I’ve recently just finished updating Carsonified’s 2008 ‘Future of’ event sites. So while the Event Planners iron out the finer details of the forthcoming events my focus is turned to the design of the 2009 event sites, which I get to design from scratch.
So where do I start?
We’ve already had a couple of meetings about the sites and we’ve set out the technical and functional criteria. The design is down to me.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the process of design because to be honest I’m still searching for one that works.
I’ve designed a load of projects over the years with some half decent results along the way… but using only a very loose design process I normally grind and crash my way to the project’s conclusion. So I’m eager (especially with the 2009 sites in front of me) to find design process that works.
So after some thought I’ve come up with a five point design process plan.
1. Just think
Put on some inspiring tunes and just think about your project in the loosest possible way (at this point anything goes, the crazier the ideas the better).
I sometimes find going for a run with some tunes for company gives me a ton of ideas. Thinking in bed before you go to sleep is quite thought-provoking too.
2. Look for inspiration
Make a note of your initial ideas and with them in mind hit the internet. Scour the web for anything related to your ideas and bookmark anything that catches your eye. Do the same with your bookshelf, newspapers and magazines. One thing I find helps is looking at non design related literature as you can often stumble across an unexpected visual gem when you’re least expecting it. It’s also useful to take a step back from current design trends when looking for inspiration as I sometimes find it’s easy for a project to start looking a bit like everything else out there. Remember if you find that perfect bit of inspiration in the back of some old 80’s gatefold album sleeve you can bet your bottom dollar that no-one else’s design is going to look like yours.
3. Sketch out rough designs
Spend some time sketching out your ideas in your notepad/sketchbook. Try and avoid jumping straight onto your computer (I’m guilty of this big time!).
I find going straight to your computer can give you a sort of ‘design tunnel vision’…basically meaning it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your first design that wasn’t really thought through.
4. Start designing proper
So after sketching out a bunch of ideas you should have a much clearer idea of what direction you want to take your design. So designing in photoshop or xhtml/css etc should be a much easier process. Also once you feel confident with the route your taking in your design try not to get bogged down in minor details at this stage (I’m also guilty of this), you can do the the detail later when you happy with the bigger picture.
5. The devil’s in the detail
Hopefully now your photoshop and xhtml/CSS is going swimmingly and you’re nearing the end… well this is the time to pay attention to those small details as it’s often the attention to detail that makes the difference between good and great. If there’s something nagging you about a certain part of your design and you sort of know you should revisit it but don’t know if you can be bothered – just do it… It’ll be worth it in the end.
So what do you reckon? Is this a load of rubbish, is it just obvious?… or is there some value in it?
Does anyone have any thoughts or tips they could add? 🙂