How to Start Designing: Ideas Before Computers

How to Start Designing: Ideas Before Computers

September 17, 2012 by

Have you ever sat in front of the computer waiting to be inspired? You open up the design program, move a few squares around and nothing happens?!

I have.

I’m fooled into thinking I’m getting somewhere because I’m “working” but I don’t get anywhere except for frustrated. So then, I think it’s me. “I’m just not creative today” … ”I have too much on my mind” or “I’m just tired.” But the truth is—I’m going about it the wrong way.

Design platforms such as Photoshop or Illustrator are not idea-makers. In some cases they can actually stunt my creativity. I know, I know, blame it on the programs. But seriously though… when I am in a design platform such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign I start to only do what I know how to do. My creative brain doesn’t function to the highest capacity because I am focused only on what’s in front of me, the buttons I know and the tools I am used to.

So, I have to first make the idea myself. I have to understand that I am responsible for the idea and those design platforms are there to make it happen.

In order to get my creative juices flowing, I get a pad of paper out, move away from the computer and begin to use my brain to dream and design. Doing this frees up my mind from what I can and can’t do in the program. I let my mind wander, and I try new things. Then if I come up with an idea that I do not know how to do in Photoshop or illustrator… well, at least I know what to look up and research now. That’s the beauty of the Internet. But if I hadn’t done that I would have only stuck with what I know, and I wouldn’t have thought to research that technique. So now, I am not only using my creativity to the full potential but I am also stretching my knowledge and abilities by learning new things.

If you’re planning a new project or even revamping your church, website, or marketing materials, start with an old fashion pen and paper. Move to the computer after you have some solid concepts to bring to life.

Image by Promise Tangeman
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Promise Tangeman

Promise Tangeman is an art director and graphic designer for Promise Tangeman Creative and also the founder of Sitehouse Designs, a customizable website shop. She's the daughter of a pastor and the wife of worship pastor Brian Wurzell and lives In Chandler, Ariz.
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