At one point in my life, I was a teacher.
I actually subjected myself to the insanity of public education willingly.
And high school at that.
I know what you may be thinking and the answer is no!
No, I didn’t have a death wish, but I did have a passion for design and have always been good with teenagers, so the next logical step was to combine them and teach design to teenagers right?
It was successful most of the time…when kids weren’t figuring out ways around the district firewalls to get on Facebook. (Facebook was still hot for the kids at that time.)
But I realized that design didn’t excite everyone the way it excited me.
You may be in the same boat.
Someone or something (your small business, blog etc..) is causing you to have to learn how to do certain things that don’t excite you but are necessary to your brand.
Or perhaps you do enjoy it, but you don’t know where to start.
Well, this is an exhaustive, even heroic list of resources that should help you along.
Inspiration & Ideas
The way I satisfy my quirky design side is by creating templates and printables, but these are designs that have to come directly from me, not from the lead of a client.
As I started designing, I found that inspiration had to replace client requests.
When clients know what they want, it’s my job to make it happen for them, but when I’m coming up with a design and it’s not specifically for me or anyone else, I need an inspiring place to draw from.
Remember, when searching for inspiration:
- you aren’t trying to duplicate something exactly
- you are looking at techniques and elements that jump out to you that you can use yourself or communicate with your designer
- you are looking at colors and how they come together
- you are looking at textures and how they are used
- you are thinking about how these designs make you feel and deciding whether you would want to convey something similar
Below are some inspirational and idea generating tools you can use for your designs:
You will find 3 different types of inspiration
1. websites that collect ideas for you
2. blogs that feature lists of great designs
3. photography sites that are sure to inspire
Don’t let your research stop here. With these different types of inspiration in mind, do your own searches and find what is right for you.
Websites dedicated to collecting inspiration
Example Blogs with Design Lists
The above examples are just that. When search “design inspiration for…”, you will find tons of blogs that have helpful lists like these.
Example Photo Inspiration
Interesting Design Elements
Sometimes when creating a design, you can get three-quarters of the way there, but one element isn’t quite right.
Maybe you can’t find the background that you want or you need create a table, but can’t get your boxes spaced evenly.
And it would be remiss of me not to mention the awesome design templates you will find in the BMays Shop
There are excellent tools that can make daunting or tedious tasks really easy.
Below are some online generators to help you cut your design time
Help with Colors
Colors can make or break a design.
I have seen graphics and images that I didn’t care for, but I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of them because of the combinations of color it had.
For a guide to color theory and choices for your business or blog, please refer to A Fresh, Helpful Look at Colors and their Effects in Branding.
You can also learn about color as an element of your brand identity here: Is your Brand a Shady Situation or Just Non-Existent?
Otherwise, here are some great resources for choosing color combinations and getting the exact colors you need.
Creating Your Own Images
Now that you are prepped with the tools you need to understand how to make what you want, you need tools to assist your creative juices.
Some tools offer more assistance (templates, etc..) than others, but the goal is to create an engaging design for your audience and you can do it with these.
Are you really interested in creating your own graphics? Ready to learn Photoshop?
It’s a proud moment when you have a vision and you can actually create it.
Hopefully these tools have been helpful. Have some other suggestions? I would love to find out about them.