Working as any sort of visual designer is simultaneously one of the best and worst careers ever. On the one hand, you’re doing what you love, letting your imagination flow as you dream up beautiful designs. On the other hand, when you encounter any sort of creative block, it hits you hard. This article has cool tips to make your designs more compelling.
We’ve all been there at one time or another. Left staring at a design that just doesn’t work, with no idea how to fix it. Maybe there isn’t even anything wrong with the design on paper, but it’s simply boring.
The first thing you need to do is take a step back and rethink what you’re working on. There are plenty of ways you can get past your creative block and make your designs more compelling. I’m going to go over a few of my favorites.
Note that I’m writing this with the assumption that you understand the fundamentals of visual design as detailed in this piece by digital design school Interaction Design Foundation.
Table of Contents
Find Something to Inspire You
Whether you’re designing an advertisement, some clothing, or simply creating artwork, the most important component isn’t actually technical. Every designer worth their salt understands how to make something that looks decent. But truly compelling, engaging designs have passion behind them.
For that reason, if you’re running into a creative block or having some trouble finding that last perfect piece of a project, have a look at what some of your competitors and colleagues are doing. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. While you should never steal someone else’s designs, it’s perfectly acceptable to pay homage to a designer or style you really like, so long as you add your own flair to it as well (and maybe talk to them about it, too).
Pay Attention to Current Visual Trends
Contrary to what you might believe, the design space is anything but static. It’s constantly shifting and evolving, and new techniques and trends are constantly surfacing. This is something you should pay attention to — not just because it can provide you with some much-needed inspiration, but also because it can make your ui ux design significantly more attractive to your audience. The online courses offered by the Figma design system have become a cost-effective approach to get the real-world skills and training required for a better profession.
Per Infographic creation tool Venngage, 2020 is a year of color gradients, abstract illustrations, muted palettes, heavy and simple fonts, flowing shapes, genuine imagery, and minimalism.
Spice Things Up With A Bit Of Contrast
Contrast is one of the most important design principles of all. Unfortunately, it’s also very often misused and misapplied. You need to consider how each part of your design fits into an overall hierarchy, as well as where you want your audience’s attention to ultimately be directed.
As noted by infographic design engine Canva, this can be achieved in a few ways.
- Combining light and dark colors.
- Complementary hues.
- Different color temperatures.
- Different color intensities.
- Organic, smooth shapes and angular, geometric shapes.
- Sharp edges and corners with round edges and corners.
- Contrasting textures.
- Size, scale, and visual weight.
- Spacing, orientation, and composition.
- Unusual design choices (for instance, a single element having a bright color).
- Different combinations of fonts and typographies.
Last but certainly not least, there’s something to be said for keeping things simple. Your designs don’t need to be incredibly complicated or intricate in order to draw people’s eyes. They don’t need hundreds of interconnected visual elements in order to be compelling.
There’s an old saying — less is more.
Think about what you want your design to say. How you want your audience to feel. What message you want to deliver.
Then think about how you can convey that message in the most direct yet aesthetically-pleasing manner possible.
Better Brainstorming, More Compelling Creations
Find designs and experiences that inspire you. Focus on market trends. Utilize contrast, and allow for a bit of simplicity.
These techniques, along with a solid understanding of the basics of visual design, will go a long way towards making whatever you create more interesting, compelling, and successful.