It’s that time again, time for another web design project. Are you excited to get started or are you feeling a little creatively stunted? It’s ok if you’ve fallen into an inspiration rut. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes you run out of ideas and other times you just need a bit of a refresh. As one of Vancouver’s top web design agencies, we are constantly looking for ways to streamline our creative process while looking for new and innovative ways to get inspired and create awesome websites. Below are ten ways that we’ve learned to help reinvigorate the design process. For us, we like to focus on studying up on our target audience, drawing inspiration from the best in the biz, and staying up to date with award-winning sites and the ever-evolving industry standards. A lot goes into crafting the perfect website, but it always starts with inspiration.
1. Immerse yourself in inspiration
This tip is more of a lifestyle change than an actual step in designing an amazing website. However, it is still important! Fully immersing yourself means staying up to date with design aesthetics in many mediums, including web design, but also Instagram feeds, fashion, and even home décor. Get a sense of what’s popular! This step is extremely low pressure, it’s just a matter of scrolling social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest and taking note of what’s getting noticed. Perhaps it’s a certain color scheme or maybe it’s an animation trend, whatever it may be, just save it! These saved posts are a great starting off point for later when it’s time to do more in-depth research.
2. Great web design means getting to know your client
Before starting any web design project be sure to get to know your client. After all, your client is who you are designing for. Of course, they will likely have clients of their own, but first and foremost you have to please the person and business you are building the website for. In addition to making sure they love the final design, they may also act as inspiration, sparking creative ideas and innovative design techniques. Work together to make their dream website come to reality.
3. Understand the purpose of the site
While you’re getting to know your client, it’s important to understand what their website will be used for. Although web design can be applied to fit all types of websites, the best web design agencies do not use a one-size-fits-all approach. The design elements you will use will differ depending on what the website will be used for. Just think, great healthcare web design will require different features than a modern e-commerce store or a funky restaurant. Good web design will ensure you connect all the features functionally and intuitively.
4. Study your target audience
Although the first person you need to please is the client, the next person you need to please is their ideal customer. Pay close attention to who the site will be targeting. Studying up on your key demographic is crucial when it comes to the best web design. Identify the target audience and pay attention to what attracts them. This is where your saved inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest may come in handy. You want your site to have a good user experience, or UX, meaning it must be modern, intuitive, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
5. Reverse engineer what your competitors are doing
Some of the best ways to draw inspiration are from your competitors. Check out what they are doing and work backward to achieve the desired effect. We always take this step when we’re designing our top websites – it helps us stay up to date with what’s out there while remaining competitive. It also gives us a chance to make changes to awesome ideas to add our own unique spin. If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best!
6. Review award-winning sites to draw inspiration for your web design
Yes, there are awards for the best web design and best websites and yes you should be paying attention to them! Some awards include the CSSA Design Awards, Awwwards, Shopify Commerce Awards, and Apple Design Awards for apps. Pay attention to what these websites and apps have in common and how you can apply that to your web design projects. What would work with your brand, what features will help you actualize your vision, what tools can you use to best help your customers?
7. Research web design industry standards
There’s an old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it “, well that’s not exactly how we feel. In a competitive market such as web design, we believe in innovation! Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. The online world moves quickly, to stay up to date with current trends and industry standards we turn to sites like Awwwards and Dribble.
8. Review design portfolio galleries and case studies
Review your past work and the portfolios of your competition. Maybe you jog your own memory by looking at your case studies, or perhaps someone else’s portfolio provides you with some insight you hadn’t thought of before.
9. Get clear on what you don’t like
Learning what you don’t like is just as valuable as figuring out what you do like. By getting clear on what you don’t like you avoid remaking the same mistake over and over again, you learn how to streamline your design process, and it helps you create the best website possible. Some classic things to avoid on your website include too many ads or pop-ups, outdated contact info, and clutter. Less is usually more when it comes to the best design.
This may seem counterintuitive but one of the best ways to recharge your creativity and tap into your inspiration is to unplug from your work. Get off your screen, get outside, and connect with others. Breakthroughs are often made with an idle mind. Newton discovered gravity from observing a falling apple and microwaves came about because the engineer, Percy Spender, noticed his chocolate bar melting in his pocket while working with a radar machine. Now, we’re not saying you’re going to unlock the next big scientific discovery, but you may just create the next new web design trend. Unplugging is great for your brain and your business; it helps you unwind and it improves your work life.
Those are just our 10 top recommendations for how to get inspired about each and every web design project. But we’d love to hear from you too. What do you do to stay inspired by your work? Whether you’re building a website for yourself or for others, it’s important to stay relevant and functional with your designs. And remember, if you need a little help, hire out! Vancouver’s top web design agencies are stacked with everything you need to create the best website possible, from graphic designers to code specialists, content writers, and more.