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How can your surroundings make you a creative designer

The art of design, in my opinion, is a combination of creative and proper modeling.


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kosar khonakdar

4 months ago | 6 min read
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before we get in to the article, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself, I’m currently a user experience designer who tries to pass her passion and energy to her users through her products. I learned design through nature, creativity, imagination, passion and of course, books and articles and finally have decided to write about my diaries and experiences here.

The art of design, in my opinion, is a combination of creative and proper modeling.

Creativity may seem inherent at first glance but it could be an acquired matter with hard work and watching and analyzing lots of arts, so creativity can be a subset of modeling in some cases. As a result, to be a good designer aside from effort and a good mentality, you need a proper and creative model to look up to.

One of the best models that can have a say in every field of design, is nature!

The structure and the look of plants and animals, the colors in their body parts, the way they live and grow, even sunrise and sunset and it’s changed during the day and etc can be a good model for your design ideas.

The first idea came to our mind (me and my colleagues) that instead of using the existing design styles, we could have our own special style, we came across this questions:

How can we make a new design style?

What features should this new design style have?

even

How can it even have this features?!

Photo by Jakub Jacobsky

How to have a creative mind?

First of all, we need a strong mind that can be a good analyzer and make a good reason for their decisions. The mind needs to know the minimum fundamentals of design to create a style that separates itself from others. This fundamental knowledge can be learned from studying and analyzing the existing styles in your creative field.

When my teammates and I decided to build a tool for college students, while studying the process of designing and building software, we got to know design systems and started learning their rules.

We studied flat (design system used by windows), material (design system used by Google), and modern (design system used by apple), afterward, using the knowledge we had, we got into our environment and tried to find various connections between our knowledge (design system rules we learned) and our surroundings.

For example, we found the android screen touch effect in the change of water’s surface in physical touch without fingers or we compared the movement of application and their behavior towards the software around them in ios menus to movement of objects floating on the surface of the water.

finding these different connections between our environment and what we know causes the growth of creativity in your mind and helps you create a special style so you can easily be inspired by nature and your environment.

Creating a connection between the four elements and the method of analysis.

Due to the simplicity and availability of the four elements, they can be on the best models for you, their presence in every structure of nature not only helps you to find the connection between your knowledge and your surrounding but also helps you to find the connection between the pieces of your environment, that way you can connect different pieces of your mind together and create a unified experimental-acquired science for yourself.

for example, movement in the air creates the element of wind and the connections of wind and water create waves and you can see that in moving menus that I pointed out before. (Please note that I don’t mean that the designers of ios specifically used that model or they’re inspired by nature, I’m only trying to help you have a different perspective and way of thinking).

The elements, besides their behavior, have individual meaning and convey a special feeling that can be used to channel existing thoughts and feelings in your mind to your users.

For example, the element of fire conveys the feeling of warmth, and the element of water shows the feeling of calm and peace. using any of these elements can channel the feelings in them through your design or style. (using them does not mean using actual fire in your design, it means using their behavior traits, feels or even color).

To get a better understanding of the elements and finding the similarities between the elements and design systems, my teammates and I sat a whole day in our college yard, touching the ground, feeling the elements, and tried to mix them together to understand their effect on each other.

We took note of everything we found out and tried to write some rules according to the behavior of each element. afterward, we thought about how this set of rules we came up with covers our application features.

Every Living Create, A Creative Model

natural elements didn’t satisfy us completely, because of that, I took my notebook and started going around, seating in the grass and watched ants and other insects move around and tried to model their way of life. We all know the life of ants through their cooperation and interconnectedness. It may sound funny, but it reminds me of the connection between software and google services.

Modeling The Butterflies

Choosing a color palette, in addition to the fact that taste may involve a lot of interventions, can sometimes be extremely difficult.

Choosing the right color has a great impact on your design. Colors can also attract users and may make them tired of your work, so choosing the right color is very important.

In some of the articles I read, it was written that one of the models used by designers is butterflies. If you look at the wings of butterflies, you will notice a variety of color spectrums that, despite being different, do not bother the eye.

The design pattern of the environment is not just living things!

The environmental pattern around you just can’t be living things. The buildings and tools that you deal with on a daily basis, since they were thought about and then designed by a human being, they are in fact a mirror of human creativity, before and even now. So it can be a useful model for you.

A simple experiment to analyze the environment

Go to different environments every day or even to a place at different times and spend a few minutes there and look carefully at your surroundings.

Then try to analyze everything you see in your mind, from living things and plants to man-made objects. Give yourself a reason to challenge the design and architecture and try to guess why the creator intended to create their work with certain features, and take notes and then review these notes together and try to find if there is a defect between them, fix them with new ideas or learn from their interesting ideas.

The reason I said to analyze a place at different times is the effect of light on landscapes. This helps you a lot in choosing colors.

The influence of other people on your design thinking.

Based on science and logic, design thinking is defined as seeking to create a proper, close and intimate understanding of the problems that people face. As a result, humans make up a large part of your design style and have a huge impact on the way you think. This effect divides people in your view into two parts:

  1. The people you design for: the people you are going to use your work with after you have finished your design. So you have to study them to know their physical characteristics, behavior, and even the type of thinking so that you can design in a way that can be used and applied.
  2. The people from whom you take a pattern and idea to create a new way of design: that is, both the people who, as the creator of a work, teach you an idea or take an example from you, and the people whom you study to come up with ideas.

The last word…

“I try not to think outside the box anymore, but design thinking is everywhere in life, on the edges, corners, tabs, and even under a barcode!” says Clint Rang, founder, and CEO of Archrival (a leading youth marketing agency) and professor at Nebraska-Lincoln University.

As a result, as a person living, working, or studying in a particular environment, you are in the midst of a wealth of ideas, patterns, thoughts, and resources for all of these. You just have to look at everything differently :))

“Winter of 2017"

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kosar khonakdar

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Crazy UX Designer!

If I want to describe myself in one sentence; I am a tasteful designer who does not stop trying even in her most frustrating moments. I have always had the taste and energy of my work environment and helping my teammates and interacting with my users. Solving the problems of the products that I work on, always makes me happy. I have never stopped learning and I always welcome helpful advice and tips that teach me more. With good design, I like to transfer the different tastes and energy that I have, to my users by creating a good experience. on the other hand, I really love nature and always looking for design thinking in the middle of nature.


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