If you love designing from templates, have you ever worried that all your designs will end up looking the same?
Templates are a great starting point for a design, but changing simple variants such as style, photography, fonts, and colors can give your design a whole new look and feel.
So, here are some creative ideas for you to try, in order to avoid falling into the trap of repetitive designs, but still retain your personal style:
1. Seek Inspiration from Historical Design Styles
Historical design styles are a rich source of inspiration. You can pick vintage designs you like and create designs that replicate the styles for an authentic period look if it’s appropriate for your project, or you can pick and choose elements that inspire you — like layout, shapes, colors, or typography styles.
2. Experiment with Simplicity and Complexity
Getting out of your comfort zone can help you improve as a designer — and you may be surprised at what you’re able to learn and accomplish when you try something new.
Experimenting with adding or taking away detail and seeing what effect it has can be the key to varied, interesting and dynamic designs.
You can pick a subject that interests you, then use it as a starting point to try out and compare different design styles. Add elements or take them away, just try to think outside the box and in a radical new way.
3. Use Familiar Objects in Interesting Ways
Get a creative by using recognizable objects in interesting ways. Much like how a metaphor or play on words spices up writing, giving an unexpected interpretation to a familiar image or object can add extra interest and make for an eye-catching design.
Try to have a think about what things are associated with your communication, consider relationships and connections that can be found between two radically different or similar elements.
If you’re looking for something radically different for your design, then try to use familiar objects in unexpected ways to create communications that really grab a hold of you. Thinking a little left of centre can help you create a truly unique design that not even you have created before.
4. Forget your Favourite Font
You may have a couple or more favorite font. Maybe it’s one you spent a lot of money for (gotta get your money’s worth, right?). Many designers have a special fondness for certain fonts, and it’s okay to use them when they suit a particular project. But if you find yourself using those fonts all the time, then it’s time to mix things up. Typography is such an essential part of graphic design, that you don’t want all your projects looking the same.
If you’re really keen on producing designs that are totally unique to what you usually create, enforce a ban on using your favourite fonts. Spend an afternoon hunting down some new ones and compile a brand new catalogue for yourself. With all new typographic options to choose from you’ll forget about those used and abused typefaces in no time.
5. Make your Own Templates
Creating a master file (where you can easily plug in content and change out elements like photos and color palettes) makes a lot of sense for designs that are produced on a regular schedule, like magazines, newsletters, or emails. Having a basic layout in place allows you to spend more time being creative with new content.
If you’re using an existing template, make enough changes to it that it isn’t recognizable as the original. That way, you get the benefit of a head start, but the appearance and functionality of a custom design.
6. Know the Difference between Copying and Inspiration
It can be a good exercise to try a reproduce a design you admire as a personal exercise, but you have to be careful not to accidentally include unique aspects of other designers’ work in your own public or professional work. Not only is that plagiarism, but you can be sure, since everything ends up online, that someone will notice. Although there’s no such thing as complete originality, there is a difference between being influenced by another designer and outright copying.
Ready to break through into your own thing — and regularly create standout designs? Put these 6 tips to use, and you’ll be well on your way.