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Design Inspiration: Bed in a Bag!
Have you ever heard of “Bed in a Bag” bed sets? LOVE them myself, but how about an approach to design that works the same way?
My favorite color combo used to be brown and blue. My fascination started with a comforter I found and LOVED, so naturally I had to change my whole room to match it! Thankfully, most of the work was done with my whole “Bed in a Bag” thing – it included the sheets, pillow shams, throw pillows, dust ruffle and comforter. The whole shebang – design in a bag! A big bag, but a bag of design nonetheless!
You see, all of the elements were there and that made it so easy to just adjust my room to match, although I just HAD to repaint and change my window treatments, aside from my accent pieces, voilá – or as we say in my family: VIOLA!
Web design is kind of the same thing for me, I see a card, or commercial, or Bed in a Bag (my husband has banned me from white sales) or even a flower in the yard and go from there. It is easy when you SEE your inspiration and know in your mind where you want to go – but it’s not easy for me to do for others. Sometimes it’s hard for clients to really relay to their designers what they are looking for, usually because they start with color combinations from Design Seeds or Kuler and try to go from there. For me, that leaves something missing….something that just doesn’t “gel” in my head. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to see someone else’s vision, or maybe it’s really because even as hard as I try, I cannot read minds – but wouldn’t that be soooo cool? I know, another post for another day!!
Anything can be inspiring! I find myself shopping and thinking “Wow this shirt/skirt/whatever would look so cool on a web site!” but I’m telling you – fabrics are the best! Although I am prohibited from purchasing (my husband is building me a linen closet back home as we speak, I kid you not!) I love to walk through Macy’s just to check out the new stuff! Curtains, duvets, sheets, pillowcases, towels – the list is endless! How does this help me with design? I’ll show you!
Take, for instance, this beautiful set here:
If a client showed me this picture, I would take the following from it:
- The walls are a light, solid color.
- The comforter has a muted, clean pattern.
- The accents are a beautiful shade of yellow.
- Stripes mix well with the flowers.
I know by now you are screaming “But what does that have to do with web design????” and actually, well, nothing unless this was your inspiration. I guess the big question is really “How can I get my web site or blog to look that good?” Well, I’m glad you asked!
Once I get a picture in my mind or in my hand, on my iPad, in my browser, etc. I begin making my design board. Notice – that’s Design BOARD – not design BORED! Get it? I crack myself up – do I crack you up too? (I know, again, another post for another day). By now my Momma would say “Well good grief – would you get on with it??” Where was I? Oh yeah, design board.
Using the above pic I would start with my design board. This is where it all comes together and I actually have a little process that I follow:
- I choose the paint color hierarchy.
- I choose my fonts.
- I start to draw.
Usually, after a pot of coffee and some wicked tunes on Spotify I have 3 boards done. This may not be how other designers do it – but it works for me. I’ll share what really gets me going:
- Background – look at the wall color!
- Wrap – look at the comforter. What is the base color or pattern?
- Elements – look at those pillows! Sidebars and widgets anyone?
See where I went there? It’s a Design in a Bag instead of a Bed in a Bag! This is what my first design board looks like – feel free to mouseover and pin it!
This is just a basic design board for illustrative purposes, but I did draw the flowers and elements! So this doesn’t have a logo or a header image, but this, it just this very basic form is all I need to get started! The client chose the “Bed in a Bag” and now will have a design, but in a virtual bag!
This is just something I put together quickly to demonstrate how you can go from 0 to 10 in the design process by taking a look at the things that you love! Do you love cars? Use them for the inspiration – that would be a nice and sleek design! Do you love antiques? Oh don’t even get me started! I love lacy things and once build a design just from a handkerchief and 2 ribbons.
Why do I do it this way? Well, this is just the first step – design boards for them to see the design foundation. They may add or change things, but I have found that this is enough, your clients see the elements as a whole and yes, they can visualize the design! There are some additional things that I had for advanced customization we can add (and I do for my clients) but 1 to 2 boards are how we are going to create the design for our new theme. Mine if the color theme above named”Lola” and I may very well name the theme “Lola” too! That would be fund!
Having at least a design board together doesn’t limit you. I have ones on my wall that I add to – remove from – add great ideas – think of it as a big white board in front of you where you and see something and create a theme from where you’re standing, which is out side of the box, and that is really cool! I make each client 3 boards to start off and you can create 10 for this if you like – to help hone that skill and change that paradigm for you: To create YOUR interpretation of your inspiration.
I am hoping to encourage you to look around – look at buildings, styles of buildings and different architecture design. That’s hot right there! What about these new floor and kitchen commercials? I could create a design around that for sure! You can snap a pic of you and you BFF having margaritas or out on the beach! Lots of design inspiration and I do NOT know this for sure – but Shabby Chic could have been inspired by a white, dated beach house! At least the design for your site can be anything you see – pick favorite objects and look at the color, the flow or whatever characteristic the object has. I challenge you with this!
The Bed in a Bag Design Challenge – use the info and inspiration from this article and search online for a Bed in a Bag set! Pick out the one you love best and post in a comment with a design board you made for it! It doesn’t have to be super-strict or be thoroughly laid out, but just chose the elements to flow for design and not functionality. Everyone reading is free to participate – so I hope to see some really good stuff!
Until next time – happy codin!Author: Lynne Good-Miller