From website design and logos to banners and animation, the world of design demands uniqueness. Being a graphic designer, I have met hundreds of clients from various parts of the world. Each one of them emphasizes that they require a design that is one of its kind. In this article we discuss Uniqueness in Design: How to Be Creative Without Going Too Far
Though unique designs are a great way to stand out from the crowd, keeping a few things in mind is imperative. Some designers make the biggest mistake of creating designs with a concept that is understandable only to them.
Such designs can never be understood by the world until you describe your thoughts behind them. It means there is a very thin line between unique and an esoteric design. Here, designers need to maintain a balance and come up with an outstanding idea without going too far.
So, let me share some useful tactics that can help you achieve this balance with ease.
Here you go:
1. Stick to Simplicity
Remember, successful designs are never complicated. The world of the web has millions of users. Therefore, they want to see something that is simple and easy to comprehend. Overly complex things can easily frustrate a visitor who is already surrounded by competitors.
A few years back, when I was designing the front page of a gas certificate website, my client insisted I create something ultra-unique. I did the same, and he ended up with a low search engine rank in comparison to the former website design.
This taught me a lesson that search engines always appreciate simplicity. When you create a simple design, search engines will find it easier to crawl. But then I thought, what if I create something really common? Will I get a good ranking? My mentors advised me, “NO.”
So, from this experience, I have learned that our designs should be unique but not complex. For instance, using a lot of fonts and flashy graphics confuses the viewer rather than pleasing them.
Instead of grabbing the consumer’s attention, it will irritate them. So, try using a few fonts and a few colours to maintain simplicity.
Apart from that, think from a user’s perspective when creating designs. For instance, if you are designing a logo for a women’s clothing store, a perfect combination of multiple colours may work. However, this strategy won’t work for a design required by a Human Resource firm.
Similarly, rethink all the pop-ups and widgets added to your web design. These unnecessary pop-ups will just sound pushy. Therefore, try to hold the visitor’s attention with your simplicity and ease rather than pushing them to listen to you.
2. Understanding the Goal
To create something unique, you must understand the real purpose of the design. For this, you need to sit with your client and make the concept clear in your mind.
Never ignore this part of the design phase, as it will impact your entire design and its results. Here, your client will help you understand everything from the target market to the plans.
For instance, a designer must know the target market and its demographics. The use of symbols and colours heavily depends upon the target market’s preferences.
In some cultures, red is a sign of happiness and dignity, whereas others consider it as a sign of danger. The same goes for other colours like black, white, green, etc.
Knowing the criteria will put your creativity in the right direction, which is essential for creating a meaningful design besides it being unique.
Once you know the background and other details about the business, your next goal is to understand the client’s needs. You might have some outstanding ideas that you can always share as a bonus for clients.
However, you can never implement your ideas without a client’s approval. Therefore, you should first understand what the real purpose of the design is and what your client wants it to look like.
This will create the next boundary for you, which will assist in avoiding a complex design. In the same way, you will be able to research how others have worked on the same concept and which concept is still not present on the web.
Now, you will create a unique concept by keeping in view the client’s requirements. After this, remove all the extra elements, and you will successfully create something unique.
Furthermore, there are fewer chances for this design to become esoteric because related concepts are present on the web. But since you did not copy the exact idea, the design is unique too.
3. Never Ignore the Trends
Uniqueness doesn’t mean ignoring the latest trends and coming up with something entirely new or outdated. All the top designers who are influenced must have been influenced by others. There is no shame in it. However, copying the exact thing is illegal and an unethical act.
If you are thinking that following the trends will not make you unique, you are wrong. Here, you just need to grab the current ideas of the market. Then, you will come up with something unique related to it.
If you do not follow the trend, there are high chances of your design being considered dated.
Similarly, when you create something that is trending, you are likely to create a positive perception in the market. In the same way, people will understand it better because the audience has the perfect knowledge about trending stuff.
For instance, 3D visuals, augmented reality (AR), muted colors, geometric grids, and dark mode are some of the latest trends in logo design. Now, a designer can produce something unique by picking up a few trends from these.
4. Feedback is Essential
When you are designing something, you are doing it for the audience. Therefore, you should have an idea about how the design will impact, what its result will be, and how people will react.
For this, you will need feedback. Anything that pleases you does not necessarily please others. You should keep your prime focus on getting feedback.
Furthermore, it helps you get closer to your goal of being unique and understandable. For instance, if the audience is perceiving your idea in another way, you can fix it up after the feedback and before the final implementation.
Feedback saves you from the risk of getting complete failure. However, you need to adopt a systematic approach to receiving feedback.
One simple way is to join some feedback communities, gather feedback, edit your work, and then resubmit it for another review. If you have no idea about these communities, do not worry! Here is a list of them:
This convenient feedback network specifically works on giving feedback related to the user interface. As the name suggests, the participants can view the design in just five minutes. After this time, they are asked to talk about the concept shown in the design.
In this way, designers can understand how easy it is to comprehend their concept. Since the ultimate objective of every designer is to make their design memorable, every visitor should be able to tell the basic concept.
This platform belongs to the Envato network. Here hundreds of experienced designers gather and share their work. Joining the network is easy as there is no fee for participation and membership.
However, some designers complain about the limitation of getting feedback descriptively. Here, participants just mark the various elements of the design as “favorite” if they like them.
This online community is new and open for all designers, marketers, and developers. Here, the participants provide detailed feedback on every element for which they receive points too. This point-based system encourages visitors to provide true feedback.
This network works on selection. Different designers submit their projects, and the panel is present to select a few of them. If you are lucky enough to get selected, you will get detailed feedback.
5. Question Everything
Another key step for staying on the right road of uniqueness is to question every element. Once you are done with the design and going through the review phase, put yourself in an audience shoe. Now, start asking questions, and you should have a justifiable answer to each of them.
However, if you do not have a reasonable answer, it will show that your designs contain some extra elements. Thus, your design is not using uniqueness in the right way. So, you will alter the element for which there is no correct answer.
Wrapping It Up
In short, bringing uniqueness and creating an easy-to-understand design is difficult but possible. If you follow the points mentioned above, you can successfully achieve a design that is unique and yet understandable.
To achieve this, you first need to maintain simplicity. Besides this, you should have a clear knowledge of your goals. Following the latest industry trends is also important, and never try to ignore customer feedback.
Lastly, try to do a self-review by asking questions and justifying them with solid answers.
With some trials and errors, you will achieve a design that is perfectly unique, outstanding, and up to the client’s requirement.
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Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Gas Safety Certificates.