lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice

7 Comments // Filed in Design / Web

Don’t Limit Your Visual Knowledge

Long story short: just because you work on the web, doesn’t mean your eyes are limited to the computer screen.

In my Art of Self-Branding: Part Two, I shared a simple tip on helping decide your personal brand colours: look in your closet. Some people have approached me about this tip with pleasant surprise. However, while this tip may seem clever at first glance, all I’m really saying is look at other places where design is prevalent.

Design is everywhere you look, and there are a dozen different specialities: fashion design, home decor, architecture, motion design, comics, animation, photography, magazine layout, book design, band posters, illustration, fine art… They all seem different, but are bound by the same thread: Design. In each of the examples I mentioned, people in those industries play with colour, images, light, layout, placement, purpose, and audience. Design.

A lot of people visit places like Stylegala for inspiration, and while I won’t dissuade you from that, I would urge you to try a fresher approach. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage mimicking one medium to force it to work in another — the way a print designer may want pixel-precision on a website or custom fonts for body copy to show up perfectly across platforms. Finding inspiration in another design field can lead to some really great cross-speciality designs.

Some examples of how some people take inspiration from another design field and apply it to theirs:

  • Kuztown University
    Paper collage effects, watercolours, illustration, and book metaphors abound make for a unique and attractive site that’s appropriate for its audience: design students.
  • Radiomaru
    How clever is it that the illustration he has on top is partially transparent, so that the girl’s clothing is synonymous with the blog’s background.
  • Clandrei
    Clandrei takes the slidefilm metaphor literally and uses them as borders/background to showcase thumbnails of their portfolio items.
  • Lee Jeans
    All the patterns and colour choices remind you of their clothing.
  • And more

Your entire design doesn’t need to be completely subverting its medium, but certain choices and details that are inspired by other design elements, definitely can add to your design. Take your inspiration everywhere and run with it!

What are other examples of design — doesn’t necesasrily have to be websites — that you see borrowing from other design specialties?

7 blabs to Don’t Limit Your Visual Knowledge

Add something to the conversation!

That’s what I did in my article on how I design.

It’s not a good example (just buy me that SLR ;o) ) but it was only really for article purposes.

You make an excellent point Lea. I take photos when I see something inspirational and dump them into a folder called Inspiration. Whether it is the color combinations in flowers or a building architecture, you never know what you will see when.

Picture of Tim

Name Tim

Date Dec 06
01:18 AM

Good post Lea.
I look at ads in any type of magazine. I keep the best in a folder, and flip through them when I’m looking for something different.
I still have stylegala in my bookmarks though !!

Touching upon storing inspiration. I came across www.clipmarks.com. Let you clip objects in the browser and store, tag, and describe them to an account. Even lets you search clips marked as public. It is new so there isn’t much there now, but I can see this having potential. Sometimes I search del.icio.us for terms like inspiration, could do that here too.

Interesting! The three colour schemes I offer on my website are the colours of my three favorite shirts. Does that count?!?

I agree with your approach, and I’d take your idea a step further and say that designers are influenced by everything they encounter — not just what they seek out for inspiration.

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Dec 14
06:15 AM

Dave, absolutely. Some designers just need to become more conscious of those influences.

Even the food we eat can influence a design. The Diva Marketing Blog has a prominent martini at the top right of its banner.

Picture of Toby

Name Toby

Date May 26
04:46 AM

Thanks for the shout out about Diva Marketing. The Blog Studio did the design work and the martini glass was a branding element – along with lipstick and a compact.

Join the Conversation

Play nice or I'll send you to the naughty corner. Also, please feel free to use Textile to mark up your comment. Use a real name when commenting, or your comment is likely to be deleted.

If you want a little avatar, get one for free at Gravatar.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?