While trying to annul my unread feed count in my reader, I stumbled upon Jason Gross’s article on Six Revisions about ‘10 Ideas for Creating Innovative and Unique Web Designs’. I liked it as it echoed most of my practices when it comes to creating unique websites. So instead of adding just a comment there, I thought I should resound the opinions on this topic here.
Avoiding CSS Galleries for inspiration would be a good tip for experienced designers but for newbies who are learning about web design, it familiarizes them with common styles and practices followed by the general community. You may get inspired by it so much that sometimes you tend to replicate the same style. It may not even occur to you that you may have ‘ripped’ the style. I have been following such galleries for about 5 years now and have noticed a lot of trends emerging.
The Bandwagon effect
‘Most designers are doing it, Why not me?’ We are unknowingly saying these lines. A simple example would be the use of bold, 32+ px slogans appearing as the banner nowadays. Even though, it is the perfect canvas to experiment with today’s web fonts and typographical clusters it is making the layouts more or less same. I have found myself filling a 300px wide area just below the menu and pondering about a good text to make the site banner. Why? I just saw 10 websites like that. Infact my new redesign is still in the drafts folder because it looks very familiar. Community instills in one person the ‘herd instinct’. There is nothing wrong following the herd but to stand out, you have to lead the herd to a different direction. Where design is much better, more refined and when a new trend starts.
I take inspiration from milk cartons, sweet wrappers, print ads, and origami… anything that is not a website. I try to adapt them into design that can be rendered in a browser. This works for me as there will be at-least some part of the design that is refreshing.
Knowing that it is going to be a wordpress blog immediately renders a 2 column layout in my mind. Because I know how websites are coded, the developer in me screams out to keep the design in a way I can quickly do it. The time set by my clients’ ticks out my design into one that was churned out from a template. Some constraints are always there. To manage them and still produce a unique design identifies a great designer from a herd of good designers.
I have never tried collaborating with 2 or more designers before. Maybe this is one exercise I should do very soon. The blend of different softwares, practices and techinques can do the trick. ‘To make it unique’.