Design, Inspiration

What to Do When in a Design Slump – Tips for Creatives & Freelancers with Designer’s Block

What to Do When in a Design Slump

As a freelance designer, you have to be running on all creative cylinders at all times. Often times, your head will be running through multiple designs, solving dozens of design problems and issues, and then of course you have to deal well with your clients and take care of the business ends of your operations as well. At times, it can all become a little overwhelming. It can get to you and you may not feel like designing at all.

Luckily, there are effective ways to fight off “designers block.”Some of them may seem a little surprising or even odd. If ever you feel like your love of design or determination to solve problems is fading, you should try out these options and see if you have any re-invigoration in creativity.

Step Away From Your Desk. Go Outside!

I know, I know. You have a lot of work to do, and you can’t afford to waste your time taking a leisurely stroll outside. What you’re failing to realize here, however, is that exercise gives you energy, improves your mood, helps you learn things, and has even been proven to increase work productivity in offices. Not to mention, the change in scenery will most likely give you food for inspiration! When you walk, jog, or bike, you tend to notice more details in your scenery, and if you live in an urban area, there are already plenty of elements of design surrounding you. Use them!

Go to a Museum or a Film

You can gain a lot of inspiration from other works of art. Best of all, you’re looking for sources of inspiration outside of your computer monitor. As tempting as it may be to look for design ideas on the internet, you will experience much more satisfaction and develop much better creative ideas by looking at other mediums and finding connections and relationships between mediums to your own working design. Also, like with going outside and exercise, going to a museum or movie theatre also gives you a nice change of scenery. You just never know when you might stumble across some unique or unexpected source of inspiration.

Give Yourself a Reward Incentive

This is definitely a temporary solution and not an infinite source of inspiration, but giving yourself some form of incentive for when you complete a design is an effective way to get what you need to get done. It could be a shopping incentive, a nice meal, or maybe a sweet piece of design gear. Just make sure that you’re promising yourself something that you really want. Again, I would only use this when you have an incredible amount of work ahead of you. If you use this routinely, you should possibly reconsider your profession.

More Resources For Fighting Your Creative Slump!

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

10 Tips to avoid designer’s block.

The Truth Behind a Creative Slump

Now It’s Your Turn To Talk!

we’d love to hear what you think – give us your own experiences and advice on the subject! Whenever you feel stuck, what do you do? How do you get over it? Maybe share a story if you have one!

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  1. 1

    Thanks Andy, it was definitely a good read.
    I too come across this ‘designer’s-block’ thing. That going outside thing doesn’t work much for me as this city is all crowded and not many beautiful landscapes I can come across. Movie is definitely a source of inspiration for me. And that incentive part, well that’s a must for me as my mom says I only work dedicatedly when I promise my self some new gadget. And yes, for me I don’t think I should reconsider my profession as you mentioned on this incentive thing. Its just what makes me work hard! 😛

    Nice read btw.

  2. 2

    Creating a new design altogether is a difficult thing, but if you look at the natural things get inspired by them and create, you can create a new design.

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    When I was writing my book my first writing coach said I had to “puke out my first draft.” At some points, I had the “dry heaves” and couldn’t write any more. So, I refreshed my brain with reading more. Reading actually uses more of the creative brain cells than other skills, especially reading novels. Hope this helps others.

  5. 5

    Usually when I’m facing a designers block, I’ll put on some music that would usually get me into the “zone”, or like in the article take a quick break to clear my mind and start fresh.

    Something else I’ve noticed that helps prevent/help with whatever slump I may be in is the environment around me that I may be working in..a positive environment usually keeps the creative slumps at bay..

    Great article..

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