Once you've developed your idea into a functioning product, it can be tempting to stop there and go to market with the aesthetic that has naturally evolved out of your product development process. However, stopping at this point won't leave you with a breathtaking, Pinterest-worthy aesthetic. Instead, you need to thoughtfully push your product's aesthetic (yes, with extra time and effort) to be captivating, refined, and ideally iconic.
Let's look at 5 steps to take your product's aesthetic from mundane to Pinterest-worthy:
1. Choose Character Words
Rooted in your user insights, choose three words that define the character you wish for your product to embody. These three words clearly communicate the aesthetic objective to your team while also serving as the backbone for your upcoming design decisions.
An example would be, "Simple. Friendly. Sophisticated."
2. Get Inspired
At this stage of product development you're probably too close to think abstractly about the variety of aesthetics your product could take on. To combat this, gather external inspiration (that is Pinterest-worthy in its own right!). Look to nature, different industries, and/or unrelated products for aesthetics that align with your three character words.
(Note: It is important to avoid looking at competitor products or products identical to yours, as this is distracting. You'll end up either being tempted to copy someone else's design or be paralyzed by not being able to see new opportunities... the opposite of inspiring)
Compile images of these inspirations, along with your three character words, into a collage to serve as your inspiration board. Keep this inspiration board in sight for continuous reference during your aesthetic development. It'll keep you aiming high and communicate the fidelity you're after to your team.
3. Explore Multiple Concepts
With your inspiration board in sight, generate a wide variety of ideas to pick from. Here at Knack, we take a mild to wild approach, ideating a full spectrum of concepts, ranging from close-to-home to blue-sky. The more ideas, the higher chance of finding a winner.
With an exhaustive collection of ideas, take a break to clear your mind between your creation and critique phases. Return after a day or more to pare down your ideas. Throw out the weak ones and explore more ideas around the concepts that resonate.
4. Give Yourself More Than One Try
You may think that you have the winning concept in hand, but give yourself a few rounds of iteration to re-imagine and get your aesthetic just right. With each round, challenge the design to more closely satisfy your three character words.
From a zoomed out view, define your product's proportion. Zooming in, find areas of your product that can be purified and improved. Reduce unnecessary complexity to remove visual distraction and let the design intent be the center of attention.
5. Fuss Over The Details
Take one last look at your inspiration board. Study how these other objects utilize forms, part breaks, colors, materials, textures, and graphics to achieve a standout aesthetic. Take one last effort to go the extra mile and fuss over the details. Every detail matters and should be executed with intention.
Wait, who cares if your product is Pinterest-worthy anyway? Well, your customers do. Pinterest-worthy is another way of saying "desirable." Desire differentiates, captivates, and drives demand for your product. So why stop short and not leverage your potential to push your design to a desirable state?