Sometimes, as a designer, you will feel overwhelmed with ideas. They will come at you so quickly you will barely have enough time to record them or jot them down. Other times, you can become so starved for ideas that you might even wonder if you are really cut out for design anyway. Particularly for freelance designers, when you are not only juggling design problems but also client correspondence and business odds and ends, the problem can become unbearable.
Fortunately, there are positive, empirical steps you can take to ward off this lack of inspiration or “designer’s block” or whatever you call it. These ideas can be as obvious as they are surprising, and many of them just go to show that problems with creativity and inspiration usually have to do with a whole range of issues that aren’t necessarily even related to your creative senses. For those in need of a creative boost (or any boost in determination for that matter), try out these suggestions.
Get Something to Eat
While you’re at it, drink some water too. Undoubtedly you’ve been running on pure coffee (and perhaps some sugar pastries) the entire day while racking your brain and stressing over the design ideas that just aren’t coming into your mind. I’ve been in these situations; when you’re under the pressure of a huge deadline, the last thing you want to do is sit down and have a full meal. Trust me, it will make you feel better and clear your thinking. Plus, if you go to a nice restaurant, you might even gleam some ideas based off the presentation of your courses.
Leave Your Desk and Go Outside
This idea is very similar to the one above: To run on your optimal creative levels, you need to take good care of yourself. It may sound counterintuitive at the time because you have a lot of work to do and not a whole lot of time to do it, but you have to realize that exercise increases your energy, improves your mood, optimizes the way you learn thing, and has even been shown to increase work productivity in offices. I find myself wasting time on the internet even when I am stressed with deadlines; I also find that I’m much better at handling deadlines when I use this break time on physical activity rather than online activity. Not to mention, going outside will give you huge opportunities for inspiration gleaming.
Seek Inspiration from Other Art Forms
And by this I mean, seek inspiration from other art forms outside of your monitor. Go to a museum (arts or science) or see a film. Observing creative or innovative artistic elements in another medium is incredibly valuable; it gets you to look past the constraints of web design convention and find relationships between mediums to your own design work. This is the best way to flood your mind with ideas that are outside the box.
Use Reward Incentives
While this is a short-term solution, reward incentives can be incredibly effective in producing great work. The reward could be some online shopping, a nice meal, or maybe that new camera that you would love to start incorporating into your new design work. For the biggest challenges of your work, it’s best to think big in terms of reward incentives; if you are using an incentive you were planning on already doing anyway, then the incentive isn’t really all that enticing. Also, use this method sparingly. If you find you are constantly giving yourself reward incentives in order to finish your work, you should consider some career counseling.