Design is frustrating right now.

At the Future of Web Design conference earlier this month, I was inspired. As a developer primarily and a designer when I have to be, the talks and people at FOWD were perhaps more valuable to me than if my main focus was on design. I don't need inspiration to develop, but I do to design.

But an incredibly busy week and a bit later, I find I haven't had an opportunity to really make use of the ideas that were triggered at the conference; not only that, but the inspiration is beginning to fade. And I will struggle to find time to watch the talk videos over the next few weeks.

I had intended to shove together a new portfolio site, to match my shiny new business cards, before the first day of FOWD. Naturally I didn't manage to stick to this deadline, continued to work on the site during the conference, and to this day the redesign remains unfinished at localhost/. It is so far responsive up to iPad dimensions, but the design that I was initially satisfied with has fallen out of my favour, so I'm struggling to finish. I've been browsing collections of great web design, like this one, as well as staring agonisingly at localhost/, hoping for re-inspiration.

Turns out I dislike quite a few of the designs on that list. Some just have too much blank space. Many go way overboard with the 'Web 2.0' look; glossy buttons, excessive rounded corners, and the like. Pretty on first glance, perhaps, but after seeing so many sites in the same style, you suddenly realise the genericness of them all; they give an impression of designers who forgot that the purposes of, or the companies behind the sites have their own personalities and branding that can't be represented simply with shiny buttons and background gradients.

I am currently a fan of textured backgrounds, and I'll confess I am currently of the opinion that a text shadow automatically makes almost any header text look better. I'm sure this will wear off, just like glossy buttons did. But I'm still struggling to find a style that suits me personally (and matches my business cards).

So far, just writing about it has helped a little, and I think I have enough beginnings of new ideas to push on. Watch this space.

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