The myth of a blank slate

One of the mistakes I made as a design rookie was to think great UI designs happen out of thin air. That some people are inherently good with colors and typography and shadows and spacing.

Later, I found nobody starts blank when it comes to designing. In fact, it is super important to decide how and what your application design is going to look and feel like prior to drawing anything.

There is always something a design or artwork is based on.

This is where the concept of moodboard comes in. Moodboard is a place where you predefine (often together with the stakeholders) how you want your applications design to look and feel like. This is done by collecting a set of existing design patterns based on current trends or real world examples.

To keep it simple, here are 6 websites (apart from Dribbble and Behance and Uplabs) that you can use to find UI design patterns. A good place to search for your application design mood and inspiration before heading towards the drawing board.

  1. https://uigarage.net
  2. https://designvault.io/
  3. https://www.uisources.com/home
  4. https://ui-patterns.com
  5. https://uimovement.com
  6. https://pttrns.com

Personally I find it quite difficult to search for inspirations and design patterns, and even more difficult to organize and make sense of them all at once. However, there are tools that can help you with that which I discuss later on.

How you search, select, organize and use your findings dictates how good your designs are going to turn out.

tl;dr

Despite the popular belief, great UI design doesn’t happen out of thin air and if you’re struggling, remember everyone else is too, unless they have put together a great set of resources before hand to drop down to.

Next up? Here are some great articles on moodboard and why you need it.

  1. How to create a moodboard: Kris Decker explained in 99design years ago.
  2. This article by Gleb Kuznetsov posted on designmodo

I personally use Milanote for organizing my moodboards. They have a great UI and a fantastic free version for individuals. You can sign up on their website for free here.

How do you prefer to use a moodboard? What tools do you fancy? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

PS You can subscribe to my newsletter that I send out every Sunday 🙂

Originally published at https://xtabbas.com on July 26, 2020.


The myth of a blank slate was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.