How I’m taking inspiration and designing my new website

It’s time for what (if you’re a designer) will probably be your favorite step in my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers . . . take inspiration and design! Now that you have picked a niche, written your content, taken photographs, and prepared your portfolio, we can finally look for inspiration and get down to the design.

Personally, when it comes to my new website, I took some inspiration from my current website design. I think there’s some strength there and I want to keep certain elements of my brand alive. I tried to do this in an organized way, so let’s get to it!

Step #10: Take Inspiration and Design

Here’s what taking inspiration actually looked like for me:

  • I got in my zone. This means I drank coffee in my office, in front of my Mac, in complete quiet (my children fill up my quota for noise). Peanut was sleeping on my desk and I started looking through my points of inspiration—mainly my own website and a few other websites I have a huge crush on such as:
  • I made a style guide. This pretty much means I stuck all of my brand and style elements in one place, including my logo, colors, patterns, and typefaces. I wanted to get the core elements together so that I could use these items consistently throughout the design. Check it out:

 

Jill Lynn Design Style Guide

 

Don’t have a clear point of inspiration? Starting from scratch?

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Look around (with a time limit). In my opinion, time spent surfing the web is time well-spent as long as you have a timer set (or else you could be surfing for years). Find other designs that make your heart flutter. Go through your bookmarks and Pinterest boards. Go to the sites of the colleagues you admire. Look at the website of your competitors.
  • Go back to the basics. Sometimes, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ll find great ideas and clarity by going back to the basic principles of design.

And, now the design . . .

Next up for me is the actual design process: mocking up my home page, an interior page, and a new layout for my blog. How will I get that done? Here are my best tips for designing efficiently:

  1. Work on your site during your most productive time. Don’t banish it to your sleepy hours.
  2. Schedule it like you would a client project.
  3. Have a deadline—mine is March since I’m speaking at WordCamp Atlanta again!
  4. Use your process. Your process works for clients and it will work for your project too.
  5. Just get started. Sometimes the hardest part is beginning. I find that when I simply start a design—open up Illustrator and get to work—ideas start to flow and everything comes together nicely.

If this all seems too overwhelming, maybe you need two creative brains designing your website. I’m happy to help. Let’s talk.

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