Fuel Your Creativity and Break That Dreaded Designers Block
Every creative soul has faced designers block, but these tips to fuel creativity will help you break the block and get the creative juices flowing again — read on!
You can peak over your shoulder but you won’t find it. Rest assured though, something is lurking, creeping it’s way up behind you. Writer’s are famous for fighting it, but even the best graphic designers face it from time to time. I’m talking about the dreaded “Designer’s Block.”
Lately for me it’s just shows up with no warning. I’ll be busting’ butt, designing up a storm when it hits me like a stop sign. Maybe that’s why, I’ve just drained my creative reservoir. So what can we do to break free from designers block?
First, It helps to Reset and Refresh the Mind
Here are 4 tips that have been helping me reset and refresh my mind lately.
1) Do Something New.
I’m the type of person that likes to stick to a schedule. I like my daily routine. But if my creative juices aren’t flowing it’s something I can’t just press through. I’ve found that breaking that routine and doing something different will usually kick start my mind again. I might walk my wife’s dog, flip through an old book, or go to the kitchen and try to make something quick and different to snack on. Giving your mind a unique break like that can put the hammer down on a creative block.
2) Get Graphically Inspired.
This is the most obvious one, but sometimes you just don’t know where to look. The internet is full of design inspiration sites and articles, so find your favorite ones and bookmark them. I like creattica.com, logopond.com, and reading blogs by other Graphic Designers like Paul Jarvis. There a plenty to choose from, so whatever your taste or style I’m sure there’s something that could help you bring back that creative spark.
3) Watch a new TV Show.
This one is especially good if you have Hulu or Netflix. A TV episode is usually around 23 minutes, enough time for a solid break. Plus it’s something new for your mind to absorb, new information, new perspectives. This allows you to explore new ideas and thoughts that you wouldn’t normally have come across that day. I realize it could be a little difficult when you’re at the office, but between smartphone apps and an hour lunch it could be worth a shot.
4) Have a Hobby.
My father is an parts manager at a car dealership, works a second job as an auto mechanic, drag races on the weekends, and for a few summers picked up racing RC cars. See a theme developing here? As a “car-guy” his career and his hobby revolve around auto mechanics. So as creative-type people it’s important to have a creative-type of hobby. Personally I like to do sketch work. There are pages and pages of notes and doodles that have sat under my keyboard for any stray thought that comes into my mind. You may enjoy painting more, find a way to do it on a small scale, quickly and easily accessible. Or if you’re into music do some remixing of your favorite tracks. It’s a great help to have a hobby that while different from your main job, is still creative fuel for your soul.
5) Go Outside.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. Now I’m not suggesting you travel, but seriously step outside and stretch. Like me, I’m sure most of you spend too much time sitting in an office chair staring at a lit up screen. This gives your eyes a break, which is good for their health. You might bump into a neighbor and have a good conversation. The weather varies from day to day so you’re bound to see something different each time, slower traffic, birds singing, or leaves blowing off the trees. Try to notice what’s going on and what’s different from the last time you stepped out. One of the most valuable lessons we can learn from ninja’s is to be aware of your surroundings.
I know that designing on a daily basis can drain the creative juices. The creative life is a great one, but that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges. Trying to work creatively when it seems that your mind is working against you can be frustrating. This is especially true for employers who see their best employees suffer during a slump. Creativity and inspiration go hand-in-hand, after all, but now we’re on our way to ending the slump. We’ve taken a break, we’ve refreshed our mind and reset to allow in new creative inspiration. Now all we have to do is follow the next four steps.
Four Tips to Fuel Creativity and Break Designers Block
Step outside ‘the box’ and seek creative inspiration.
1. Avoid Overthinking
Chances are that you’ve been really overthinking solutions to this specific design problem. Once you’ve gone down that path it can be very hard to break through that block. The previous steps have allowed you to step away and reset. Now you need to avoid getting back into that same rut. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, at least for me… I’m a bit OCD and I have a hard time turning off a specific thought process. The next step helps me get past that.
2. Research other Designers’ work as well as different creative styles
You might have to venture outside of your comfort zone a little. I typically find that if I do some online research as to what other designers have come up with for similar solutions, the gears start turning. For example, suppose that you are creating a logo for a new local farm and everything you’ve come up with thus far has been lack luster and generic. A good approach to take would be to do a few general Google searches for “amazing farm logos” or “the best organic farm logos” or something along those lines. Then you should research different isolated aspects that may apply. For example maybe your local farm project only grows carrots, or perhaps the farms name has a unique aspect such as a specific geographic location that could be incorporated. Research is a vital key to fueling creativity and breaking down blocks.
3. Don’t be a Loner
Freelance artists have a hard go of it in certain aspects. Working alone certainly has it’s upsides; however it can be very beneficial to have others you can bounce ideas off. Anyone in the creative industry has suffered from tunnel vision at one point or another, and in those times seeking the opinion of other designers can be extremely helpful. I can’t tell you how often asking another designer what their thoughts on a specific design problem are have helped spark a solution that I hadn’t considered before.
4. Make a Change
Lastly, if you find yourself at a complete loss and everything just seems hopeless — set that project aside and work on something else. I mean it, give that project a total rest for a couple days even and put it completely out of your mind. Focus on other projects to help you feel a sense of accomplishment. When you do come back to the project that you’ve been struggling with, don’t pick up where you left off. Scrap everything and start anew. Look at the project from a different angle and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at how quickly the new ideas poor in.
Four Tips to Fuel Creativity for Your Employees
Powering up your employees creative mindset.
Creating a Creative Mindset
There is a fine line between using your environment to capture the creative mindset and being restricted by routine. Routine can be detrimental to creative thought, but revisiting the same environment where you have been creative before can help you turn your creative steak into a productive one. In an office space, this could mean allowing your employees to have an input on the design, putting up art around their desk, have tactile toys to play with, and more. You want to invigorate their senses so that their brain can engage and focus on the creative problem at hand more effectively. This also applies to workshops. The more inspiring the environment, the better.
Encourage a Healthy Mind
Other ways you can fuel an employee’s creativity is to help fuel their minds. Being alert can do wonders for the creative processes, and can be achieved very easily. Healthy eating and free hot drinks are two of the ways you can help support your employees without breaking the budget. If you cannot afford to offer complimentary healthy snacks at your office, have all the equipment and even a rewards program to encourage them to bring their own. Have a fridge, a toaster oven if you do not have an oven itself, and other simple food preparing tools. At home meals are almost always healthier than eating out. Eating out means going to restaurants where their main focus is your experience, even if that means making foods high in saturated fats and salt (two very delicious, but unfortunately unhealthy ingredients).
Offer Fuel to Fuel their Creativity
To further improve your break room and, as a result, fuel their creativity, opt for a durable, office-worthy coffee maker that will not only brew delicious coffee from bean to finish, but will also be able to keep up with all your employees. Office-Coffee.co.uk has many options to fit your budget and your requirements, and it can be the best present for everyone in the office. You should also offer tea, have a water cooler and even offer healthy snacks such as fruit.
Sometimes all it takes is bouncing ideas back and forth to spark the necessary creative streak in your employees. That is why teamwork on creative projects can be so beneficial, as is training your employees on how to provide constructive criticism. The last thing you want, after all, is for egos to get in the way. This can happen often, but knowing how to communicate effectively can help good ideas, and good results come forth.
It can be difficult to help fuel your own creativity let alone someone else’s , but by improving the office environment, from their desk to the break room, you can make significant progress. Another way to boost creativity is to put your employees into teams with proper training so that good ideas can come to fruition and great work can be done.
Give your mind a break and beat designers block!