Keeping it real
I regularly sift Designspiration and Behance and every so often something slaps me around the chops with originality. Interestingly though, most clients I meet don’t want a website that’s original. They want a site that looks like someone elses.
When you see a site up and running, live and beautifully crafted it’s difficult to see past it. You’re probably admiring the site because it’s doing a great job of promoting the product or organisation it’s been designed for. But will this site provide such a good fit with your product or your brand?
Design is such a subjective thing and it’s hard not to bring your personal preferences to the table. One charity project I worked on was hindered by a director who insisted the homepage looked like his bank ‘First Direct’, which is like…errrr…a bank. I regularly receive feedback like “make it blue like Chelsea FC” because this is the football team that the client supports. It’s tough to explain that this isn’t what their 18-24 hipster demographic will engage with.
When designing from scratch, I think you need to cast your net wider than the web for inspiration. Good design is the result of great thinking. Getting away from the screen is vital. Books, films, signage, exhibitions, street art, it’s amazing what gets me excited. Modern design tools like Photoshop certainly make life easier but they do little to improve creativity.
I recently read an interesting article by Jessica Hische titled Inspiration vs Imitation. Some great tips in diversifying your inspiration and the joy of designing from scratch:
“If you copy someone else, you’re depriving yourself of the amazing feeling of creation, of making something that is yours and yours alone. You’ll undoubtedly love and care for the baby you’ve created more than the baby you stole from the grocery store.”
What an awesome quote. It’s time to step away from the computer.