Experimenting With Colors And Concepts
Experimentation is a highly rewarding part of a creative process. When you execute an idea and give yourself enough room, you can come up with inspired solutions. Ask yourself: what can you design if you had no superficial rules or trends to follow; only strong design foundations? In this article, I’ll share my methodologies on how I experiment with these two important aspects of design.
Experimenting With Colors
The process of getting inspiration can be as simple as finding things that you like. Take colors for example. What I usually do is start browsing designs and photos based on colors. Colors determine your mood, and sometimes you may be fixated on a palette. That’s because it’s your current focus and it is what inspires you right now. If there’s anything that Flat design has taught us, it’s that colors are important.
- Dribbble has a nice color browsing tool to find similar designs of the same colors.
Although finding inspiring materials is a significant step, the hardest part is how you interpret that inspiration. In my previous article, I discussed how you should not copy, but steal. The more distance you have between the source and the finished product, the more room you have to improve it. If you start with colors, you will have a lot to play with.
In my Music Player experimentation, I was motivated to do my own interpretation of Rovane Durso’s concept. For the colors, I found Andrew Bayer’s new album cover inspiring, so I blurred it and created a color palette based on that. Pick the most distinct colors.
For the background, I used the eyedropper tool and picked the darker shades. There are a lot of trials and errors involved in just picking the right colors. Mixing colors together can create interesting results. Download this .sketch file to see how you I played with it.
For the user interface’s container, I applied the lighter shades to bring contrast from the background. As for the buttons, I used the background’s colors. There are a few rules to colors that I try to follow:
1- Gradients should be subtle.
2- Avoid using gray. Instead, use dark shades of a color.
3- Use the opacity setting on those colors to create middle tones.
4- Apply black and white opaque at light opacity to get other middle tones.
If you do this step right, you will get a lot of interesting color mixes. The middle tones are mostly used for outlines and shadows but can sometimes be useful for other elements.
If you feel adventurous, go directly to the Color picker tool and drag the circle. You should also get familiar with the HSBA (Hue, Saturation, Brightness and Alpha) values so that you can play with those numbers. Understanding the science of colors will help you become more precise.
Experimenting With Concepts
Everything we design is inspired by reality – it is where we live in and where we solve problems for. “Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design” – Dieter Rams.
The purpose of experimenting with concepts is become good at adapting and translating. By reinventing old designs into something new, made for the problems of today, you get the wisdom of the old infused with the experience you have today. In that sense, design is never truly timeless and never truly original, but that’s where you come in. You get to interpret the reality you live in and design for that reality.
If you are bound to steal something, you might as well steal from the wisest and greatest. For this experimentation, I chose Dieter Rams’s clock and radio design. But I didn’t include the radio part. Instead, I added digital aspects to it such as the time, weather and settings.
The Fear Of Mistakes
“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.” – John Cleese. You should watch his video about 5 factors to make your life more creative.
It takes courage to design something out of your comfort zone. It’s scary. But give yourself enough time and allow yourself to make mistakes, and you will get over your fear.
There is a lot of negativity everywhere. Don’t let others tell you what to do. Do what you love. Make mistakes. The person you will become will never be without the mistakes you are making now.