Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Working with // Pinterest

I have a confession: I am not the methodical type. I think it must be part of my creative process: I rarely approach a project the same way twice. I design a monthly magazine, so you'd think I'd be able to nail down some sort of process...but inspiration can come from anywhere! More often than not I find myself staring at my computer/sketch book with only a vague idea of where to begin.

On any given project I usually have an idea of what kind of feel I'd like to achieve. Sometimes its a feeling, sometimes its a certain crowd, and sometimes its simply the time of year - I am just beginning to work on our December issue, which needs to head in the winter direction.

I love having a colour palette nailed down before I even begin working on images to help the magazine become a cohesive whole. To start, I create a pinterest board and collect images that express what I hope to achieve. I did a quick gather of wintery images that suited, then I narrowed it down to three that nicely rounded out the colour palette.

I usually try to get a good neutral, a dark tone, and a pop or two of colour. I can't go too light, or I will end up trying to set type in beige that anyone over the age of 27 won't be able to read. Kinda a problem considering my target audience...

Step two is to visit one of my favourite (albiet ugly) website tools, CSS Drive Colors Palette Generator to turn my images into a big set of swatches. There are other sites that do this as well, but I just love how quickly this works for me so I've stuck with it. I usually take screenshots of the swatches and use the eyedropper tool to narrow them down in the next step.

Step three is to narrow it down! As I've gone through the process, my "colour vision" for this wintery issue is coming together. Its not too hard to narrow it down to a set of 5 or 6 colours that I plan to base my images on. Often it changes a bit as I work, and it usually ends up being 2 or 3 swatches that show up consistently, but having an established palette makes me feel like I've got paint on the canvas. Not so daunting anymore!

I usually drop these blocks of colour on the sides of my indesign document as I work through the articles to keep them fresh in my mind. I've used this same process when working on websites or logos, whenever I feel like a fresh or strong colour palette is especially important to the design.

I haven't even started on images yet for this magazine: and I can't predict what the end product will look like. I can't even promise that I'll remember to blog about it as a follow-up. No matter...I had fun, stretching creative muscles in a way that doesn't feel like work. Kinda like free-style dancing after a long day of yoga. Not that I've ever done that...! Happy day :)


  1. Good stuff... thanks a bunch for sharing your process.

    1. Thanks Andrew :D. Glad to know it was actually helpful