Being creative as a designer can sometimes hit a slump. You sit there and stare at a blank screen, and absolutely nothing comes to the mind. This is when technical things can come to the fore and get the creative juices flowing again. While I don’t advise looking at other designers work to find out what to create, the availability of tools to give a trial can get you interested enough to give you ideas of how to use them.
Staring at a blank screen and getting no ideas is frustrating so instead of a blank screen put up a wireframe and take what the client has given you, be it a logo, a name or a color. Usually, if it is an established company that is finally getting on line, they already have a logo and a company branding in color form. This is a great place to start.
Your wireframe is a very useful tool. By using your provided logo you have a head start to go forward. Make a favicon using the logo.
Never try to immolate another design. Its good to find out how they work, although you might be glad to use a little quirky bit or twirl in some place in your design, it should be YOUR design not a hollow copy of other designer’s work. Because it will be hallow and totally unfulfilling. We learn by failure and should never be too afraid we might fail. Fact of the matter sometimes the best ideas can be total failures once finalized.
It is very important to identify your intended market. It is no good making a high brow design for a teeny bopper market. This can be a very important part of your research. For things to work you need to make sure your design is appropriate for your market. This can also give you inspiration because it centers your thoughts to a particular area of people.
If things aren’t working early in the design it is better to go back and start a new wire design. Personally, I can sometimes do 5 or 6 before I feel comfortable and more in tune with what I am creating. Once I reach that stage the ideas tend to flow easily, and one thing tends to lead to the next.
Of course, if you are really original you will not even need a grid but just a blank canvas. Personally, I love just using a blank page rather than even using a 960 grid. This way I can put things where ever I like. You can get some weird results, but sometimes it’s not always practical.
Content management systems and grids can be put on one side, and you can actually start doing a website just from scratch and have very unusual and good results. Both are the modern ways of producing websites and work well but when I first started designing websites I used neither. I just used the normal things like HTML and the other languages of the web and a good text tool to write my code. Eventually, I got my hands on a copy of Dreamweaver and used that. Did I have fun with that? Now I could actually see what I was creating in real time.