Being a graphic designer lets you flex your artistic talents, but it’s not always smooth sailing. Creative blocks can hamper your efforts to please clients and keep your bosses satisfied, so it’s critical to know how to get past them. Here are a few ways modern designers find inspiration.
1. Work With Multiple Clients
Most creative blocks are project specific. Get your brain moving again by switching to a different project in the same field. By applying the same skills to an alternate endeavor, you give your brain a break and lower your stress without completely stepping out of the zone.
In some cases, it may be impractical to drop everything and work on a new project. When a client or supervisor is breathing down your neck, give yourself some leeway by being more organized. Most big design projects are comprised of multiple tasks, so if you get stuck on one, move to the next to keep your productivity going. Organizing design jobs by tasks and deliverables also makes them seem less daunting.
2. Keep Your Portfolio Full
No matter how much you love design, creating for clients limits how you can express yourself creatively. Instead of letting the job you love become an exercise in tedium, drive yourself to finish private projects and personal art. Regardless whether someone sees them or they spend eternity in your sketchbook, personal passion projects are vital to enjoying what you do.
Also remember that portfolios are essential to career advancement, and the most effective examples could be considered standalone art pieces. Perfecting your digital or hard-copy portfolio could be just what you need to feel innovative again.
3. Keep up With the Design World
Graphic design is anything but static. As consumers and companies change, the visual language that facilitates communicate between them evolves, and you should too.
The design principles you learned in school may not apply to every project. In many cases, your clients will have already settled on what they want even if it goes against your best interests.
Although preference does matter, understanding graphic design trends makes your skills more marketable. Paying attention to what your colleagues are doing is also a great way to gain fresh ideas, and using sites like Behance, Cargo or Coroflot is a good way to self-promote.
4. Diversify Your Skills
If you primarily focus on digital art in your day-to-day work, pick up a pencil or brush, and start sketching. Different artistic methods require unique physical, mental and organization skills, and using your brain in new ways helps you break out of your rut.
You may also decide to take a class or practice in a formal studio setting. It’s not uncommon for communities to have at least one cheap or free area figure-drawing group if you don’t want to pay tuition at the local college. While many of these lack instruction, they’re good places to practice new techniques and connect with other creative types.
5. Get up and Move Around
Sometimes, old tricks are the most effective. Sitting in the same spot all day takes a toll on your body and your creativity alike. Working at a computer or drafting table can be a very sedentary occupation, and it’s not always the most comfortable thing in the world. Even worse, most studios and work-space equipment doesn’t lend itself well to being reconfigured on the fly. Give your body and brain a fair shot at rejuvenation by taking a break to walk around outside, or at the very least, stop eating lunch at your desk.
Graphic designers tackle a host of projects on a regular basis. Those who do so consistently avoid creative blocks using many techniques, and this keeps them in high demand within an increasingly-competitive workforce.