When working with clients on a new website build, logo design or other projects, we start to ask questions to determine their design style preferences and vision for their brand. Talking about websites they shop on and what they like or don’t like about them can narrow this down and help the process. What are the favorite websites they have visited? If we are working on their logo, do they lean more towards icon-based logos or text? Are there a few that they really like, in their industry or not? This gives some direction to get a better idea of their aesthetic preferences.
Whether people are in the start up phase and developing something completely new, or going through a rebrand, it can be difficult to narrow down and decide what exactly they like. As designers, we use all kinds of sources for inspiration to spark ideas. Our clients can use some of these same resources to help determine exactly what they are looking for.
When thinking about a new logo design project or reviewing logo preferences with a business, we find Google image searches of logos inside and out of their industry to be very helpful. We also spend time perusing design related searches on Pinterest. With many of our clients we create and share private Pinterest boards so that we can each post logos, colors or other images that inspire us or think might fit well with the essence of the company for further discussion. Research for any of these doesn’t, and shouldn’t, serve as something to copy. It is simply to narrow down ideas and get better ideas of preferences. You want your brand and all representations of it to be unique and represent you and your differentiators well.
There are some cool things done with icons on websites and brochures. Icons can be an eye-catching way to simplify and represent information in a visual way. Some icons are pretty common. You see a lot of similar contact icons, for example, with the phone or chat bubble. The Noun Project can be a great starting point to get ideas for your own icon needs. You can search a large number of icon ideas based on what you are looking for using their search function. Like with anything, we recommend having your designer take their own spin on an icon for your website, but sites like The Noun Project can help give them ideas of what you like.
There are a bunch of sites to go to for website inspiration, including the websites for the specific platforms that your website will be built on. This is often good because you can see how their platforms translate in real-world examples. Every website platform has different basic functionality and it is great to get an idea of what some of their sites tend to look like and visualize if you can see your site vision fitting with that look. You can even call out some elements in those examples that you could see translating well on your own company website. Other sites to visit for general website inspiration could be:
Site Inspire allows you to sort through 5,000+ websites and filter by subject matter, type and style to give your more precisely what you are looking for. They get hundreds of sites submitted daily and pick from the best of the best, so this is a great place to go to see all kinds of cool websites.
Awwwards hosts the best of the best from all over the world. These award-winning sites feature filters like Site Inspire, so that you will be able to narrow your search. They are slightly different and users can search by color, country, tag and category.
General Design Inspiration
Other sites we visit for general design inspiration that are very user-friendly are:
Commarts is a publication and a website that we have been enjoying for over a decade. They produce 6 issues annually: Design, Advertising, Photography, Interactive and Typography. Each year they offer artists the opportunity to submit their work and awards are given out and they are featured in the publication. The work we have seen featured in these issues throughout the years is amazing. The website also has searchable galleries of images that can be sorted by category, industry, year and discipline.
Dribbble and Behance are also great places to showcase and discover creative artwork. Designers and creatives post their artwork on the site and there is a large variety of design styles and mediums for review.
Searching for inspiration is one of the first things we do when starting any new project. It gets those creative juices going and opens up your mind to ideas that you may not yet be considering. Taking this time up front to consider a wide range of possibilities is a great start. Then, of course, the creative process never stops. Your next idea may pop in 3 days later when you are up at 2 am or driving in the car on the way home from work. It is a great process for us and one we like to bring our clients into so that we can tailor our creative thoughts to their preferences and talk through ideas they might also not have been initially thinking of. Sometimes things are hard for people to visualize until they see it. They can’t picture it in their head. This helps give real world examples to discuss and then things can move forward, using that new inspiration and defined style and translate into design for the specific business. As designers we need to pay attention to everything we see. There is design everywhere we go and inspiration can strike when you least expect it. The few resources mentioned are just the beginning. There are a lot more websites and publications out there, so just get exploring! To start this exploratory process and discuss your specific business needs contact the 10twelve team today. You can also view some of our work here.