4 Essential Ways to get Better at Design and Improve your Ideas
Are you a designer feeling like you can always do better, but you’re not sure how ? You enjoy every project you make ; but when you look at the results, at your final creations, you feel like you have the abilities to create something more interesting, more original, greater ? How do you reach your full potential ? How do you find better ideas ? How to you get better at design ? Read this post to learn 4 essential tips for any designer who wants to improve their ideas – and become better designers in the process !
1. Have a Creative Process
Ideas don’t just come to mind like magic. You have to go through an entire thinking process to actually achieve great designs ! But this is a good thing : you don’t have to rely only on talent or genius or incredible abilities ; you can learn how to be creative ! And as everything that can be learned, it can be improved.
If you’ve been interested in design and wanting to start being a designer yourself, you might have felt the blank page stress.
How do you start ?
What are you actually supposed to do when designing ?
Are you just supposed to « think » in front of something inspiring and the stuck you ? [What does it even mean, « to think » when talking about design ? ]
The answer to all your questions (and possibly to all your sources of design stress) is…
The Creative Process.
Hell yes, that’s the #1 secret of being creative and coming with amazing ideas all the time : having a process that guides you for every projects, and that allows you to make sure :
- you always have coherence in your projects [More on that in the next section]
- you never feel lost again, wondering what to do next
- you can focus on your main idea and never go in a million directions (AKA nowhere)
- and so much more !
Wondering what a Creative Process even mean ? Learn everything about it in this article : What is a Creative Process ?
2. Keep it COHERENT
Design might feel, for non-designers, like putting a beautiful filter on a regular object, or choosing a pretty color palette on a clothing collection and call it a day.
Actually, it’s all much more complex.
Design is the art of solving problems through the form that will serve best the fonction of the object.
So yes it can be beautiful, but first it has to solve a problem + have a function !
Design now seem a little bit less frivolous, right ?
So designing is actually finding the answer to a problem, and even though you are guided by your creative process [See the section above], you want to make sure, at any moment, that what you’re researching is always coherent with the problem you are trying to solve.
Never thought of designing to solve a problem before ?
If you’re thinking « Hellooo, I’m designing beautiful dresses, I’m not solving any major world problem but I’m still a designer ! »
Yes, you are a designer. Problem is a generic term, and fashion design doesn’t only solve the need for covering our bodies because of cold or sun. Your fashion design « problem » can be « expressing beauty through fabric », or something even more precise, like « evoking a poetic universe » [This one, or a variation of it, is usually mine ☺️].
What I’m trying to say is before starting any project, you have an idea, a concept, that you want to express ; AKA a problem that you want to solve.
This idea is your first inspiration point.
[We are finally coming to the main subject of this section 😂]
Coherence is about making sure, during the entire design development, that you are still focused on that first idea/problem.
When you find a million idea thanks to your creative process, it’s easy to be lost in them, not knowing what to choose to pursue.
But when you have that problem in mind at all times, you stay focus on solving it, and this ensure your project is logical, clear, and understandable by your clients/viewers/teachers.
A fashion collection is always lead by one main idea ; not a thousand mini ideas ; so the public can understand it easily.
Coherence is helping you communicate clearly to your audience.
Try to review your latest project and see if in the end result, you are still solving your first idea !
3. Take a Step Back !
Creativity is super energy consuming, especially when you’re in flow [that amazing mood where you feel super inspired, work for what feels like 4 minutes and it’s actually been 4 hours]
After a great session, it’s normal to feel drained and super tired !
And to not have a clear mind anymore.
That’s when you should take a break !
I know we always want to work on our projects [What a waste of time sometimes that we have to eat and sleep when we just want to continue designing 😂]
But if you’re feeling stuck, having no more ideas, or feeling lost on what to do next,
YOU NEED to let your mind and body rest. Take a break !
It can be 20 min, 2 hours or even the rest of the day ; it’s up to you !
Taking breaks will allow you to take a step back : when you come back to your project, you’ll have a clearer vision of where you are in your project, what should be improved, and you’ll find solutions to things that were blocking you before.
Ever heard of geniuses breakthroughs coming in the shower, when you’re not in front of your desk/working table ? That’s what you’re allowing during break time.
Did you already experienced that ? You were super stuck on a project, took a break and came back even more inspired ?
4. Ask for feedback
You might be afraid of judgment or competition …
But you NEED to ask for feedback and outside opinions.
This is how you will grow : considering other points of view, and see if ideas you didn’t have can actually improve your projects.
I’m not telling you to do everything other people tell you to do, because as I said in another blog post (Why Trusting your Intuition as a Designer is CRUCIAL !), you need to follow your own vision to create something unique.
But using the power of the collective brain will allow you to access more ideas, and combine them to find new ones. That would never be possible on your own !
The only thing ? Ask for people who are creative as well !
They can be from any field of art or design, but they need to understand the creative process to give your relevant advices. Ask your teachers, fellow students, mentors, bosses or colleagues …
And only ask people who genuinely wants to help you
Ready to tremendously improve your design ideas ?
Try my 5-Steps Creative Process and see the difference !
You can download the guide with all the steps right in here :
Floriane Schmitt is a textile designer, sharing her knowledge about textiles + creativity. She graduated with honors at a Parisian fashion school in Fashion Design & Fashion Business, and started her career with Flo Home Delight, her creative textile studio. Discover her collections on www.flohomedelight.com. She is also teaching creative souls how to become better designers, using textile as a main medium.