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In the world of design, it’s not uncommon to find yourself working under significant constraints or needing to think outside the box to find inspiration. In fact, these scenarios often lead to some of the most innovative and engaging designs.

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

In a recent project, I found inspiration in an unexpected place: jazz music. I was tasked with creating a mobile app for a lifestyle brand, and I wanted to make the experience feel as fluid and dynamic as a jazz piece.

The improvisational nature of jazz music greatly influenced our design process. We embraced a flexible, iterative approach, allowing for spontaneous creativity and adjustments. The smooth transitions and rhythmic patterns in jazz music inspired our interface animations and user flow, making the app feel more intuitive and enjoyable. And finally, jazz’s use of harmony and contrast guided our visual design choices. We balanced bold, contrasting colors with harmonious layouts to create a visually appealing interface.

The outcome was an app that received positive feedback for its unique, engaging user experience. Users appreciated the fluid navigation and visually striking design, which set our brand apart from competitors. This project taught me that unconventional sources like music, art, or even nature can provide fresh perspectives and innovative ideas for design projects.

Thriving Under Constraints

In another project, I faced a different kind of challenge. I was tasked with redesigning a donations website for a non-profit organization. The catch? We had a very tight budget, a short timeline, and limited resources.

Instead of seeing these constraints as obstacles, we embraced them as opportunities for innovation. Our limited budget led us to focus on essential features and strip down unnecessary elements, resulting in a clean, user-friendly interface. To save costs without compromising quality, we leveraged open-source design tools and libraries. And to ensure we stayed on track and could make quick adjustments, we adopted an agile approach with rapid iterations and constant feedback loops.

Despite the constraints, the redesigned website was well-received, significantly improving user engagement and satisfaction. The project also showcased our team’s ability to innovate under pressure. It was a powerful reminder that constraints often force us to think outside the box and find creative solutions.

Whether it’s drawing inspiration from unconventional sources or embracing constraints, these experiences shape us as designers. They challenge us to think differently, to be more innovative, and to create designs that truly resonate with users. As we navigate our design journeys, it’s these unique experiences and lessons learned that fuel our growth and creativity.

Stephanie Kabi

Author Stephanie Kabi

Design Mentor @ ADPList | Senior Product Designer @ Andela | DesignLab & UX Academy Ambassador | 3x UI/UX Certified

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E-commerce & Product Design for Long-Term Impact