Have you ever wondered about the first artist who decided to use transparent features in their design? Someone came up with a full image background that took up the whole screen, and the trend was born. There are many reasons to color outside the lines in your design work, but the biggest reason is that you’ll create unique websites for your clients that others will remember.
However, being creative isn’t always as easy as it sounds — designers’ block is a real thing. There are many articles online about how to overcome creative blocks. The truth is, if you’re consistently focused on being creative and learn to work through blocks, you can stay productive as a designer. Come up with some amazing, unique concepts, and you’ll build an excellent reputation.
To get over your designers’ block, try out one or some of these seven ways to keep your creativity sharp.
1. Choose a Different Setting
If you’re like most designers, you probably work out of your home office. Day in and day out, you work in the same room, at the same desk, with the same surroundings. Perhaps you have an outside office, but it’s the same situation.
Choosing a unique setting can be enough to inspire you and give you fresh ideas. Take your laptop and head to the local coffee shop. People-watch while you brainstorm ideas. What fashion choices do you see? Do any of them inspire you? What are the names of the different drinks on the menu? Can you find inspiration there?
Another idea is to take your laptop and go outside on your back patio or to a local park. If that fails, try going to your library and working among the stacks of books. You may even pull down a few design books and see if anything sparks an idea.
2. Switch Up Tasks
If you’re working on a project that’s stagnant and can’t seem to break out of the old groove, try to work on something else for a while. Switching between different types of tasks can help you think outside the box for both projects.
For example, if you’re working on a website and just can’t think of a way to make the design elements come together, set it aside for a few hours. Go work on a logo project, write an article for your blog or do some light reading. You’ll be surprised at the places you could potentially find inspiration. At a minimum, you’ll come back to the project with a fresh perspective.
3. Work in Different Mediums
Designers tend to stick to one type of design work most of the time. If you design websites, you likely work on your computer most of the time. One way you can help yourself think outside the box is to switch up the mediums you’re using in your creative endeavors.
For example, do some home projects, such as painting that old leather couch that’s an ugly brown color you despise. Draw on canvas, try your hand at crochet or paint and sip wine at a freestyle class. Mixing up your materials might be enough to spark that creative flame.
4. Refill the Creative Well
Artists tend to get burned out, especially if they’re working on a lot of projects. You have to take the time to refill your creative well, as Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way, puts it. This means you’re taking in experiences and making observations you can later pull from when you need some ideas for your art.
Take the time to do some things just for fun that you love. Visit an art museum, take a class at your local community college, take a walk in the woods or attend a concert in the park. The things you do to free your creative side don’t need to be expensive or time-consuming, but you do need to consistently partake in life and use the world as an inspiration for your creations.
5. Start With a Bad Example
Another thing that might spark a unique idea is to take a bad idea and work backward. If you’re trying to design a particularly challenging logo, find one in the same industry that’s horrible and figure out what should be changed about it. You can then apply these fixes to the logo you’re working on.
Getting started on a project may be a challenge at times — that’s when starting with something that’s already created can help. You never want to copy another designer, but you can study the work they’ve done and pull from the elements you love and remove the ones you hate. Eventually, your innate creativity will find its spark again, and you’ll make your project unique.
6. Just Go With It
Don’t try to be a perfectionist. Sometimes the best art comes from freeform thinking — just let the ideas flow and see where the art takes you. Instead of thinking the design isn’t working, just go with it and see what results you get. Keep adjusting your piece until you get the results you want.
7. Get a Mentor
Networking with other designers and artists is important. Try to find a mentor who will spend time teaching you the tricks of the trade. Conversations with other artists will often spark ideas you can use in your designs later. You’ll at least have someone to brainstorm with if a project is going all wrong.
Designers should color outside the lines — that’s how new trends and innovations are born. The idea that seems a bit too crazy to try could end up being the best thing you’ve ever designed. Don’t be scared to try new designs — those are the ones that get noticed.