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How to Generate Graphic Design Ideas

Learn how to generate graphic design ideas from UX mobile and web design consultant Chanelle Henry in this Howcast video.


You've hit a block or you just don't really know where to go next or what to do or how to design a website, or maybe you've even forgotten how to turn on your computer. This happens a lot. It's called designer block, or block for any purpose that you may have.

A lot of the things that I believe that really helps someone to generate ideas is to get out of your own head. That can be by taking a walk, as cheesy as it sounds, or just taking pictures while you're going on your walk. Even taking a break and watching some TV, or watching a good movie.

If it actually comes to something where you need to actually come up with a strategy for something, the best thing to get out is pencil and paper. Obviously, there are some ideas that are laying in you that you have to get out of you. There's a lot of good books that actually help you to get out of the creative writer or to even come up with techniques.

One technique that I've learned is a web. If I was doing a design for office chairs, I may put office chairs in the middle of the paper, and then start spawning off of that. Office chairs. They're comfortable. They can come in rolly or they're stationary. They're made of wood. They're made of this. From that you can start generating different ideas.

Some other approaches that I do is also going to different boards, like designer boards. There's one called Forrst, F-O-R-R-S-T. It's a group of designers and developers just talking about stuff, whether it's like new designs that they've made, questions that they have, or just different resources that they need to know.

They'll bring it here, and then ask the design community, "Hey, what do you think? Do you like it? What do you think I should do?" Dribbble is another awesome community. It's very hard to get into, invite only. It's Dribbble with three bs, and you're able to look at what other people are posting up.

The screen shots have to be within 320 by 400 pixels. It has to be really small, and you're basically again asking and seeing what other people are doing, what other designers are doing. You're getting really good ideas just from looking at other people's inspiration.

"Smashing Magazine" is also another wonderful site that just starts telling you, "Hey, what's going on in the world? What can I learn about today?" Whether it's design or marketing or development. Also, Creattica is an online resource for design inspiration and also Freebies.

Maybe you're having a hard time designing a button. You don't have to. You can download a freebee, and use that. It's OK.

I think one of the biggest things is to just not be hard on yourself. Once you allow for your creative inspiration to come in ways that you didn't think of, like maybe going to a bar and not getting drunk. Just having a beer or two, and then having a talk with somebody that you maybe normally have spoke to before.

You can start to get ideas and generate new ideas that you wouldn't have necessarily got at your office desk or in your house.

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