When it comes to starting a project, some have no idea where to start. You need to think about how the navigation is going to be laid out, how text will be styled and how the design will look once its all put together. Here I’m going to explain where to get those mad ideas for the website your clients will just love. There’s no looking in just one place, you need to have a look at a variety of media before you can get some ideas for your design and hopefully get it transferred to paper or your favourite editor.
Web Designer Mag
Get a cup of tea ready and relax, you’re a web designer! Now I believe this magazine is only available in the UK, if you’re somewhere else in the world where you don’t have the privilege to read this magazine you should perhaps go for the next best thing available. I invest in a subscription for this magazine because I just love it. It is packed with amazing websites, reviews, tutorials and the latest web trends. All the best content from the web packed into a little booklet, it’s just great and worth it too.
“Dribbble is a show and tell for creatives. Designers, developers and other creatives share shots-small screenshots of the designs and applications they are working on.”
This is what Dribbble is in short. It’s a great websites where other designers come together (I believe you need to be invited to actually Dribbble pixels) so its got some great quality content for you to get some ideas.
This is one of my favourites and it’s a great one for UI designers too. They have chosen some of the best interface designs for the following categories: forms, sign up, lists, borders, thumbnails, buttons, backgrounds, login, web application, articles search, navigation, layout, icons, typography, images, distinction, eCommerce and to be honest the list goes on for a couple of pages so they definitely have a bit of everything and personally I think the quality of work on the site is very inspirational indeed.
Quick Google Searches
Google is your friend. I have definitely learnt a lot over the years using this powerful search engine, in fact I learn almost everything from Google, I use it to my advantage because it is a quick way to access the world’s information, it’s all yours and very easy to use so don’t ever under-estimate Google, it has answers to all your questions (and whoever said if you type Google into Google the internet will break is just plain stupid; private joke for viewers of the IT Crowd, a funny TV series about an IT support team, definitely worth a watch).
Working as a freelancer is just like any other business, you have competitors so if you were designing a website for a Chinese restaurant for example; view the top Chinese restaurant websites and see what ideas you can take from each one then use your own ideas as well as the clients’ thoughts to come up with something better. Knowing the standards in an industry helps you go a long way so make sure you do you research and think like any other business or agency would, keep your professionalism to a top level.
Use Your Third Eye
It’s all about staying focused so make sure you don’t get distracted by social networking sites, mobile phones and people around you. It can be very easy to lose track so having a good self-esteem will definitely help, I usually keep my phone turned off, keep away from distractions and set a couple of hours to strictly stick to the work I should be doing (or finding), just because you have the most flexible timetable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working hard, manage your time wisely and plan breaks too. Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water, very important!