When starting a new project I find it very helpful to create a mood board of research to use as a springboard for my designs. It helps me to focus and create work that is specifically relevant and sits within its field. I like to look at websites of my clients’ competitors to see how they compare. Typically, particular industries have a visual language of web functionality, style of imagery and a typical colour pallet. There are also companies that break from the mould.
When Waste Recruit approached us to carry out some web design work, I took screen shots of some of their competitors’ websites, and also of other recruiters in different fields. I then compiled them into some very rough mood boards. (See below)
I also find it helpful to look at pages from general websites with the same page headers as the site I’m designing. For example ‘Meet the Team’. It is interesting to see the variety of ways that companies communicate the same information. It is also helpful to observe the functionality and navigation of different sites, which then has an impact on my designs.
These mood boards are by no means works of art, but they are very helpful in guiding my designs and starting me off in the right direction. I then pick elements from my research to create a new design for my client. Having clear research enables me to create the best solution for the brief. It is particularly useful when undertaking web design for a sector which I, perhaps, have not worked on before. It allows perspective, and can highlight key areas of functionality, as well as form.