How to Cultivate an Exceptional Design Aesthetic

Published: Sep 01, 2012

Web design is among the most competitive fields today, with millions of amateur and experienced designers trying to make a splash in the industry. Web design is one of the few industries that hold promise for both college-tested design students and enterprising people who learn the craft at their own pace. It doesn’t matter what your education background is: if you have the eye for quality design, than you can make it in the industry.

And that’s the problem: you have to have a unique perspective in design if you want to make it big. It’s one thing to learn how to use Photoshop and basic programming languages; it’s an entirely different matter to use those skills to execute smart and attractive design. Some people have the knack for it, but not everyone can cut it when it comes to producing innovative designs.

Let’s take a look at some things you could do to make your designs more punchy and unique to your individual tastes.

Follow a Ton of Design Blogs

I know, I know, this point seems a little too on the nose, but I think it bears mentioning. I’m a firm believer of the idea that you’ll produce better design if you surround yourself with other designers’ great works. The more good design blogs you follow, the higher taste level you’ll develop.

The better your taste, the better chance you have at developing your own great design. You’d be surprised at how a constant stream of great design can influence you.

Develop a Simple and Powerful Concept

As you look through designs images, start thinking about the aesthetics that you treasure as a designer. What color palates, fonts, lines, and photos draw you in the most? Which do you find to be outdated or in poor taste? Use your stream of design blogs as a guide to cobble together an aesthetic that you feel comfortable working with.

The key here is to pick a few striking design features that form a harmony with one another. You don’t want an aesthetic that’s too busy or scatterbrained; simple and clean is king.

Design first, edit later

When you have some general idea of an aesthetic that you’d like to work with, start designing something from scratch. It doesn’t have to be related to an ongoing project, nor does it have to be meant for commercial use. This is the time where you let your imagination soar, and design what feels comfortable using your chosen aesthetic.

Maybe design a homepage for a fake company, or design a poster for some upcoming event. Don’t worry about the practical side of the design; just let your right brain do the thinking for now.

Draw Inspiration from Outside the Web

Maybe you need some inspiration outside of your blogroll—the web designs just aren’t cutting it. Believe it or not, there was a thriving world of design long before the web ever existed. It would be the greatest tragedy for you to ignore the iconic and revolutionary designs that shaped the current industry.


Furniture design, car design, industrial design, and architecture can offer some of the most powerful inspiration you’ll ever find. Even if you’re strictly a web designer, there’s tons of great outside of the internet that inspire you to do great work.

Related Articles
Samantha Gray received her undergraduate education online, and enjoys guiding her readers through the process of doing the same. She is now a freelance writer by day, and she also moonlights as a tutor and zoo tour guide in her spare time. She may be reached for questions and feedback at