Have you ever felt like you were spinning your wheels with the same routines and practices? When you’re a designer, maintaining creativity is crucial. I often feel deflated if I’m not creating new things and improving my skills, so it is important for me to push through moments of “creative block.” There are a few things that I’ve learned to help me escape from the mental treadmill and continue being productive.
Study Other Designer’s Work and Ideas
Consider Jim Jarmusch’s quote when dealing with creativity, originality
and how you should feel about using others’ work as inspiration:
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination … Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it.”
To be truly original is next to impossible. All things are largely inspired by what has been done before, and because of this, looking at as many examples as possible should be encouraged as long as it is used to push the ideas forward and take them to a new place not originally done by the artist/author/designer/etc. Here are a few websites to browse when searching for inspiration: Behance, Dribbble and Designspiration.
Find your weaknesses
Another way to push your creativity is to discover areas where you are lacking. During my last semester in college, I grouped all of my work so I could see it as a whole. I realized that I was almost exclusively using sans-serif typefaces.
There were also a few colors that I was using more than I had realized as well as a few that I used far less than I expected. I used this information to make a conscious effort to play with serif fonts, avoid the colors I’d overused and design from a different perspective.
Try a different design style
Use illustrations. Use photography. Use only typefaces that have been abstracted to the point that they appear as shapes instead of words or letters. Try a very rigid, blocky and modern style on one project, then try a very organic and flowing style on the next project.
The more styles you are versed in, the stronger your overall skillset will become. Knowing that you’ve accomplished a look and feel in the past can be beneficial when you have a client that is looking for something specific. Don’t be a one-trick pony!