It’s happened to all of us and it’s one of the worst things to happen to a designer, a design block. We almost go into panic mode and feel like that we are no longer good at our job and the pressure starts to mount up, we have a tight deadline and now stressing and not concentrating on the task at hand. Well, never fear, here are a few tips to help overcome your next block.
Look all around you and at a few online creative projects to find inspiration to help you start generating ideas. A good starting point are these inspiration websites for designers; Graphic Burger, Behance and Design Inspiration.
Break out from those four walls, breath in the fresh air and go for a walk. You are getting a fresh change of perspective and you never know what you might see that will generate an idea. Instead of sitting inside and not seeing past your keyboard, try and go for walks on a regular basis and visit the great outdoors.
Even if it’s only for a few hours, turn off the internet, turn off your phone and let your mind relax. Get out your pen and paper and enjoy some doodling or colouring in and just be creative with out the restraints of working on a computer or to a brief.
Everyone works and functions better after a good nights sleep but research shows that lying down can help produce those ‘a-ha!’ moments. In theory, there may be greater release of a chemical, noradrenaline which can inhibit the ability to think creatively.
The pressure to create pixel perfect designs can be huge, especially when you have clients to please. The feeling can get in the way of your creative flow, so try to give yourself the freedom to create something just for your own enjoyment, even if it’s just a doodle or colouring.
This can help drown out any distractions around you. Try listening to different genres than your typical playlist as this can help influence your projects. It’s believed that classical music can help promote changes in brain activity and help problem solving.
Playing is not just for kids! (and that definitely includes Lego) Us adults, especially those that need to be creative can benefit from going out and having fun. We’re lucky to have the option of playing table tennis or pool during our lunch break, so we can enjoy some time away from our desks and get back to work feeling more refreshed.
If you’re stuck in the middle of a design, it probably means that you’re not asking enough questions or don’t fully understand the brief. Who is the target audience? What do they need to do? What will improve their life and create joy? It’s all about focusing, understanding the task in hand and researching before you put pen to paper or creating your first pixel.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself! Yes, we have tight budgets and timelines to get things done, but try to loosen up and get the time pressure off your mind. If you start off all tight and tense, your brain is likely to tighten up too and concentrates on how the final design should look like, instead of exploring ideas and being more open with design.
What and how much you’ve eaten that day can reek havoc with your mood and cause your brain to say no to ideas that could be good. Whats the connection between food and mood? Food gives you energy and helps you feel awake and alert, plus having a regular blood-sugar level makes you feel calm. So if you’re eating high sugar foods like chocolate bars, you’re going to be having spikes of high sugar levels and hyperactivity followed by a gloomy come down. This kind of emotional rollercoaster is not conducive to good design!
Remember, a positive attitude means better design. Design does not have a right or wrong answer like a maths equation, it’s a process. You can’t expect the first thing you design to be a master piece. Design blocks will happen, they’re unavoidable, but tool yourself with ways to fight it and you’ll be in the clear in no time.