Rules to follow if you want to get an unique design.
Many people may say they like good design, but are not creative enough to practice design by themselves. Also a designer is often known as a creative machine and groundbreaking ideas are popping up like bubbles from his head in every second. There may be some of these creatures on this planet, but most of the people who work in design are quite normal and follow some easy rules to keep the head creating. And these rules can be used by everyone.
To get ideas, a designer always keeps his eye opened for art, architecture, interior, culture, nature and much more. It's logical that if you feed your brain with impressions and go to museums, theaters or take a closer look at details on a modern building or in the nature, your brain will remember those images and include them into your work automatically. So browse the web or go outside with the eye of a child and take pictures of what you think looks aesthetically. You don't have to live in a fancy city, inspiration is everywhere. Here some examples:
Depending of the project you have more or less guidelines, which you have to follow. Note them in big letters and hang it on the wall while you're working, so your inner freedom loving soul can not break out of his area. It's very important to follow the guidelines to make a qualitative design. If you're working on your own project, create an avatar of your potential customer or viewer, imagine what he/she would like and especially what he would not like and note its' values. Set guidelines based on this avatar.
I will write a detailed blog post about a customer profile in the future as well, but this is an own topic.
Next essential before you start working is a moodboard. It's a board of ideally nine pictures which create an image of your topic including your guidelines. This is not only used to show customers how the final product should look like, but more importantly to keep you from leaving your design lines. Sounds easy, but it's actually more complicated than probably expected. Because as the name says it should create a mood, and not an idea of the product. That means you should include as little of the product you're working on as possible. It works for every type of product, but let's say you want to make a fashion design. Use as little fashion pictures in the moodboard as possible and more pictures of other design areas such as interior, architecture or nature. The moodboard should also include your avatar or a person that represents your target group and ideally be in the colors you want to use. Here's an example:
sophisticated Skiwear, clean but eye catching, modern, bright, functional, sportive elegance, linear, diverse surfaces
Don't mistake the moodboard for a styleboard or materialboard. The moodboard is only to show a feeling and meant to drive your creativity or rather keep it on the right track. If you want to show an idea of the material of your product or you have a certain style in mind, you can compose separate boards and use them as inspiration as well.
When you have your boards ready, place them so you can see them and start designing!
Use the moodboard to pick out details and put them together to create something new and bring it to paper. It works like a paper collage or a puzzle. Another example:
yoga sportswear, earthy, nature inspired, grown together, second skin, flexibility, nature takes over
Before you start sketching, never forget the first design rule: form follows function. A design that wouldn't work in mass production is art... and that's a different field.
If you're not the most talented illustrator it's not a problem, there are plenty of computer programs (such as Adobe Illustrator) that can help you. Or indeed use the paper collage technique. It can look pretty impressive!
This is the first work step of a designers and you probably realize that it's not only about being a running source of ideas, but also about following some rules.
Have fun designing and I wish you an inspirational day!