4 Ways to Overcome Graphic Designer's (or Other Creative) Block

A Guest Post by Craig Scott

Craig Scott gives 4 ideas how to overcome creative blocks. Image credit: Stephen di Donato via Unsplash
Craig Scott gives 4 ideas how to overcome creative blocks. Image credit: Stephen di Donato via Unsplash


Again, meet the one and only, our good old pal - the Creative block! We all know the old guy, don't we? Especially when we need to get some work done, it is EXACTLY when he decides to drop in. And more often than not, he stays for longer than just a coffee break.


In today's guest post graphic designer and editor Craig Scott gives you four ways to overcome a creative block if you are a graphic designer. The principles can e applied to other creative professions, so don't run away if you're not a designer! You might be able to find something actually "clicks" ;)


Want to learn more? Read on!


What is Graphic Designer's Block?

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things for creatives is blockage. The feeling of being held back by the lack of ideas, where you just CANNOT think of anything.


The moment seems to last forever and makes any work frustrating. The mere idea makes me shudder.


By now you have probably heard of writer’s block, or maybe even artist's block. The fact of the matter is that many different types of creative blocks exist, and depending on your state of mind, there may be many ways to conquer whatever it is that is blocking your creativity.


In this case, we are going to discuss four different methods that may help you to defeat Graphic Designers Block. However, the principles can be applied to other creative professions.


1. Get to know your client

Spend some time on your client’s website.

Read their mission statement.

Ask them questions, and listen to how they speak.


People are so willing to tell you what makes them happy these days, and knowing the difference between what your client says, and what they mean can be two different things entirely.


If you know what it is that your client wants, then you know where to draw inspiration from.


Perhaps the issue in this case is that the instructions are not so specific. This is where the mission statement, and hidden text of what their brand stands for can be very helpful for you, the graphic designer. Tying your concept art in with a client’s mission statement is a fresh perspective for some, however be careful not to overlook any specific instruction given if you had received some. Any changes to specific requests should be discussed with the client BEFORE the graphic design process begins.


2. Cut out the cookie cutter inspiration

Similar to the way every famous musician or vocal artist has those who mimic the look and feel of their performances, many graphic designers look to the logos of work similar to what their clients are requesting for inspiration.


While in most cases there is nothing wrong with this approach, after one hundred or so logos are created, everything begins to have a reminiscent look and feel.


Just because your client is requesting a logo for their shoe store doesn’t mean the logo must be a shoe. Perhaps something like bare foot prints taking two or three steps, then the last two or three steps could be shoe foot prints that have walked in a line to underline the name of the store. It is this type creative vision that sell graphic art to your client, and your clients brand to their customers.


3. Relax and Revise

Perhaps all you really need is a break from what it is that you’re doing. Grabbing a cup of coffee, or watching a quick 20-minute sitcom if you work from home can do wonders for the creative work flow.


By setting your work off to the side for a moment while you remember to do human things, you are reminding yourself that you are not a drone. Staring at a screen or scrap of paper for too long can make you lose your touch.


When you return, take a deep breath and put the “pen to the pad” so to speak. Or the hand to the mouse. In any case, you would be surprised how many times a case of “artistic block” was actually just a case of “I need a break.”


4. Get Out and Run

I’m not asking you to do a marathon, or even one little mile.


Get up from your desk, physically go outside, and sprint 20 to 50 yards, turn around and sprint back.

Drink water, and then return to work.


Getting some blood circulation through your body revamps the brain waves. You will be astonished at what you might accomplish.


In conclusion

No matter the odds, we are all doomed to our dark hours of creative block. The trick is in keeping a positive mindset throughout the drought, and knowing that like all things, this too, shall pass.


Remaining confident in your abilities is a key factor to your success, and remember what you are capable of is the reason you are a graphic designer (or a creative) in the first place.


Have your say!

  • Have you tried any of the above tactics?
  • How do you deal with your creative blocks?
  • What are some of your favourite ways to crack the code?


Please share in the comments! And remember to tell your friends on social media!


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About Craig Scott

Craig Scott (right) - guest author of this post
Craig Scott (right) - guest author of this post

Craig Scott is the editor at Designrfix and writing about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects.


Check out Designrfix for inspiration, freebies, tutorials and other practical resources for graphic and web designers.


Apart from the cool stuff above, he loves to “unplug” and be outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach him, it’s probably because where he's at doesn’t have cell phone reception.


For more updates follow Designrfix on Facebook  and Twitter.



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