Starting a New Design Project

When you first get a new design project, two things happen. One, the excitement of having a new project to do. And two, panic...because you have a new project to do. For me, initial thoughts range from, are they sure they want ME to do this project?! To, what if they don't like it?

After the initial panic, I calm down and remember I'm an experienced designer, and have a process that I've perfected over the years that will lead me to success. So, if you're just starting out, or need a few tips to help you along the way, here's how I start a new design project...

1. Decide which design tool to use. I've recently been raving about Sketch (see article here), but depending on your project, you'll have to decide which program to use. For a print project, I'll jump into InDesign, and for a digital project I used to jump into Photoshop before I began using Sketch. Or, if you're planning on drawing, Illustrator is probably your best bet. So first figure out which program will lead you to success.

2. Find inspiration on Pinterest. If you're not already on Pinterest, you really should be. Building boards to save your favorite designs will save you a lot of research time, and discovering new designs will really get you thinking. Since Pinterest has been around for so long, this feels like a given, but I hear some designers relying on Google images, and I cringe! If you need some Pinterest inspiration, head on over to my page here.

3. Think big and small. Your design may be printed teeny on a business card, or blown up huge to a large-scale banner. Make sure you don't make your image too cluttered, not too plain, and think about how it will shape the rest of the project or brand. For example, if you're designing a logo, remember how often it will be used and how it will lead to the design of many other materials.

4. Grab your sketch pad. Having a piece of paper and marker always helps me. Drawing out an image not on the computer allows me to sketch out my idea before actually designing it. Sometimes the best designs come right from a pen!

5. Take breaks. When I first started out, I'd push myself to design something too quickly because I was so excited about it. Later on, I realized that stepping away from a project, even when you're just in the beginning stage of it, will get the ideas flowing. Go out and grab a coffee, take a walk, or have a scroll through Instagram. You'll be much more inspired if you don't just stare at the computer screen the whole time.

And lastly...have a bit of fun! You're a designer after all, not a doctor :)


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