Are you addicted to gradients, big fonts, a typical set of icons to explain that there’s 39 comments on your great post? It’s very easy to get stuck in the same old look and feel, even though your designs are very different from each other. We tackle this in different ways (although some people doesn’t need to tackle it, and others do but just don’t).
Me, for example, can CSS galleries, look at photos, listens to music, glance to magazines, look at games and movies, and take long walks. There’s always something to get the mind thinking of new ways to do this or that.
We need to question our design style sometimes, even if we end up in the same place that we started from. It’s a matter of taking something and turning it around so we can grasp what it is all about.
You’re probably already doing that, but if you’re not, here’s a few fun ideas where you, as the savvy web-designer that you are, will have to think outside the box. Or at least peak over the edge.
1. No images!
That’s right, design a site with no images whatsoever. The type is your only graphical element, and background colors of course. That means no cool logos, smashing menu graphics, or gradients in the background. Some sites do this so well today, so it’s not really that far off from the current buzz and whatnot, but it’s a challenge all the same.
2. Do a [insert least favorite color here] design
I’d like to say that it would mean that I’d be forced to do something in pink, but that would be lying. I like pink. Purple, on the other hand, feels tacky and meh to me, so that would mean that I’d have to do a design where purple is the dominating color. It is oh so easy to get stuck with those clean blues and greys, oranges, or whatever’s your poison. Speaking of which, I wish there were more green sites. I like green.
3. Monospace only
This one might be a bit tricky. All the main text should be monospace only, which means fonts like Courier and Lucida Console. Personally, I’m a sucker for monospace, but it usually isn’t user friendly enough. That’s something you need to tackle if you want to succeed here. Granted, this is more fun and cool, than actually useful.
4. Hardcore anti web 2.0
I’m not really sure what this means, but think dark rather than light, small pixel fonts, things like that. Mirroring logos is a no-no. The idea here is to really question all the things that are common today. The end result will probably be a bit much, but taking a little of the best from yesterday, and doing it by today’s standards (usability came second in the 90s and early 00s), might not only be interesting, it might even end up quite nice.
5. 640×480 pixels
I’ve got three high resolution screens on my desktop. My first computer didn’t. In fact, I believe it had a resolution of 640×480 pixels, which, well, that’s almost an ad format today… But what can you do if you’re pressed for space? Let’s cram a full fledged site into a small box and see how we solve things like navigation and such. If nothing else, it’s a good exercise if you should design a site for the iPhone or other mobile handsets.
I do things like these every now and then, for two reasons. One is because I really do think that we need to push ourselves a bit, and find new ways to do things. The other is because it reminds me why I got interested in the actual design: It’s fun. (And pays the bills too.)