7 Ways to Increase Your Creativity in Web Design
For all types of designers inspiration and creativity are vital to success. If you read many blogs in the web design community I’m sure you’re familiar with posts of inspirational designs and, of course, CSS galleries . We’re so used to seeing the 100+ CSS galleries that exist to the point that many designers tend to rely on them too heavily.
While it’s productive and helpful to see excellent examples of work from other web designers, basing to much of your inspiration on other sites can lead to a lack of variety and innovation in design. Fortunately, there are countless other ways to improve upon the creativity of your designs. Let’s take a look at 7 of them.
1. Get Inspiration Offline
Most of us spend hours online everyday, that’s just the nature of being a web designer. However, there’s a whole world of inspiration around us that we tend to forget about. Other types of design, such as printed publications and interior design, are excellent sources that can often be translated into creativity online. Nature and the outdoors itself can provide design inspiration. Photography, even clothing, the list could go on and on.
For more on offline inspiration:
Inspiring Cityscapes from Most Inspired
34 Places to Get Design Inspiration – Online and Off from Freelance Switch
Offline Sources for Design Inspiration from yours truly.
2. Flickr Groups
Flickr is not only a great place to store your pictures, it can be an excellent source of inspiration for designers. In addition to having a personal account, you can also join Flicker groups. Each group has a unique purpose, and there are literally hundreds that exist for various aspects of design. By simply browsing through images uploaded by group members you can find all kinds of great and creative work.
PSDTUTS has its own Flickr group, which I highly suggest you visit if you have an interest in Photoshop and graphic design. A few months ago I posted a collection of 99 different Flickr groups to follow for design inspiration. Many focus on Photoshop or graphic design, while others focus on various aspects, such as typography.
3. Experiment with Color
Color schemes make a profound difference on the end result of a design. Personally, I find experimentation to be the most beneficial thing I can do when trying to develop something creative. Often something will look good in my mind’s eye, but when it’s on the screen it’s a different story.
If you’ve got a design that just doesn’t quite seem complete, try experimenting and playing around with color combinations. You may find that something you try will give the design a whole new look that really stands out. For some great color-related info, see:
Colour Tools, Palettes, Schemes and Theory from David Airey
Make the Web a Less Colorful Place from Pro Blog Design
4. Experiment with Backgrounds
Over the last few years large background images have become more and more common. With a higher percentage of internet users on high speed connections, large images don’t have the same negative effect that they used to have for so many of your visitors. If you’re looking to make a site standout, a creative background image may be just the right thing.
To see some examples of effective use of background images, see:
5. Experiment with Fonts
Much like color schemes, changing the fonts or the typography of a design can make a world of difference. In the case of typography, it’s usually a bit more of a subtle change than if you were changing color schemes. Sites with excellent typography often have a professional, complete look where it’s hard to identify specifically what looks so good.
It’s easy to find yourself spending hours playing around with different fonts, font sizes and colors. For this reason it can be helpful to visit some sites that have a number of fonts on display so you can quickly narrow down your choices. Here are some places to start:
37 Free Must-Have Fonts from Francesco Mugnai
80 Beautiful Typefaces for Professional Design from Smashing Magazine
Most Popular Free Quality Fonts from Technology Magazine
6. Improve Your Photoshop Skills
Creativity and Photoshop go hand in hand. Those designers who are well-skilled in Photoshop can create just about anything, and they’re never unable to come up with something unique or creative. If you find yourself struggling to get your designs to come out the way you want them to, try brushing up on your Photoshop skills.
There are all kinds of books written on Photoshop if you visit your local library or bookstore. Fortunately, there are just as many quality resources online that you can learn from. My personal favorites for Photoshop tutorials are PSDTUTS and Abduzeedo.
7. Start on Paper
I think many of us tend to open up Photoshop or start coding right away. While your design process should be whatever works best for you, give the pencil and paper a chance. Some people are able to be more creative by working in different ways, and paper works well for some designers. Personally, I start most designs on paper to quickly run through a few different layout possibilities. Others use paper to develop more intricate mockups.
For more on sketching and design, see:
The Beauty of Sketch Design from Wisdump
Should Graphic Designers Sketch for Their Design Projects? from All Graphic Design
What Are Your Favorite Methods?
How do you go about improving the creativity of your designs?