Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

Are you making your clients look like Hilary Clinton?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Not that there is anything wrong with looking like Hilary. But short blonde bobs are a pretty safe bet and won’t get many oohs and ahhs on the red carpet. If you’re watching the bobs roll out like on an assembly line at your hair salon – perhaps it’s time to fire your stylist. The same applies to designers. Too many tired drop shadows, turned up corners and bubbles are grounds for immediate dismissal. We all do it because we know it’s a sure thing, but too much of it is a creative cop out. Eventually these safe design options will lead to the client going elsewhere for more innovative work.

I have a rule which works for me. I will use one, maybe two of these designs elements within a fresh layout that includes lots of original visuals elements. Ideas for the visuals are pulled from the client Info Gathering phase – as a result clients tend to respond positively when they see their input taken seriously. Especially when the work is moving in a great direction. At this stage I think it’s important to get other colleagues involved – getting their feedback is super important. Make sure every element serves a purpose; even if it’s just pointing the way.

Finally, sometimes it’s a good thing to have a client go away. It can be very liberating. When you’re creating a couple of boring landing pages every month that always look more or less the same and bring in a safe, dependable amount of money, it’s hard to let it go. Especially in these times. However I’ve found that when this happens, almost immediately something new comes in its place 100 Xs more creative and fun.

10 Super helpful tips for Visual Designers during the design phase

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

1- Make sure you understand the project requirements and objectives thoroughly: including IA/UI/UX
2- Don’t begin until you have at the very least 1st draft copy/content in place
3- Try working within a grid system, it’s a good practice
4- Don’t be afraid to take creative risks by putting your unique perspective into the work, you can add trendy stuff later if it works
5- Try working in Fireworks curing this phase, the app’s vector features makes rapid prototyping easy. You can do the final creative in PS
6- Create tons of mocks with completely different approaches; work quickly, throwing in ideas randomly, almost like mood boards
7- Assess, then go on a major editing binge; throw out everything that doesn’t work or perform a function
8- Take at least a day or a night away from the work to get some space and perspective
9- Narrow down the designs, step away/outside of yourself when reviewing your work, be objective
10- Get lots of feedback from your creative colleagues before the client review

Access to unlimited ideas and creativity

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

You know you’re perfect in every way and quite a genius, but other people don’t get it – to them you’re just another version of themselves. In this common scenario there is no room for creativity – anywhere. Operating from an ego-centric, off-the-shelf identity kills inspiration at its source. This creative process just reproduces many versions of the same thing.

I call this operating from the tiny self. The tiny self can only exist in a small, airless room – full of thoughts (compulsive thinking) – it sees nothing but itself. It marinades away like pickles in brine. It can get pretty putrid in there.

We hear so much about thinking outside the box but very few of us can actually move outside the box in the first place. I’m always leery of clients who request a designer who can think outside the box. They will usually request whatever is trendy for no reason. Plus, have you ever noticed how obnoxious creativity is when it’s trying too hard? Especially in design.

How can you get to a place of inspiration and brilliance? The best way to do this (aside from knowing your craft very well) is to go completely blank, get rid of that tiny self. Work on slowing down your thoughts, the objective is a blank mind. You don’t have to do it perfectly, just do the best you can. When you feel you’ve met your bigger self, let it come up with ideas, inspirations and solutions. Be fully confident in the bigger self; just implement whatever it requests.

Super well-known design stars will think this is a lame idea but I’m absolutely confident that it works. It can work for any designer at any level. My best work comes from this practice.