Overcoming Creative Blocks

Creative Blocks

The Creative Block is something that every designer has to deal with from time to time and it’s one of the things we hate the most. This doesn’t mean we are not capable of solving a visual problem. Design work requires quite a bit of mental gymnastics, making burnout a common problem for many designers. In this article, you’ll find a few tips you can use when creative blocks start to rear their ugly heads.

Viewing Your Work From Another Perspective

Before you consider leaving the task for a moment, start by leaving the concept you probably already started. Tasks often need many elements to be fully functional, so I like to think about a design project as a jigsaw puzzle. Clearing your workspace and moving all the pieces to the side helps reset your mind.

Once you’ve reset, take the most important elements, and try to think of something you can create from scratch again. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re remaking the same concept or your new design is too risky. Your brain will begin to pick out areas of improvement that it did not see during your first work session on the assignment.

Sometimes, Less Is More

Take a page from Apple’s advertising book. A simple, clean concept often has a bigger, better impact than one that incorporates many elements. While minimalism isn’t always appropriate for every assignment, a visually busy design will never hold a viewer’s attention and convey the message as efficiently and effectively as a sleeker, simpler one will.

Visual Resources

When you start a new task, before making your initial sketches, allocate some time to research references from another source. This will help you see how others have achieved what you are trying to do. Skipping research can cause what I like to call an Incidental Block, caused by a lack of outside information. It doesn’t matter how great a designer you believe you are, without information and inspiration to draw from, your designs will never be as good as they could be. Seek out examples of work from other designers you admire; draw inspiration from other art forms and your surroundings. Always be observant and never stop learning. You never know what will spark your next grand idea.

Rest And Breath

The last step to consider when you’re experiencing a creative block is to rest and breathe. Leaving a task for just 2 hours will help you clear your mind, so switch to a different task, or take your lunch break and get some fresh air if possible, and just forget about the assignment you’re having trouble with for a little while. When you get back you’ll see things a little differently, or try another approach that you hadn’t considered before. Next time when your creativity is low, step away from the problem and give your brain a break and avoid that productivity-killing brain burnout.

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