At some point in your careers, all graphic designer’s will run into a creative drought, where all your once good ideas come to a screeching halt. But don’t worry, a creative block is only temporary and happens to the best of us.
If your in the midst of a creative block or wondering what you can do the next time you run into one, below is a list of 10 techniques that will help you conquer your next creative block, while opening your eyes to new creative methods and inspiration.
Borrow (don’t steal!)
The phrase, “there are no new ideas; everything has been done already”, gets tossed around the design community quite often, and with perfect reasoning to support it.
Look at how other designer’s solve problems and observe their approach to design. Make sure you don’t steal their ideas. Rather use it as a starting point for one of your own. Draw inspiration from it. Books and website inspirational galleries are great for this sort of thing.
Explore the Masters
Focus on the work of the “Masters”. Much like the young entrepreneur painters did at one point — studying the work, methods, ideas and lives of other great designers can open your mind to new methods to approach design.
Also, I’ve found reading other designer’s creative processes help me look at things differently.
Sketching on paper is a great way to release creative block frustration. It helps to get as many ideas out as quickly as possible.
Also, try sketching things that are completely unrelated to the project you are working on. Take your mind off what your work and get lost in your sketch book.
Tutorials are a great way to boost creativity and learn new techniques. You never know when a new technique can be applied to your current project.
Mind mapping is like sketching, but with words instead of pictures. It helps to get ideas and connections down quickly on paper and explore a topic.
One of the more common reasons for a prolonged creative drought is that fact that your stressing out about it. So stop and walk away from it for awhile — take a walk, play music, go the gym, take a drive. Do something else you enjoy.
You’d be surprised by how much stress can alter the creative process.
Contrary to the above, designing more can also help in creative droughts. Try switching from your client’s project to your own experimental, self-inspired project where you have less limitations and can explore more.
You can also dabble in other forms of art or creativity — try painting, making a collage or writing. This will help open up new windows of creativity.
Surround Yourself with Designers
Creativity breeds creativity… Feed off your peers and use them as a source of inspiration and assistance. Sometimes, simply surrounding yourself around other creative minds is all you need.
Surround Yourself with Non-Designers
You’d be surprised by the responses and feedback a person that does not design for a living could provide you. Try asking them what comes to mind when they read the creative brief.
Travel back in time
Observing old painting and architecture can help you find new elements that reflect a client’s brand or vision. Take a trip to an art gallery or museum.
Listen to Music
Though I listed listening to music as a solution to getting away from your work, I felt that music should have a category of its own.
It’s unbelievable how much music can influence your designs. Don’t just listen to songs you always play. Try discovering new sounds and see where it takes you.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, so why not find inspiration in every day objects. Found objects can be a great source of creativity materials. Randomness can be extremely inspiring.
Dissect the Design
Instead of jumping right into the concept as a whole, try deciding on other elements first and let the rest follow.
Choose your color palette or the font and go from there. Sometimes all it takes is seeing a fantastic color palette that would work well for the project, which sets the tone for the end result.
Future-proof Creative Blocks
In order to be a successful graphic designer, you should always be on the lookout for new ways to improve your work and career. Taking notes as you seen them is a great resource for dealing with future creative blocks.
Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of a creative block. Prepare yourself, so when the time comes you have collateral to draw upon.
Write a list on how to conquer creative blocks
This post was inspired from a recent creative block I was having. Instead of stressing out about my current predicament, I opened my word processor and began typing this post — and you probably guessed it! I had conquered my momentary creative inability half way through this post!
By taking my mind of things for a minute, or actually putting my mind more into it, I had solved my creativity problems and hopefully helped others with their own.