6 ways to fight off creative block

When you design for long periods of time it’s common to hit a mental wall or some other creative block. Times like these are frustrating – especially if you’re trying to hit a deadline.

But fear not! There’s still hope… Here are a few way to get those creative juices flowing again.

1. Stay current

magazine

Photo: KaboomPics

Nothing refreshes creativity like exposure to new ideas. Read a variety of design publications to stay on top of the latest trends, best practices and cool tools. The key is to engage with the content and think about how you can incorporate it into your own thinking and processes.

Here are a couple of our favorite design blogs:

2. Collect things that inspire you

things

Photo: only alice (via Flickr)

When you come across things that are visually appealing – save them! Having a collection of inspiring things can be invaluable when you are looking for ideas for your projects.

Look for things that really stir your emotions. The more evocative the image, the more effective it can be to spark creativity. Pinterest is an awesome way to collect cool stuff if you prefer searching for inspiration online.

Resources:

3. Brainstorm & sketch

sketch

Photo: metromani (via Flickr)

Creating a visual “map” with the client’s project requirements is a great way to produce unique concepts. Be sure to keep the brief in mind, along with the business’s current web theme, logo, and company culture.

Once you have a couple good concepts, sketch them out. Sketching allows you to explore and develop your ideas into powerful conceptual designs.

See more about how to turn your sketches into vector art.

4. Step. Away. From. Your. Computer.

stepaway

Photo: Snapwire Snaps

That’s right – close your computer and walk away. Go for a run, take a shower, or listen to music.

Take your mind off of work for an hour or two so you can relieve built up pressure. When you get back to your project, you’ll have a fresh look at something that you were previously stuck on.

5. Seek feedback

feeback

Photo: _dChris (via Flickr)

Critical feedback is good feedback. Have a friend or fellow designer examine your designs from the perspective of the client. Does it have everything the client specified? How can you improve the design?

Your design will not be perfect on the first try, so don’t hesitate to completely change an element or even your whole design.

6. Create your own projects

project

Photo: Snapwire Snaps

Start a project that challenges you to use a new design style or skill. Try mixing it up by using different color combinations, layouts, size variations or textures. Have fun with it!

If you want to start a new project, check out these sites for Photoshop and vector work:

You can also try a new hobby outside of your graphic design comfort zone – doing new things will spark hidden creativity. And who knows… you might even find another hidden talent!

Have any other tips for fighting creative block? Share them in the comments!

The author

Stephanie Thai
Stephanie Thai

Stephanie is Social Media Coordinator for 99designs, working out of the SF office. Off the clock you can find her scoping out restaurants and music venues, or galavanting outdoors.

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