I’ve been mentioning lately how I’ve been working on a design refresh for this space. During my most recent reader survey, in the ask me anything section, many of you asked about how I came to teach myself design, and what that process looks like for me.
To be honest, it’s a bit nerve wracking. I’m my own toughest critic and the world’s hardest client to please.
Creating a design for myself can take anywhere from two days to six months –depending on SO many factors. Luckily, it’s something I love doing. Trying new things and playing around with fun techniques definitely excites me. But my end goal is to create something that I love, that’s true to brand and that others will be able to enjoy and appreciate as well.
It usually starts with me itching for change –this happens way more often than I’d like it too. Suddenly, my header image looks off or the fonts I’m using start to look dull. It doesn’t take much to convince myself that change would be good, and before I know it I’m collecting inspiration. This usually means taking a ghastly amount of screen shots which are dragged into a folder labeled “inspi organize later” or something of the sort. Pinterest boards are made and filled, mood boards are created and I download about 100 more fonts than I’ll ever need.
The gathering of inspiration can go on forever if I let it, but usually about two weeks into the process I’ll start playing around in Photoshop and actually designing. I always start with a mood board –collections of colors, different touches and aesthetics. I usually move from imagery to fonts, and start placing things on the screen in different ways until something tickles my fancy.
This goes on, and on…and on until I finally hit something worth saving. If I love it right away (which is SO RARE), I’ve been known to just keep going. I’ll design every.single.little.element all in one sitting. Even if that means staying up until the wee hours of the morning (there was a point in time where I knew MTV’s entire late night programming because of this). When I’m feeling less like a night owl, I’ll wake up super early and keep working.
Sometimes I go through this entire process only to stop, reevaluate and start over again.
By the time I’m ready to code and (hopefully) launch my design, it usually requires another late night. Moving, tweaking and googling until the sun comes up. The end result is something I know I put my all into, and that is 100% true to who I am.
The freedom of being able to design for myself is great, but the process can be a lot!