5 Ways to Simplify the Start of Any Design Project

Designers Block

For many designers, the start of any new project is always the toughest step. I am going to share five tips with you that will help you get started on any new design project without developing designer’s block. These tips will also save you a lot of time.

  1. Make sure your client has presented you with a design brief. A design brief is very important because it establishes a sense of direction for the designer to start from. If the client has not provided you with a brief, create your own design questionnaire that acts as the brief and present it to your client. The questionnaire is a great way for a designer to kick-start any project. If you are not sure what a design brief is, David Airey has broken down different parts of what a design brief is, and what it should consist of. To get an idea of how to write your own design questionnaire you can view my design questionnaire.
  2. Sketch, sketch, sketch, sketch! Even if traditional drawing and sketching is not your forte it is important to put your ideas somewhere. Some designers don’t incorporate sketching into their workflow, but over the years I have found that sketching and writing down keywords is a great way to identify a projects theme. Finding the theme of a project allows the style of the project to emerge.
  3. Create your own document templates. Creating your own InDesign and/or Illustrator document templates is a great way to help get over your initial design block. By having a library of templates, all of your bleeds, grids and columns are already setup and ready to be executed. Don’t let a blank canvas scare you. Being able to spaciously visualize your workspace before you begin designing allows your brain to layout your design with greater ease.
  4. Establish a list of 10-15 fonts that you feel are well-designed. There are so many fonts out there today, that narrowing your choices down to just a few fonts per project is a time consuming task. Having a list of fonts that you feel are usable is an excellent way to start your new project without having to scroll through 2000 different fonts. It is important to know that you are never limited to the fonts on your list. You always want to choose your fonts based on the style of the project at hand.
  5. Put yourself before your client. What!?! Following briefs and requests may not work well with your initial design visions. Instead of trying to make your visions work with your client’s requests provide them with both options. Work with you own visions first to get your creative juices flowing and your client’s visions and requests second. By using this work method you can inspire yourself to design something following your client’s requests. This is also a great advantage because it allows you to provide your client with multiple and different design prototypes to choose from.

Other tips and ways to find inspiration to help you start new projects and avoid designer’s block:

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2 Responses to 5 Ways to Simplify the Start of Any Design Project

  1. Colin Wright says:

    I think #5 is the one most designers lose site of. It’s so easy to fall into the pit of just doing what the client asks you to do and becoming, more or less, their design-puppet; the person who knows how to use Adobe software but is really just an un-glorified technician.

    Keep up the good blogs!

  2. I am guilty of falling into that funk time to time, but I think we all are. When a client is giving you new design changes and requests for every revision you send them sometimes you just want to get it over with and give them what they want. It is important to remain creative during moments like that.

    I am glad that you are enjoying the posts! Thanks!

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