Imagine you’re at a dance performance. Multiple elements come together – music, lighting, dance – to create something magical and memorable. The dancers are synchronized, working together seamlessly. Nothing distracts from the main focus of the piece.
In the same way, creating a great design includes multiple elements that need to be working together in harmony. Dance is a sport and an art form, while design is a skillful dance between creativity and practicality. To create a design that’s great, you must learn to use both.
1. Start with Practical Research
Before anyone can perform a dance, they must first learn the steps. It’s not intuitively artistic or creative – it’s practical. Before you can start adding emotion to your steps, sprinkling in creative additions, and brainstorming the perfect dance outfit, you’ve got to learn how to move your feet.
In the same way, creative designers have to familiarize themselves with the brand and the problem(s) they’re trying to solve.
Here are some questions you can ask during this process:
- What are you trying to do?
- How will you measure the success of this project?
- Who are your competitors?
- What do you want to change (about your branding)?
- What are the greatest strengths of your company?
- Who is your target customer/target audience?
- What age group are you targeting?
- What cultures should I research before taking on this project?
- What style do you want?
- What design elements are non-negotiable?
- Where will the design be used?
- How should I communicate with you?
- How much are you willing to spend on this project?
- What files and formats do you need?
- When do you need this by?
Some design agencies call this process the art of learning a “brand’s DNA.” They’re must-have basics that you need to nail down before you can go any further. Now that you have that, you can move on to the next step.
2. Brainstorm Creative Solutions for the Project
Onto the fun part: unleashing your creativity! In the same way that a dancer will incorporate fun facial expressions into a joyful dance or a scowl into a performance about a fight, you can start adding a joyful flair to the project.
Nothing is out of bounds for this part of the process. Allow your creativity to flow freely without restricting it. It’s the creative equivalent of throwing noodles at the wall to see what sticks. You’re not trying to poke holes into anything, just trying to get as many ideas out there as possible.
Note: this stage is especially fun if you have a creative team you can collaborate with. The more different types of people you get into the conversation with you, the better! You need tons of diversity and outside opinions to come up with creative solutions.
Here are some question-starters for this phase:
- What if we…?
- Could it be better with…?
- How would (customer persona) use this?
- How can we evoke emotion?
- What would it look like with…?
Keep in mind that these few are just to spark creativity – once you get enough creative people in a room, you won’t need much!
3. Back to Practicality for User-Oriented Design
Once you have a few concepts sketched out, you’ll need to return to practicality. UX design should lie at the core of everything you do. After all, if your design is stunning, but the page takes forever to load, no one’s going to see it anyway!
Here are some of the questions you should ask during the UI design process:
- Does the design follow a logical flow?
- Is the design intuitive and easy to navigate?
- Are CTA buttons large enough without being too large?
- Does the site or app load quickly?
- Does everything function as it should?
- Can the design work well on all platforms (mobile/desktop/etc)?
- Are there too many options?
- Does the design look like everyone else’s in (x) industry?
- Am I placing CTAs intentionally?
4. Creative and Practical Iteration
Once you’ve done your homework and toggled back and forth between the practical and the creative, you can blend them seamlessly together during iteration. Keep your practical priorities in mind and remember your purpose while creating a design that’s as visually appealing as it is practical. Just remember not to sacrifice practicality for the sake of design, and you’ll have a great design before you know it.
As we always say, design without practicality is art. Art has its place, but it’s not what your customers are paying you for!
Dance Into Their Hearts With Matcha Design
Impactful design takes time. It’s like an iceberg in the sense that there’s a massive amount of work that goes into it before you ever see results. If you’d rather not spend your precious time coming up with design ideas, that’s what Matcha Design is here for! We’ve spent decades honing our design skills so that we can help companies like yours dance into the hearts of your customers. Contact us today to get started on your project!