A purple blob shapeA red blob shape

Ditch the regular design.

September 2, 2021
Recommended listeningLuna, MAAREZ

Earlier this month I launched a new version of this site. I spent days on the design. Hours were poured into tweaking small details. I was proud of what I built.

I'm ditching that theme. Well, at least for this post and likely for more in the future. And maybe you should too.

This post is a my brain dump on creating opportunities to express your creativity.

I need a jolt of creativity to get that side-project done.

If you're a developer reading this, there's probably been a time where you've wanted to start a blog.

You created your blog on some CMS/SSG/SSR system. Heck, you may have even rolled your own. Then you wrote your first post about the tech stack. I know this because it's the law. I don’t make rules.

But how did the next few posts feel? They probably didn't flow as easy as that first tech stack one did.

This side-project isn't motivated by the need to actually write articles. If that were the case, you would have just signed up for Medium. The real incentive is satisfying your engineering creativity. The words and thoughts are secondary.

I'm motivated when I'm given creative autonomy.

I'm motivated when I'm given creative autonomy. I know a lot of people are like this too. I write a better post by simply having choice of typography, color, and art direction. The content is fueled by my creative authority.

One of my better articles is a piece called How Fast Should Your Site Load? The article was quoted in Smashing Magazine (a pinch me moment). I designed 16 different graphics to tell the story. They're nothing special. I'm not a visual designer and I didn't use a fancy tool like Illustrator or Affinity. I did them all in Sketch but I got to create them. This creative ownership drove me to do the research and to write better content.

This is a small but fairly significant "A-ha" moment for me. I can create motivation.

If you built a blog but now struggle to find something to write, ditch the script. Design a new layout, pick a new font pair, or integrate some interactive component for the article. Do whatever excites you to write. The blog post itself is a secondary benefit.

You might argue that the true role of a designer is being creative within constraints. I would agree. But your personal blog isn't (usually) your day job. Let it be a vessel for creative ideas and expanding your skillset.

The real incentive is expressing your creativity.

I’ve always wanted to design a site with big saturated blobs, generative waves, and egregious amounts of whitespace.

So that’s exactly what I did.

I used Haikei to generate the blobs and waves (with some minor editing). My friend Jeff Delaney of Fireship did a great video on it the other day. I thought I discovered it first, but he always has the scoop.

I had forgotten how much fun it was to sit down and tinker with a new tool.

A visual of Joel Hook's twitter post of 'research and tinkering'.

And that's what I'm going to do. Design different layouts and themes. Work within different aesthetics and artforms. Feel creative and unrestrained.