Monthly Archives: April 2017

Web Design Inspiration for a New Project

As a web design professional; starting a brand new website project can be a digital magical mystery tour, and in most cases you will have no idea where you will end up and what you shall encounter on your journey. As you meet each obstacle head on you will be challenged to overcome problems that will, over time make you much more of an asset to your web design agency.

Wouldn’t your working life be dull if everything was easy? I am going to take the first tentative steps with you down the long and winding road of website design and build and point out a few basics that will help you on your way.

Client Requirements

Firstly, we have to establish our client’s requirements for their website. This should be done before a single wireframe sketch or image is created. It is imperative to learn exactly what is required from the website and how visitors to the site will react with it. As a web design agency, your clients will want to know what is achievable and what is not. You are the experts after all; if your client’s proposals are unrealistic then they should be told at this stage. Once you have agreement on the main features and functions then you can proceed to the next step of the project with a clear idea of what is involved.

Competitor Analysis

This is an important stage of the process; by monitoring how competitors are tackling their customers’ demands you can gauge the ever shifting trends and latest technology. This can also act as a source of inspiration. By critically appraising your rivals latest offerings you can work out what works and what does not and how certain functions can be improved upon or tweaked to fit a design solution that you are considering to use.

Idea Generation

This should be one of the favourite aspects of any web design agency employee; this is what drives you; the chance to get your creative juices flowing. You will now sit down with an A3 piece of paper and produce a mind map. Mind mapping is a process of creating a diagram that visually outlines information. The mind map would typically be created around a single word or phrase that is placed in the middle of the page; associated ideas, tasks or words are added; spiralling out from the initial word or phrase. Major categories radiate from the central theme and secondary categories are sub-branches of the larger ones. Categories can be words, tasks, ideas, or any related items to the primary word, idea or phrase.

Once the mind maps have been drawn manually by hand, they can then be turned into high quality pictures or into a computer presentation when time allows. This can help you organise your project and it also helps with design and functionality decisions.

Inspiration Sources

Many web design agency workers find inspiration from real-life situations. I was speaking to a web designer recently about a project she was working on, it contained a page with a form on it that needed to be completed before the user could continue with the rest of their visit. She wanted to make the process of filling out and using the form much more straight forward. Following a long journey home one evening she pulled into her drive, turned off her car and pulled the key out of the ignition. And that was when her inspiration moment. She noticed that the interior light came on automatically so she could gather her belongings in the darkness. Meaning she would not have to manually turn on the light herself. With a flash of inspiration she thought how this could be applied to her form problem and immediately scribbled down a solution. She went back to her website and designed the form so that it appeared in a modular window on page load, which freed the visitor to continue around the site streamlining the user experience for them.

Drawing Web Design Inspiration

As anyone who works in the web design industry will be able to tell you, finding fresh and new inspiration can be challenging. One of the best sources of new inspiration, however, can be found by exploring other cultures that may be all but foreign to you. This will allow you, as a designer, to draw out fascinating and beautiful elements that even the people who live as a part of that culture are unaware of. This article takes a closer look at just some of the cultures that you could be looking into for inspiration:

  • Germany – In design principles and style, the work completed in Germany is actually pretty similar to neighbouring countries, such as Switzerland. There is a heavy emphasis on typography, especially the country’s own traditional fonts (think old, gothic styles).

  • Italy – It can be said that Italy has similar web design principles to other European countries like Germany, except with a more artsy and informal feel. There is a lot of more freedom in the work completed by Italian designers, who also favour the abstract movement.

  • Japan – The web design work in this country is known for mixing its historical culture with modern principles, which is a very innovative move that other countries are yet to do well. Mixing different eras and styles of art can create a very attractive and powerful effect.

  • India – India has only recently moved into modernism, but their web design work (like that of Japan) immediately developed a focus on mixing their traditional art forms into more modern ideas. Many Indian works include intricate patterns that are very beautiful.

  • Australia – When it comes to design work completed by Australians, it becomes clear that there is a strong emphasis on nature – the country is full of vast outback scenes and pretty coral reefs where inspiration is ripe for the picking.

  • Africa – A lot of African design can be considered the opposite of modernism – these people embrace the traditional work of their ancestors and continue to utilize the same methods today. Like Australian art, there is a strong emphasis on the nature and wildlife on the continent (which differs country to country).

There are plenty of other cultures out there that are full of inspiration for anyone working in the art, graphic or web design fields. Why not look at specific African countries (such as Egypt), or the work that has come out of North and South America? You could even explore cultures that have died out over time, such as the Mayans, to see how they can influence your design work. Inspiration is everywhere, all you have to do is look for it.

Web Design Inspiration in and Around

It happens to the best of us – our creative juices run dry and suddenly we’re without flair, style or income! As a web designer myself, based in Glasgow, I’ve been there. Here, I’ve put together a range of ideas for where you can turn to in Glasgow to get those juices flowing again and find some inspiration.

Even if you can’t get to Glasgow, I’m sure you can apply these ideas to find similar sources if design inspiration in your nearest city:

  1. My first port of call in for web design inspiration in Glasgow is generally Buchanan Galleries. Whenever I’m shopping, I tend to find myself paying more attention to the marketing styles and techniques on display than to the products themselves. You can gain a wealth of ideas by analysing how other companies are marketing their products and services, particularly if they are in the same industry as your project is. Glasgow city centre has another major shopping centre and also three major high streets.
  2. If your web design is to be less retail oriented and more industrial, then I’d highly recommend taking a wander down to the Tennants plant, where huge silos stand in parallel columns with crazy arrays of pipes channelling between them and 1000’s of metal barrels are stacked up ready for use. It’s an impressive sight entirely visible from the streets in the East End of Glasgow, and may just kick your web design into shape.
  3. Or perhaps you’re struggling to make your web design’s colours pop. If so, take the opportunity to go and buy some flowers for your girlfriend (or drag your boyfriend to buy some for you!). The array of colour in a well-stocked flower shop is exquisitely and come away with stacks of ideas. Glasgow’s full of such shops – specifically, there’s a good wee store on Sauchiehall Street, and another on Byre’s road.
  4. If the layout of your web design is the problem, visit to the University of Glasgow’s main building or Glasgow Central Station. The architecture of such structures can really help bring that level of interest and originality to your web design – Glasgow’s full of super architecture.
  5. Or perhaps it’s the basic look and feel, your web design’s theme. If it’s a contemporary or modern site, take a few hours out to visit Glasgow’s Science Centre down by the Clyde river. If you’re needing a more traditional or artistic theme, try the Kelvingrove Art Gallery just behind the University of Glasgow’s Main building. Or perhaps you’re requiring a younger look for your website, or a grungy feel, in which case take a wander through Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and find the popular skate park, generally full of ‘louts’ doing incredible things on skateboards, blades, and bikes. Glasgow’s parks will also work for green / natural web designs

Web Design Inspiration

So you’re excited about the possibility of building your own website, but aren’t sure where to start, right? Determining a website theme is probably the most difficult part.

There are so many ideas floating around, but your web design inspiration might be limited to just a few sites you’ve visited recently. The good thing about the Internet is you can have a very specific site theme but still reach a broad audience. Let’s brainstorm for a moment to get those creative juices flowing.

Narrow Your Thoughts

Don’t think too broadly about a web design theme. Narrow your thoughts to a subject you enjoy or something of which you have a lot of first-hand knowledge or experience. Think about your favorite hobbies or skills. Just about any skill or hobby you can imagine can be turned into a lucrative website!

As a beginner, it’s probably best to start with a niche website that focuses on one particular subject. A “niche” website usually has one theme, whether it be a well known theme or something that appeals to a very small group of people.

Design Your Website around What You Know

Perhaps you know a lot about composing music, cooking, sewing, riding a horse, herbs or geography. Maybe you’re a bird lover and want to create an entire site about birds, selling bird accessories, bird feed, cages, training materials for bird owners, etc. The sky’s the limit as long you focus on something that will help you reach your website goals.

Planning to Make Money? Do Your Homework!

If you plan to make money with your new website, then be sure to research your ideas before taking that final step of designing your site. Make sure your web design inspiration isn’t only based on emotions.

Research your topic or potential product to find out if there’s a market. Use Google’s keyword tool (you can find it by searching in Google) to find out how many people are looking for your product or service and the amount of competition for relevant keywords.

There are plenty of resources available to help you research your topic thoroughly before moving forward. Don’t skip this step, or you could waste months on a site that will never show profits!

Personal Only?

If building a personal website – not for profit, your web design inspiration might come from personal likes, favorite hobbies, favorite people, etc.

Your personal site will likely be designed to appeal to friends and loved ones, or to those online who share the same interests. This doesn’t mean that you should have a poor design for your personal site.