Articles, Tips

Creative Block: Getting Your Hands Dirty with Creativity

December 2, 2009 • By

Many designers (especially the newer generation) think of themselves as amssadors to creative thinking, effective design process, and ingenious results. And when your mind is running fresh on inspiration, and uncluttered, well lets face it, creativity just keeps flowing out. At this stage in your career, this means you’re more than likely extremely disappointed if you produce anything less of a masterpiece. Sure, this is all good stuff. But what happens when your creativity begins to fall short? And thinking of new ideas and concepts feels like trying to get to the moon on foot? You have nothing else to do but to face the facts, your creativity has dried up. Or has it?

There are several things that trigger a creative block, some personal, while most professional. Whatever the reason, within this article you’ll find a few simple and easy ways to combat a designers worst enemy: Creative block.

Using Your Imagination


This might seem obvious to some, however, a lot of people forget they have an imagination after they grow out of child hood. Taking charge of letting your mind wonder free as it makes sense of things in its own way is asking for fresh inspiration. Aim at being unique, not ordinary. Forget what others may think of you, free your mind and let your thoughts flow.

Take the challenge, rise to the occasion, and find new ways to perceive things. Your mind is a powerful tool, don’t try to tame it, just be willing to go beyond the ordinary right past the dull.

Keep Track of Any Ideas


One tactical way to combat creative block is to keep a good track of any and pretty much every idea that may pop into your head. Whether article topics, design ideas, or ways to improve your code, try to keep a log of it. If you don’t write them down, you will most likely come to forget. Or by the time you remember, that idea is “watered down” and is nothing close to the original point your mind was trying to get across.

If you don’t have super good memory, this method is sure to save you time and headaches more than a few times. You can keep a word or text document open on your desktop with your ideas, or you can carry around a small notepad and pen. Either way it gets the job done. Cataloging your ideas is productive because it allows you to go back and take a second gander while viewing your ideas on much larger scale. You can also combine them with each other to improve. This is one of the least time consuming and most successful methods for cranking up the volume on your creativity.

Visual Structuring


This is one of the most popular ways to create a “back-bone” for those ideas. Getting your paper and pencil out not only lets you see your ideas on a physical level, but it will most likely make you feel like a kid once again. After all, (going back to step one) this was when your imagination was at its peak. The moment you stop trying to please everyone and have fun, is the moment you realize creativity is at your fingertips. Crayons believe it or not can also help you conceive new ideas. Due to the fact that colors invoke all sorts of emotions and act as an aid to your thought process.

Utilizing paper rather than your computer is much more efficient. You can easily jot down and transfer your ideas to a sketch in a matter of minutes. But how long would it take to transfer those same ideas to Photoshop or Illustrator? No nearly the same amount of time.

Re-Defining Your Skills


By re-defining your skills I mean reading your old design books that you may have stacked up on your dusty book shelve. If you don’t own any design books, then there are a lot of ebooks that offer just the same amount of knowledge and insight. Most design books were made to help you think outside the box. Since this helps you convert the examples you may see in the publication into your own, this is an excellent way to kick-start your creativity. On another note, reading comic books (especially very graphic ones) can also help you when you hit those pot holes.

You should also take a look at different tutorials. This will aid you in learning how to apply originality to something that someone else has produced. Scanning through tutorials will also benefit you in brushing up on old techniques and the latest standards.

Working Through Limitations


If all else fails, keep working. Some individuals work better as they reach their breaking point, they excell and take flight in the hardest of times. But there’s only one way to find out if you’re one of these individuals, strapping on the gear and taking your so called limits to a new brink. Many times we look for the easy way out, when pushing through and working harder is the ideal thing to do. Not to a straneous and self-devouring point of course, but to the next level. Go ahead, turn off that phone, kill all communication with emails, IM’s, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and start tackling your goals.

When we get stuck (creative blocks), we end up making things more complicated. As soon as this happens, if you wish to work through it, take a step back and try to refresh your mind. Take a nap, a jog/walk, eat your favorite food, listen to music, and or play some video games (if you’re into those sort of things). The point is to unwind, so that you’re able to get a fresh perspective on things and take it from there.

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