Designing has always been hard for me. I recall back when I was still in school, I learned to design a poster for a carnival and I had a small sketchbook to draft out ideas that came to me.
In the end, I did not run out of pages to draw on. In fact, I didn’t even finishing drawing on a single page.
Trying to create an original design is not always easy. The flow of ideas can start off slow for most people. But I’ve found that there are some things that have helped me get over creative block, and I want to share them with you here.
Things that Contribute to a Designer’s Creative Block
There are a number of things that leave us uninspired.
Some people see perfectionism as a strength, while others dread it like a disease.
Perfectionism is one of my biggest obstacles, proving to be my Achilles’ heel when it comes to completing projects.
It’s presence is constantly at the back of my mind reminding me to edit, redesign, edit and redesign over and over again.
I want to create the best that I know I’m capable of, but who’s the judge of what "the best" is? Me.
Fear is a relatively huge factor and there is a large range of fears that we have when we put our work out there. Fear of rejection, fear of criticism or even the fear of fear itself.
The vast number of thoughts running through our mind want to be heard, but we do not have the time to listen to all of them.
Do you trust yourself? It can be hard sometimes, I know.
However, trust grows stronger with each design you create. When you are passionate about the work you design and you know the value of your work, trust comes naturally.
If not, keep on designing and trust will surely catch up to you.
4. State of Well-Being
Your mental, emotional and physical conditions are more important than you realize.
If you are anxious, impatient or sick, the flow of energy in your body is disrupted, which in turn significantly affects your creative output.
Clear Your Thoughts
Look around. There are many sources of inspiration that you could be receiving if you open up. (See a list of places online for design inspiration.)
Take a deep breath. Think positive thoughts that can channel your internal energy considerably to be your ally.
I have noticed that when I go through a list of positive aspects in my life and start showing gratitude for all the good things that’s happened, my energy shifts and creativity starts flooding in. Everything falls into place.
If you have a lot of thoughts in your mind, pen things down, elucidate your goals and release these thoughts.
9 Simple Ways to Kill Designer’s Block
To completely purge designer’s block from your mind is easier said than done.
There are, however, many simple ways to be free of it that do not require ancient medical recipes to heal yourself.
Here are a few tips and tricks of my own.
1. Be Grateful and Appreciative
As I have mentioned above, gratitude is a very powerful tool to improve your state of mind. When we are in a positive and cheerful mental state, we become more productive. This ultimately has a greater impact on others around us as well.
Though you may think meditation is just lame, on the contrary, meditation is a great way to relax your mind and channel your focus.
You can even meditate while you are cleaning your room or doing something that allows you to relax your mindset.
Meditation is freeing, giving you the opportunity to reset your brain. It is a great tool for inspiration and mental mending.
Now you know why monks love meditating.
3. Move your Body
If you have not been exercising when you run out of creativity, now is the time to start.
Exercising not only allows blood to flow to your brain, but it also produces adrenaline, which makes you feel better.
After exercising, you will be rejuvenated and more likely to come up with one or several ideas, and it could also help you get rid of the extra pound or two you’ve manufactured from sitting in front of the computer.
4. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine—like everything else—has both its good and bad points. The key to this is moderation. Some studies have found that small amounts of caffeine may help prevent cancer due to the antioxidants it contains.
Caffeine intake causes a short-term elevation in your metabolism, giving you a burst of energy.
However, dependence on caffeine will affect your health in the long run.
5. Watch some Videos
Watching some inspirational videos will lift your spirits and provide inspiration for new ideas.
A great video I strongly recommend is "The Secret." Although it does not teach you about design, it has many pointers that could be beneficial towards your route to success.
6. Be Yourself
It is sad to hide in the shadow of others and it takes a lot of energy to try to be someone else, even in your design work.
Design from your heart and just let loose.
You will be astounded by the results if you keep going at it.
7. Do a Good Deed
Do something nice for someone. Give your friend a gift. Help an elderly person cross the street. Donate to charity. Smile at everyone you meet. Kindness opens up your heart and unleashes your creativity.
What goes around will one day come back to you.
8. Sleep Well
Excluding the amount of time spent sleeping, 24 hours will never be enough for you in a day.
Even so, you still need a considerable amount of rest. Having adequate amounts of sleep will enable you to work longer.
So stop burning the midnight oil and head to bed early. Your body will thank you for this. Some ideas come to you when you are on your bed and your body is highly relaxed.
Who knows, the fairy godmother of creativity may even pay you a visit in your dreams. Prepare a pen and paper next to your bed so that you won’t miss anything when you wake up.
9. Be Humble
Be humble and accept any criticism that comes your way. Before you brush it aside, analyze what has been said and why they were said in the first place. Reflect on these words and seek to improve yourself.
If you are humble, people are more willing to share and offer constructive advice, and this will eventually open up your window of creativity.
Humility is a useful tool that can get you further.
More Ways to Kill Creative Block
Here are more articles for your reading pleasure.
- Onextrapixel: Ways for Freelancers to Get Inspiration for Design Work
- Freelance Switch: 60 More Places to Get Design Inspiration, Online and Off
- Mashable: 100 Great Resources for Design Inspiration
Articles on Creativity
- How to Create Creativity
- How to Stay Ahead of the Curve as a Designer
- 6 Reasons Why You Should Do Personal Design Projects
- Inspirational Tips and Tools from a Designer
- A Designer’s List of New Year’s Resolutions
- 10 Unusual Places to Get Design Inspiration
- Popular Logos with Hidden Symbolisms
Say Goodbye to Creative Block!
Designers, like any other person, work and play in the same way. It is how they perceive things in a different manner that makes them unique.
What are your methods for getting rid of creative block? Do you simply avoid them and bury your head straight into the sand?