On Getting a Designers Perspective

I have no problem doing design for clients – because I always have an outside perspective. Designing for your own site is kind of like… giving advice. You can give advice to other people but often not to yourself. It’s all about perspective.

For a while now I’ve been looking at my personal sites and thinking.. bleh. My reaction is something like ‘I’m bored with this’ or ‘There is something off in this design but I can’t tell what it is.’ So, I’m doing what any halfway sane web designer does when they can no longer get perspective on their personal sites — I’m getting another designer to do it.

I’m lucky enough to have an artist relative who can be on hand to deal with my predicament. Of course, I have to say that she is a saint, because there is nothing more difficult than designing a site for a web designer. I’m one of the most difficult to please ‘clients’ in the world, and that goes double when it’s my personal site.

One of the first discussions we had was about ‘style.’ I told her I was open to design creativity, but wanted to keep my existing site colors. In preparation for this discussion, I had spent a few hours browsing and pulled up about 10 websites for her to look at, each having a layout that I found appealing or interesting and would be open to having a variation of. She sat there, browsed through each of them, and said to me ‘These are pretty much all variations on what you already have. Are these what -not- to do?’ I nearly cried.

After much discussion (read: bickering) we decided that it would have to be a middle ground, between my love of minimalism, and her desire to cover every inch of white space with some pattern or color. I started to have the feeling it’s still going to end up being more ‘graphical’ than I would prefer.

She has been throwing me sketches over the past week. Designs she came up with that won’t work for my site but would be good for someone elses. I’ll probably turn them into working designs just for fun, but they aren’t what I’m looking for. The range has been anywhere from a Texas themed site (which I’ve wanted to do for a long while) to a site that was somehow or other themed with toilet paper and trash cans. Odd…

Anyway, I think my designer is suffering from easy distraction into her art. It happens often enough, but since she’s just giving me all the designs she does and letting me do what I want with them, I can turn her sketches into something workable for web – someone else’s web, that is.

We’ll see what happens! She’s a picky artist. I’m a picky web designer. For all I know this process of finding something I want could be a decade long.