When you work in a creative field like graphic design, the pressure is always there to come up with new, fresh ideas. Similar to “writer’s block,” some graphic designers run into the dreaded “creative block,” a period of time when new ideas suddenly stop flowing and inspiration screeches to a halt. If you’re in the midst of creative block right now, here are four ways to break out of it and get back to your project!
1. Stop Worrying About Failure
One of the biggest factors contributing to creative block is worrying too much about failure. Designers suffering from creative block may not even attempt to try out a new idea because they’re worried it won’t turn out great or that it won’t be their best work. The truth is that it’s almost always better to try something than to get nothing done at all. You may be pleasantly surprised at the result—but even in a worst-case scenario, you’ll at least have something to start with.
2. Set Deadlines for Accountability
If you’re the type of person who works best under pressure, then setting deadlines for projects (or portions of your projects) is a great way to force yourself out of that creative block. Even if you don’t necessarily have an impending deadline with a client, you can set personal deadlines for yourself or with your family, loved ones or fan base. Getting used to working under a hard stop keeps you sharp. Keep in mind, however, that this approach tends to work best with those who are self-motivated and able to work under pressure.
As Ben Barry, founder of Facebook’s Analog Research Lab, says “in the end, a deadline is always the best cure for creative block. I sometimes artificially induce this feeling of panic by making public commitments to people about presenting work on a particular day. It works reasonably well.”
3. Explore Other Creative Outlets
Sometimes, exploring creativity in other ways than graphic design can open up new doors to inspiration. So, if you feel like nothing is coming to you while sitting at your computer, give yourself permission to step away and immerse yourself in other creative work. This could be anything from writing poetry or jotting down a journal entry to painting a picture or simply doodling in a notebook. You may be surprised at the ideas that can come to you when you’re under less pressure but still in your creative realm.
4. Try a New Work Environment
Working in the same space day after day can lead to monotony, which can manifest itself negatively in your work. If you’re feeling stuck, consider leaving the office for the day and working at your favorite coffee shop, local park, or anywhere else that strikes you.
Overcoming creative block can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to hold a project back. After all, it could cost you valuable business.