Ever gazed at Sketch or Photoshop for hours, drew lines and shapes only to undo them, opened 50+ tabs for inspiration but still stuck at where you started? Happens with every designer out there.
Here are few tips to overcome your creative block and get going!
1. Ask, ask, ask
Going through the same problem over and over again only blocks our thinking. If you feel you can’t find a solution for the problem in hand, then it is time to have a design discussion with fellow designers to get helpful new insights.
I have seen many good designers around me hesitant to hold design discussions. They spend hours together browsing through Dribbble and Behance but don’t ask peers who sit right next to them. Trust me, asking around for opinions doesn’t make you less of a designer. No one is going to judge you. So, shed out those impediments and get to work!
2. Do a Mind Map
This is one of the most helpful ways to build solutions. Just put your core topic/problem in the middle and start listing out everything that comes to your mind about that topic/problem. It doesn’t matter if it is relevant or irrelevant. Just don’t stop listing things out. Once you write down everything, start marking those areas requiring concentration. Now you have a starting point to proceed further.
I did the above mind map for the keyword ‘vacation’. Going further and further deep in the topic brought different perspectives and fresh ideas.
Paper Sketch is THE best friend of a designer. Many times, we do a mental sketch of our idea and start creating it on the system. But the problem is we get biased with that one design we had a mental model of, and forget about all the other good options.
Sometimes we think sketching is not necessary for the simple problem at hand. There are also people who think ‘I am not the sketching kind. I just open Sketch and bleed’.
Either way if you don’t try bringing your ideas on paper, there is no way to understand the magic it can do.
So never hold back from drawing out the silliest of your ideas because there is absolutely no one to judge.
I did the following paper sketches for the keyword ‘Vacation’. After finishing the exercise, I had good elements in each design that I could combine and make one best design.
4. Take a break
I play a crossword game on my mobile. There, few alphabets would be jumbled and listed from which the answer ought to be formed. I sometimes get stuck in one word and keep staring at the screen for hours together. At one point, after I get frustrated, I quit the game and continue with other work. After few hours or the next day when I reopen the game, surprisingly the word that I would be stuck earlier with, comes to me within seconds.
Same thing goes with design. Keep stressing out on the same problem again and again and you will end up with nothing.
Just take a break, focus on something else, listen to good music, watch comedy, relax and then come back to your problem in hand.
You never know, you might be able to solve it!
5. Find inspiration
No problem is brand new. Somewhere someone like us (with hard to please clients) would have faced the exact same thing. Just use those good old research skills and try to find best practices.
6. Revisit your archives
Do you create headers and filters every time you work on a new dashboard? If your answer is yes, now is the time to stop it. It is a good practice to create charts, infographics or other reusable items once and have a template of it. It will come handy when you are in a hurry.
Sometimes when you are stuck, you could go back to the archives and find something that you can reuse. Just try it!
Hope next time you have a creative block, you know where to start! If you like what you read, do leave generous claps and follow me!
Thanks a lot, priyanka palanikumar for proof reading and being my thesaurus.