Stuck In a Design Block? – How to Get Out of It?

Getting stuck in a writers block/designers block at some point is actually quite common. Just like with everything else, we can get sick and tired of things or feel uninspired. In this article we’ll be having a look at some tips on how to make this “state of mind” pass as quickly as we can, and how to overcome our dry spell of non-creativity.

Stuck In a Design Block? - How to Get Out of It?
Image credit: jessicahannon

So What Works?

We’re very different as people obviously, and our creativity and inspiration can thereby be triggered by a number of different things. What will work specifically for you will depend on what your interests are and how your day is. We can’t promise that all of these tips will work well for you, but we’re quite confident that there can be something here for everyone to take advantage of.

1. Do Something You Love Doing / Spending Time On Your Hobbies

Nothing can boost your creativity like doing something you really love doing. This can be anything, – from painting to shopping or taking a ride on your motorbike.

Hobby Design Block
Image credit: Wong Mei Teng

2. Take a Break

Sometimes a creative block/design block can be a direct result of you having put too much pressure onto yourself. This is why taking a time-out/break for a while can be very helpful. Take the rest of the day off, or the rest of the week if you can afford to do so. This can do wonders for your creativity and efficiency.

3. Spend Time with Others

Have you ever noticed how discussing things with other people can be inspiring? Telling someone else about your current projects or listening to theirs can in some mysterious way make you want to dive right back into your creative sphere. Spending time with creative people can be contagious. Maybe spending time with your kids or family even can leave you feeling more inspired.

Talking Design Block
Image credit: Andrew C.

4. Change Surroundings

If you work in the very same environment every single day of the year, changing the scene a bit can make a big difference. Take a day working in the office instead of your office, go to a restaurant and so on.

Changing surroundings can of course also mean to redecorate the office, paint your walls, hang up a picture and more. Do what can be done with your work-schedule and budget.

5. Read Magazines, Books, Websites

Reading is very inspirational to many. This can take you away to something completely different, or help you gain new knowledge related to what you’re struggling with.

Reading Design Block
Image credit: Jenny Rollo

6. Inspirational Websites and Galleries

Inspirational galleries and websites are huge online, and with a good reason. Looking at other peoples work can give you new ideas. Seeing that something you’ve never seen or thought of before is possible, can help you open up to being even more creative.

7. Browse Portfolios

Just like with websites and galleries, browsing portfolios of other designers can be a great experience for many of us. This can be any type of portfolios, from web design to photography and art.

8. Visit a Creative Showcase (art, theatre, etc)

Using other types of creativity to get inspired works for many. Even if you’re a web designer there’s actually a chance that you can be inspired by going to a museum or art gallery. Check out what’s going on in your area and consider having a closer look at it.

Gallery Design Block
Image credit: Fluyana

9. Travel

Traveling can do several things for you. Obviously this can recharge your batteries and give you more energy to be creative, but it can also inspire you that you get a change of scenery and see a lot of new things and get new experiences. And if you’re lucky, maybe you even make some new friends?

10. Work Out / Stay Active

If you have a job where you’re sitting still most of the day, you’re more likely to get several problems at some point. Aching back and shoulders, obesity, sleeping problems and more could be lurking around the corner. By being physically active outside of work, you’re giving your body a better chance to cope.


Image credit: Benjamin Earwicker

11. Evaluate

One key to overcoming a writers block/creative block is to evaluate yourself. Look at previous cases. What did help for you back then? And is there a pattern somewhere? Maybe you’ve stressed for too long or worked too many hours. Evaluate and use this to your advantage for the future.

Conclusion

We all face periods of being less effective sometimes. The tips for how to get out of the design block are many and depend on how you are as a person. These were just some of very many examples of what you can do. Listen to your body, do things you love to do and remember to breathe and allow yourself to have a life outside of work as well.

Finally we’d love to hear your own tips and opinions! What helps when you’re feeling stuck? And why do you think you get in that situation?

More Ways to Kill Creative Block

Hilde is a Norwegian girl with a great passion for everything related to design, freelancing, PhotoShop, photography, Illustrator and more. Running her own website and work with mainly Graphic Design and Business Consulting besides article writing.

Comments

  1. / Reply

    Ummm….
    Thank you for your article.
    I’m a Web Designer, I work at Business about web site.
    But i like to freelance, Now i don’t see the way for me.
    …..

    I want to work at home and i don’t have conection now.
    I think about good thing in future.

    • Rana Mukherjee,
    • February 18, 2011
    / Reply

    Nice article.

    • Mag,
    • February 18, 2011
    / Reply

    Spending time with others, especially if they are not designers, then you will get out of all those tension and occupied mind and you will feel free.

  2. / Reply

    Great advice :)

    • Nenad,
    • February 19, 2011
    / Reply

    HI Hilde,
    Good article, thanks

  3. / Reply

    Hi Hilde,

    Great stuff. I have bookmarked it, so I can visit next time, when I am stuck in a Design block.

    Thanks

    Manish

  4. / Reply

    Simple & good ideas to get out of the dreaded designer’s block which every designer faces, sometimes too often, in his/her career.

    I have a few rules I impose on myself and the designers on my team to attack a design challenge and to get ou of a designer’s block. I call it “Breaking The Spell.”

    1. Face The Music: Force yourself to wake up from this “fantastic idea” dream and really face the problem. See what’s wrong with the vision.

    2. Trash It: Be ready to scrap the whole thing and start over. It’s not easy to do because it’s admitting that sometimes, your idea and vision may not be right.

    3. Try, Try Again: Yes. It’s a good practice. And it makes you better.

    You can read in more details here: http://www.isuriato.com/blog/?p=1546

    And I bid you good luck. :)

    • debbie-lee,
    • February 23, 2011
    / Reply

    Thank you for this article. I have tried most of the solution (subconsciously) without knowing it would help, they definately do help. Another thing that i have found helps is meditation. If you search on the net for meditations for creativity you will find a few guided ones, alternatively just sitting quietly and visualiting the job as complete or visualising peoples reactions to the complete job, helps.

    • Tony,
    • February 24, 2011
    / Reply

    Oh man… I can’t count the times this has happened to me having custom designed over 100 web sites. The only solution that seems to work is taking a break or taking time off and doing something else you love. The worst part is when you’re dealing with a client who wants their stuff done NOW and you just can’t get in that creative mood. You either have to force yourself into that creative mood or I guess they will just have to be patient… or hire someone else. Lol.

  5. / Reply

    Awesome article…

    Thanks.

  6. / Reply

    Great tips! I usually browse dribbble and other creative sites for inspiration.

    • Lance,
    • December 11, 2012
    / Reply

    Design block seems a little like the flu. When it hits you it hits fast and hard! Great post and very useful. Bookmarked for certain! Thanks.

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