Uniqueness in Design: How to Be Creative Without Going Too Far

In the world of design, the clamor for uniqueness can be intense. But when clients ask for something boundary-pushing, bespoke and one-of-a-kind, there is still a balancing act to undergo so that you don’t end up with a design that is so esoteric that it is unusable.

So how can you go about being unique without tipping over into the unpalatable? Here is a look at a few tactics to try out if this is your aim.

Simplicity is Key

You might assume that uniqueness is unavoidably connected with complexity, but this is definitely not the case when it comes to design.

Whether you are building a website, creating a brand logo or building an application, resist the temptation to go overboard with extra elements just because you think it will help you to stand out from the crowd.

The opposite is true, and often it makes sense to work with a UX design agency like Clay San Francisco to get an appreciation of why simplicity can make experiences more accessible and appealing, without compromising on that sought-after unique edge.

Having a Goal is Essential

To be able to think outside of the box, you first have to define the parameters of said box. This is where setting clear goals and aims at the start of a design project, rather than hoping that your meandering will eventually take you somewhere worthwhile, can make a big difference.

You might feel that this is a tactic that limits your creativity, but in actuality it is these limits that will give your creativity a framework on which to blossom. Without them, it will be difficult to gain traction in the first place.

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Trends Can Be Useful

Rather than deliberately trying to steer clear of current design trends and go an entirely different route, or ignoring them altogether, the most creatively fulfilled designers are those who pay attention to what others are doing so they can learn from and build upon it.

There is no shame in wearing your influences on your sleeve, and every creative in history has been inspired by those that came before, as well as by their contemporaries working at the same time.

That is not to say that a like-for-like copying of other’s work is the solution, but rather than you can still make something unique by taking a trend and twisting it to your own needs.

Feedback Can Fuel You

Working in a vacuum without looking for feedback and input from others is unhelpful in many contexts, and can be outright counterproductive when it comes to design.

You have to accept that your work will be seen, used and experienced by others, so it cannot simply be made to please only you. Sharing it with clients, testing it out on users and seeing what works and what does not, then iterating based on this information, is all part of the creative process, and must not be considered another limitation on your singular genius.

Question Everything

Your ultimate tool to avoid taking uniqueness too far is to always be willing to scrutinize your own work and ask why you are making a certain decision, change or addition.

If you cannot give a good reason, or explain some element simply in a sentence or two, then chances are it is an example of a step in the wrong direction.

Experience and training can help you nurture your own creativity, so treat every day as a learning opportunity and you will make positive progress while wrangling uniqueness in a way that works to your benefit.

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