When you start working on a project and having understood the client’s objectives, you have to start the research phase. This stage also includes the search for design references, essential elements to have a clearer idea of the final design especially if it is a new type of website or if the company belongs to a category for which you had never worked.
Many designers keep those references for future projects and any other website or design that you find interesting. Finding inspiration today is much simpler since we have access to more information and various tools to organize our references (even social networks could serve this purpose).
While searching for references is a great activity for any designer, we may find that in the long term, we need some innovation in our designs. Luckily, you can be more creative by doing simple activities, which we will mention below.
Seek inspiration in your daily activities
We are connected almost every day, thanks to the use of mobile phones which now offer a series of applications with which we can spend time and even surf the internet. We have tablets, laptops, and computers at home, which we use often. As a designer, it is normal that you spend a good amount of time watching a screen. After all, you can also find inspiration by looking at photographer’s portfolios, reviewing Dribbble or other design communities, downloading new sources to add to our library, etc. On the internet, we have access to a large amount of information, we can learn more about other places and cultures by doing a simple Google search.
However, having so much contact with technology may not be entirely beneficial because little by little, you are disinterested in everything you do not see through a screen. There are various sources of inspiration that you can find in your daily activities if you are observant enough. Finally, creativity arises when we have a constant curiosity and there is no better way than to look around and review print publications, analyze how it has been organized. Look at the decoration of offices or stores, recognize the design patterns that are used in the clothes or the fountain they use. This little exercise will help you keep your curiosity awake and improve your ability to analyze and observe.
Learn something new
Developing our skills is an essential part of growing as a designer. Not only should we improve on the skills we already have, but we also have to learn to manage new programs. Continuing with your learning on your own can be rewarding and a great help for your career. After all, if you learn about a subject that is in demand, you could find more employment options as a freelancer. But learning something new is not only beneficial for your career, but it can also help you keep your creativity afloat.
By learning about a new topic, our perception of the world becomes wider. Without realizing it, we begin to analyze certain situations based on what we have learned and it is possible that, due to the demand of the skill we have decided to learn, we will become more observant with the elements that surround us.
Embark on a personal design project
Making a personal design project can be the perfect way to relax in your free time. Not only is it an activity that can distract you in your free time, but it is an excellent way to develop creativity. In a personal design project, there is no limit imposed by your client, so you have total freedom on the final result of the project.
A personal project helps you explore the limits of your creativity and evaluate your current knowledge. It is an excellent exercise to meet you at a more intimate level as a designer and experiment with new techniques with total freedom without fear that the client approves or disapproves of your decisions. We recommend you to experience and leave your comfort zone because you can gain greater confidence in yourself by facing a situation that you consider a challenge.
Make sketches on paper
With all the technology around us, it is probably normal for us to start a photo editor program as soon as we start working on a new project, without taking into account an important phase in the design process: the development of sketches. Making sketches on paper is an excellent way to better organize our ideas and discard which ones are not appropriate. For this reason, it is essential in the design process. The more sketches we make, the closer we will be to the final design.
It is even likely that one of the final sketches is the integration of the first sketches, and you would never have been able to reach that solution without making the first sketches. So, we suggest you not skip this phase of the design process. While it is true that everyone adapts this process according to their way of working, making sketches is an activity that has great benefits, not only for your design process but also for your creativity because making lines helps you relax and release tension. Often, these two components prevent us from using our creativity to the fullest.
Creativity is at your fingertips. You just have to forget a little about the routine, disconnect and dare to do something new. All these activities will help you to be more creative, but mainly they will help you develop your capacity for observation and analysis to reach a satisfactory solution. That’s what being creative is about -finding solutions to various problems that a client often presents. Real creativity is put to the test when we face these problems. On the other hand, the mentioned activities are quite simple to perform and you can even apply them in your current design process. We hope that some of them will be particularly useful for you to be more creative in your projects.