My Design Process: Tools & Inspiration

My Design Process

I think I’ve only mentioned it once here on the blog (at least in detail) but web designing is a subject that’s very close to my heart. I’ve always loved designing websites and if today I’m a web developer, I don’t have many occasions in my job to be creative.

Having a unique space that would reflect my own personality has always been a priority for me and that’s why I’ve always invested myself a 100% in the design of my blog. It’s also very thrilling for me because I can finally make the most of what I’m capable of and use it for my own purpose.

As you grow from your experiences and your style evolves, I found my old design wasn’t really resonating like me anymore and I needed a change. I feel much more accomplished now and content that it finally looks like me again (if that makes sense). In the background (code), there were some things that weren’t pretty for a web developer and I needed to clean the mess up and reorganize a few things.

As I did for my first design, I’m gonna explore the few « guidelines » I shared to create your own design and talk you through my process.

Defining the color scheme

Having started my theme in Autumn, I was very into autumnal shades at the time and don’t tell anyone but, I still am. I wear a lot of camel clothes this year and the bold lippy is slowly but surely becoming a staple for me (still not wearing bright reds but burnt reds are my thing!). Plants are super inspiring and I love being surrounded by them at home (one would say that they keep me company!). I didn’t have to look too far to create the perfect mood board for my design. It’s the base to any design I start to define its general vibe and going through my recent pins on Pinterest did the job so well.

Creating a Moodboard
Station Seven have amazing resources to create moodboards and such that make it super easy to enhance your process!

Layout Inspiration

I then started to look for inspiration in terms of layout and trends and relied once again on Pinterest. I didn’t want something too trendy because like I said I wanted this place to feel like me and I wanted it to stand the test of time (I didn’t want to get bored of it too fast) because it’s a lot of work and I’m not putting it up to last only a couple of months.

I quite liked the « magazine/webzine » type with an unstructured look but it was a bit complicated to handle technically and frankly I wasn’t ready to give up on my sidebar after all.

Layout Inspiration

I’ve rejigged the recipes and book reviews so they now have their own layout that’s so much more suitable than the standard post layout in my opinion.

Getting Things Done

I think I’ve talked a tiny bit about task management before but for me it’s the only way to get your ideas into projects that will become reality. And by that, I mean that once you got a precise vision of where you want to get and what you want to achieve, it’s all about the steps to get there. Macro steps are essential to sort things out but trying to cut those into micro tasks is what keeps you on the right track and allows you to manage your time and efficiency.

To help me through this I rely on Trello a lot. I’ve tried a good bunch of productivity and task management apps, and for my needs, I find Trello to be just awesome. It’s very visual so you know instantly where you’re at and what’s left to do. I started using it at work when I had so much to do that I couldn’t keep track with my inbox and it’s a life savior. I also use it for planning my articles and I’ve used it again for the revamp. A card represents a task and you move them around into categories you’ve set yourself. I’ve made a screenshot of what my Trello board looks like at the moment (sorry for the mix of French and English, as long as it works for me!) and as you can see, there’s still a few things left that I have to do/fix. But more on that in the next paragraph!

Using Trello

Taking The Leap

Over the course of my career – meaning since I’ve started taking jobs in web development and project management 5 years ago – I’ve learnt a few valuable things (thankfully). One of them is to work in « cycles » during which you must add value to your product. Work on the absolute necessities first, make sure it’s pretty, it’s functional, it does a few awesome things and then release it.

There’s no point in waiting for it to be perfect. If you do so, it will probably never see the light of day. Yes, there are still a few things that aren’t right. I need to go through all the archives to adjust old blog posts, convert some recipes and reviews to the new format, fix a few things that could be better when my site is visited from a tablet. BUT. Those are things I can do in the background.

The only thing you really have to focus on is what adds the most value to your project and for the reader. You’ll then have all the time to perfect it and enrich it.

Last but not least, I hope these tips help you and you achieve awesome things. If you need further help with your design/web projects, I might be the one able to give you a hand. I’ll be happy to work for you, just contact me!