Where to begin? How I start a visual design for the web

Editor’s note: This blog post is a written version of a talk that I gave at the UX Bar Camp DC 2015.

Visual Design, which, despite my background in it, often feels like the hardest part of an overall web design project for me. By “Visual Design” I’m referring to establishing look, feel, texture color, etc. So much of it seems objective and hard to judge. There aren’t arbitrary boundaries that can easily be evaluated against.

This is not another “blah blah – first design” argument. This part of the process is independent of research, testing, business goals, discovery, etc. This is purely the moment of when you crack open a design document – what do you do?

This is not prescriptive. This is about what works for me, which I’m posting in the hopes that it helps someone else out there help think through their processes.

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The future will look like Responsive Design

At the MobileUX Bar Camp in Washington DC, there was a lot of discussion around responsive design as an approach to mobile websites. There was a lot of discussion around whether it was a viable approach – as opposed to device-specific designs that are achieved with agent detection. Someone in the discussion even said that they feel like responsive design feels like a “temporary solution”.

Ultimately, I believe that the future of mobile design will look a lot like what we currently call “Responsive Design”. Though, we may not be using the particular nuts and bolts that we use today. For example, something could replace media queries. But I do think the general thinking that goes into a responsive design will be the way to go.

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Designing in the open – a moodboard for chipcullen.com

I’ve been working on a new design for this site (I’m sick of using a tweaked version of Twenty Ten).

As part of that process, I tried mood boarding. Sad to say, I’ve never really done a mood board before. Better late than never, eh?

So, here is what I’ve got going so far:

A mood board for chipcullen.com
A collection of pieces of design that I like, that I'm trying to use as a departure point for my design.

I know it’s very eclectic, but all of these pieces resonate with me on some level. My question is – do they coexist well? It’s a mishmash of fonts, colors, and styles, but there is a thread there.

What do you think? Does this mood board “work”? I’d love to hear it!

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