Whenever I start a new design or project I do my best to tackle it from every angle I can imagine that way I have many different looks to use in my development of the design.
Having many different points of references allows you to pick the best solution for the problem you trying to solve.
Now what do I mean by work with the fringes. It means taking the design principles you learned and pushing them to a limit that often you are not comfortable with. One of my favorite examples of this is scale.
Scale can be such a powerful tool when used properly in your ability to tell powerful, convincing and dynamic stories. Scale is the size of an element as it relates to its usual physical size. The ability to use the size of elements on a plane to dictate the narrative is a next level design skill. Everyone loves drama and what is more dramatic then large elements juxtaposed against small elements. But there must be a rhyme to the reason or else you are risking the loss of computational fluidity.
I always take the element I am using and make whatever is important really big....like uncomfortably big. Just to see where the fringe is. You would be surprised at how many times what you thought would be too big is actually in the viable realm of use.
Just the same when it comes to making elements small. Scale objects down till they seem too small. This is helping you define the usable spaces around and how you will tell your story.
From here on, you will find that it is a juggling act of scale comparisons. The bigger things are, the more dramatic they seem, almost like it is shouting at you. Just the same small things are often just a whisper and sometimes can be missed altogether.
This is not to say that something large cannot be soft but it is all about the relationship to other elements.
You will also start to see that compositions that often have all the elements roughly the same size are boring, unresolved and bothersome. Now, there are often exceptions of course, we must take into account the reason for the design in the first place. But generally speaking, scale is something that really brings it too life.
Be daring and create some drama.