also wake up a few artistic talents that have gone dormant over the past few years.
Have you ever played the desert island game? In this game, you and others imagine that you were going to be stranded on a desert island. Each of you picks which 5 items you would want to have. Then, everybody takes turns justifying their selections. Try playing a version of this game on a personal web design product. Make a decision on what you want to do, then limit yourself to only a couple of tools. This will force you to approach the project with a more creative mindset. You will also give your brain a workout as you try to find solutions to problems without falling back on technology. The late David Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti recently said, “There’s a sound to pop now that is perfect it’s boring because it’s all fixed.” He’s referring to the fact that all of the technology has taken the human element out of popular music. Maybe, to some extent, the same thing has happened in design.
As you know, there are plenty of tools available to you that have rendered your sketchpad a relic of the past. However, just because you don’t need your sketchpad to successfully design a website, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use one. If you’ve ever experienced a surge of creative energy when writing or drawing that cannot be compared to working at your computer, you aren’t alone. It has been shown that writing and drawing cause your brain to fire up different synapses and to form new connections. Start your next web design project on your sketchpad and see what happens! You may decide to add that ignored pad of paper back to your designer’s toolkit.
If you want to find some creative inspiration, take a trip to your local art museum. If you want that inspiration to stick, bring along a notepad and take notes. First, take note of how the pieces that inspire you to make you feel. Then, explore why. Look beyond the scenes that might be depicted. Focus on the colors, the textures, the shapes, and the relationships between those elements. Eventually, you will be able to see a correlation between these elements and the emotions they evoke. You might find that those elements have the same impact in the web design as they do in art installations.
Another great way to boost your creativity is to go back to your old projects and revisit them using the skills that you have developed since you worked on them. You can try your hand at bringing these old projects back to life by redesigning them completely, or by adding a few modern touches. As you do this, keep an open mind. You might find inspiration in some of your older methods and techniques that you can apply to future projects.
If you only look for inspiration in art and design from those in your own time period and your own culture, you could be missing out on a lot. For example, if you look at Middle Eastern art and design, including web and graphic design, you will notice lots of calligraphy and use of the color gold to make strong statements. Take a look at the Scandinavian design and what you will see is sparse but beautiful. Then, there is African design which is so varied and so rich in various cultural influences that it would be impossible to describe in the space of a few sentences. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of inspiration there. Then there are the developing nations. These should not be passed over when it comes to finding inspiration. Finally, take a look back. Art and design have undergone changes over the years that have been influenced by political events, cultural changes, and a variety of other factors.
Some of the most beautiful and inspirational things you will come across weren’t created by human beings at all. Nature is full of stunning patterns, colors, and textures that you can use to inspire your next piece of work. So, spend more time in nature and get inspired by the flora and fauna that you walk past each and every day.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as you go through the daily motions of being a busy web designer. Remember, though, your clients count on your creativity as much as they do your technical skills. Try a few of the tips listed above and you might find that your creativity soon hits a high point.