The Struggle is Real: 15 Ways to Overcome Designer’s Block

The Struggle is Real: 15 Ways to Overcome Designer’s Block

Oh no! It’s happened, the dreaded. You’ve hit the wall that we like to call, designer’s block.

Every designer has experienced the frustration of feeling mentally blocked at least once in their career. Sometimes, ideas just don’t feel like coming to us and it couldn’t be more discouraging.

Next time you’re sitting there, blank, thinking, “When is this going to be over?” don’t lose hope. We have 10 helpful tricks, tried and true, to help you break through any case of designer’s block.

1. Get out a pen and paper

If you’re having trouble finding design inspiration, it’s always a good idea to go back to the basics. Oh yes, it’s time to break out a pen and paper! Whether you’re stuck on a concept or drawing a blank completely, find a quiet place and jot down anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t even need to be words. Scribbles, shapes, thoughts, dreams, sounds, literally anything will help. Some of the best ideas grow from the most irrelevant and meaningless things.

2. Take a walk

Ah, the great outdoors! Taking a walk and getting some fresh air is one of the best ways to clear your head. If you’ve been staring at the computer for hours on end, designer’s block is pretty much inevitable. Any form of exercise will release endorphins and help your mind relax. So, if you’ve hit a wall, get your body moving so those creative juices can start flowing again!

3. Get a new perspective

It’s easy to get consumed by our own thoughts until our minds go blank. It’s almost like having mental tunnel vision. One of the best ways to solve this roadblock, is to bounce ideas off others. Everyone has a different process for solving problems. Use that to your advantage. Chat with someone outside of the creative industry. Their fresh perspective could be your next best idea!

4. Change up the scenery

How many times have you sat down at the same computer, in the same place, at the same time of day to get your work done? Probably too many times. Sure, it may be the place where your best ideas were born, but that doesn’t mean it still is. Our minds naturally become bored working in the same setting every single day. Try switching things up by working in a different place or environment. Different surroundings will help spark new ideas.

5. Use social media

We’re all guilty of getting sucked into the social media hole. Believe it or not, social media can be our biggest savior during these hard times in the creative world. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are geared towards visual inspiration. They’re programmed to expose the material that we crave to see. When designer’s block is hitting you hard, social media just might offer the inspiration that you desperately need.

6. Try something new

Think about the last time you really went out of your comfort zone. What did you take away from that experience? Whether it was good or bad, it’s likely you learned something. Putting yourself in a new position will expose your mind to a whole new spectrum of ideas. You just have to allow yourself to see them. Trying something new is one of the most effective ways to find inspiration. Creativity isn’t just going to knock on your door. Get out there and find something new and exciting to try!

7. See the world

Okay, we know it’s not exactly easy to jet set to the Pyramids of Giza just to break through designer’s block. However, no two places in the world are the same and there are some unbelievable sights to see. Luckily, you have the internet!

Between culture, architecture and scenery, creative inspiration is just a couple clicks away. With today’s technology, we have a front row seat to anywhere in the world. Watch a travel video online and observe different colors, patterns and shapes. Read about different travel experiences. Imagine yourself at the top of the Eiffel Tower or under the Northern Lights. Not only will you find some inspiration, you might even find your next vacation destination too!

8. Take a break

We know, deadlines suck are very stressful. When that due date is approaching, it feels like the last thing you should do is stop and take a break. However, sometimes taking a break is the best thing for creativity. Designer’s block often happens when we’re forcing our minds to do one specific thing for too long. Don’t be afraid to walk away for a while. It’s better to give yourself time to think about other things. Whether you take five minutes or five days, returning to a project with a clear head will make all the difference.

9. Don’t overthink it

Have you ever noticed some of your best work was created under tight deadlines? When you’re working under pressure, the small stuff doesn’t matter. There’s no time to think, there’s only time to produce. Thinking too hard about a design is not only a waste of time, it’s also the perfect set-up for designer’s block. Next time inspiration hits, try not to think about it, just start creating. You’ll be surprised how quickly your idea will come to life!

10. Play a game

Taking a break to have a little fun can be more beneficial than you think. We’re not necessarily talking about phone games or video games. What we’re talking are good old fashioned, hands-on board games like Pictionary or Scategories. Board games will stimulate the mind in light and fun environment while taking away the stress of designing. Plus, board games are known to get the creative gears turning, so there’s a good chance you’ll spark some inspiration and break out of designer’s block while you’re at it!

11. Paint or Color

You’re never too old to whip out a box of crayons. Whether you end up coloring a bunch of squiggles or create an intricate masterpiece, drawing can help the development of your professional design work. Observe the color combinations, the lines and the mood of your drawing. It’s hard to believe that aimlessly scribbling can be a solution for designer’s block, but when you focus on the strong parts of your work, then you can take that back to your original design.

12. Change your routine

There’s nothing imaginative about going through the motions every day. It’s easy to be comfortable with a routine, but when designer’s block hits, it’s the perfect time for a change. It doesn’t matter which routine your altering, what’s important is that you’re eliminating a repetitive and tedious part of your life. Changing the way you do everyday things will give you a new perspective to use to your advantage. So, next time you’re battling your brain for new design ideas, think about what parts of your daily routine have room for a little transformation.

13. Start building an inspiration book

Sit down and think about what inspires you. What sparked your best ideas? Keep an ongoing list of your creative ideas and thoughts that will ignite your creative flame. It doesn’t matter what you put into your inspiration book. It’s simply a place where you can reference past views and feelings. Keeping such a book handy when you’ve hit designer’s block is just what you need to break out of it.

14. Take a nap

Sleeping on the job is frowned upon in most cases, but when it comes to designer’s block, naps are a good thing! It’s draining to just stare at a computer screen in hopes that creativity will spark. So, what should you do when you’re feeling drained? That’s right, let your dreams do the work. Some of the best ideas come out of the state of sleep. Regardless, whether you have an inspiring dream or not, you’re going to wake up new and refreshed. So next time you’re blocked, sit back, relax and catch some Z’s.

15. Stay positive

It’s always easier said than done. Staying positive can be tricky when you’re an inch away from giving up. Just remind yourself this happens to everyone. Instead of getting discouraged, look at your struggle as an opportunity. Relax, take a deep breath and smile. A breakthrough is hiding somewhere, you just have to figure out how to find it.

In conclusion, designer’s block is unavoidable. Accept that it’s just a temporary part of the creative process. You never know, your next breakthrough could be Spreadshirt’s next best seller!

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