Whenever I baked a cake as a donation, I had a general theme but no specific details. I came up with ideas that were then worked out on the cakes. For example, a baby shower cake? made a teddy bear wearing a diaper. Built it as a buttercream bas-relief from a pencil outline, kept adding layers until it looked right.
In your case, making dummies for your business is how you find your design sense. If you don't mind the look of your own scribbles, start there with blank paper and some pencils.
Then take a dummy and a couple bags of icing and start piping. Or some fondant and start rolling and cutting. No imported patterns or pictures on the table allowed--just what comes out of your own head for a given theme.
Edit this work with a scalpel at your leisure until you find yourself saying OK that's it. Take pictures. Make another one next week or next month. Pick seasonal holidays and see what your hands come up with.
I had no training whatsoever from art teachers, I had looked at many pictures of cakes. When it came to design, I had to have a clear blank slate and a general theme.
Edited by BakingIrene - 1/27/13 at 11:14am