No matter how much the term “observation” fills the teeth, it still remains an important component for the personal development of a UI designer. Observation allows you to distinguish good visual solutions from bad ones. This applies to everything around: clothes, interiors, architecture, and of course web design, which interests us the most.

How to form observation? In this article, I will share my methods with you. In my opinion, the basic rule that you should apply almost daily is to notice the details. This is what allows you to form a taste and a certain opinion about certain things.

Method 1: Design community

There are many web communities where people post their work on UX/UI and graphic design. On these sites, both beginners and pros or even industry leaders show their work.

Behance – the largest design community, which publishes works not only on the topic of web and graphic design, but also on the topic of photography, architecture, interior and industrial design. Behance has one cool – most of the work is published in the form of large, detailed presentations, where you can see the work on individual details that can be inspired and taken into account for future projects.

Dribbble – a community where designers post short shots showing the best parts of their designs. I use dribble to find some specific solutions, when I need to see how other designers have solved this or that problem.

By the way, you can view other people's work on the dribble completely freely. And to publish your own, you need to receive an invitation (invite) from those who are already registered on dribbble.

Awwwards – another community where the most top works in the digital world are collected. Awwwards differs from the first two sites in that sections with ready-made sites are published on it. That is, those that are actually implemented and work. This changes the viewing experience, because the sites are "live", you can interact with them, see what solutions are implemented by programmers.

Method 2: Forming a social media feed

If you are seriously interested in training visualization, then it is worth reconsidering what content your feed consists of on Facebook, Instagram, etc. Add more aesthetics to it. Let's focus on Instagram, I'll recommend four cool design profiles for you. If you are not registered with Instagram, you can try to search for something similar in a designer way in the social networks of your choice. – so that in the field of typography you have a diamond eye :)

Itsnicethat – a selection of super-creative works. – profile with creative works.

Toiletpapermagazineofficial – if you're looking for inspirational posts that can go a little beyond. One name is worth something. :)

The visual of these profiles.

for Instagram designer inspiration
Instagram Watch

Method 3: Books or other printed matter

And it's not just about the content of the books. In the training of observation, it is the design that interests us. Pay attention to the color and weight of the paper, the choice of fonts, the cover and, of course, the illustrations.

As an example, I want to show you three books from my library that I think are excellent examples of how to train watching. I hope that there will be people who will have a desire to have the same books in their library. And it's not just about graphic design. It seems to me that industrial design can serve as no less inspiration.

Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook. Naomi Pollock

I confess that this is my favorite book, if we talk about aesthetic pleasure. It contains a huge number of solutions by Japanese designers from the post-war period to the present day. The book is packaged in a cool craft box, and the paper in it resembles thick magazine sheets.

Those who are at least a little interested in Japan know that in the last 100 years this country has been ahead of its time in many ways, and its cultural closeness from the outside world has allowed the Japanese to demonstrate a slightly different view of everyday things: appliances, clothes, furniture, cars, etc. art, of course.

Photos of a book from my library

Japanese Design Since 1945 Cover
Japanese Design Since 1945 Igarashi
Japanese Design Since 1945 Illustrations
Japanese Design Since 1945 Tokyo Olympics 1964
Japanese Design Since 1945 Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Japanese Design Since 1945 Riki Watanabe
Japanese Style
Japanese Cars

Less and More The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams

Dieter Rams – man-legend of industrial design of the twentieth century. He was the lead designer at Braun, so the book shows most of the brand's technique with comments.

In the past, even before design came into my life, when I had to choose household appliances for my home in a store, Braun products somehow subconsciously evoked more sympathy than others. Now I pay attention to how they are made. Usually they combine a pleasant visual and manufacturability. No extra elements, no excess in color.

The aesthetics of the book, like the previous one, resembles a magazine. And the packaging itself is worth it.

Less and More The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams Cover
Less and More The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
Less and More home appliance design
Less and More player
Dieter Rams Design
Dieter Rams Design

Bauhaus. Updated Edition (Bibliotheca Universalis). Magdalena Droste

I have been fascinated by the works of the German Bauhaus school of art and design for many years. They have their own unique style, which lies in the simplicity of form and functionality. You have probably come across patterns consisting of geometric shapes using pure color – school badge. I advise the book as a source of inspiration not only for some specific details, but also for the approach to creating design in general.

Photo book from my library

Bauhaus. Book cover
Johannes Itten
Bauhaus work
Bauhaus works
Bauhaus. Illustrations
Bauhaus Book

Method 4: Travel

Now I don’t want to talk pathetically about the fact that without travel you will have a narrow outlook and all that. With modern technology, each of us can learn about the cultural heritage of other countries without even leaving home.

But still, seeing something for yourself is not at all the same as on the video. So if you manage to travel somewhere soon, try to pay more attention to how things work. Be it another city or another country. Notice everything: urban planning, landscapes, signs, window dressing, goods, people on the streets. How life is organized, what people are interested in, what they do. Take photos, shoot videos.

Here are a few examples of what I took while traveling in Spain.

Creative front design
Pablo Picasso Museum
Color combination
Marc Chagall exhibition poster
Looking for a parking lot? Here it is :)
Sagrada Familia construction timeline

You might be saying, "So how does this help me in a web environment?"

And I can still make several arguments. First – most startup ideas are borrowed from abroad. As well as a large number of business names (cafes, restaurants, boutiques...). Why don't we, as designers, borrow at least a qualitative approach or visual solutions. Second – the development of taste cannot take place in isolation. It is rare when a person manages to make a stylish design for websites and at the same time does not have any taste for the interior or clothes.

I hope that you have noticed for yourself at least one of the ways to train observation. Finally, I will give one more piece of advice – try to catch from watching all this buzz. It is at such moments that a desire arises not only to watch how others are doing, but also to realize something on their own.

Share your workout routines you've seen in the comments.