Quick offline exercises for designers to sharpen your skills

Floyd Hijada

Creative block is a designer’s worst enemy. To help you make it through those rough times when you can’t seem to come up with any awesome ideas, we’ve made a series of exercises to spark your creativity.

The last edition of the series was Branding Exercises for Designers. This time we want you to step back from your computer completely, and surround yourself with a different kind of inspiration. So take a deep breath, and move away from your screen. Look around at your surroundings, take a walk outside and observe your neighborhood. It’ll refresh your ideas in a completely new way.

We’ve created a handy downloadable JPEG of the exercises so you can print them for your reference as you work through them!

Offline exercises for designers

Here are the exercises again, written out for easy translation:

1. Tear it up

Create a poster for a concert going on in your town. Instead of planning and executing your design with a pencil or a computer, make the poster completely out of torn things; pieces of paper, solid objects, magazines, found elements and collage.

2. Vend it yourself

Create a new kind of vending machine—one whose contests would fit the needs of your local neighborhood. What could you sell within this vending machine that would make sense to your local market, and how would you design the physical shape of the machine to stand out from your typical vending machines?

3. Snapshot

If someone told you to go out and take a picture of a pencil, you would take a picture of a pencil. Pretty straightforward. But what if somebody told you to take a picture of a characteristic? Take a couple of pictures of each words provided that best describes the word in your neighborhood. The words are: clever, loud, unique, boring, alive.

4. Reuse and Recycle

Take a recyclable object that we purchase regularly when going about our everyday lives—bottles, cans, cutlery, plates, cups, magazines, whatever works—and design another object that we use in our house with the objects that you have chosen. For example, turn a stack of magazines into a stool.

5. Here is where I draw the line

Lets get rid of the “I can’t draw” mentality. Take out some sketch paper. Now, find an object in your room You are going to draw this object, but with a catch. You can’t look at the paper. Look solely at the object. Don’t give in to the urge to look at the paper and see how you are doing. Just draw. Have some fun with this.

Don’t forget — practice makes perfect. Show us examples of your take on these below!

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