Creative block or lack of ideas is not something that is unique to designers; everyone deals with it at one point or another. However, as a designer you are expected to be creative for a large portion of your day, so when the ideas are not flowing it can add extra unwanted stress. So when creative inertia hits, what do we do?
Change it up! I will admit that I am a creature of habit, I like working in a certain way and in a certain location – it is comfortable. It can also lead to creative stagnation. Working in ways that are familiar and repetitive are not always conducive to being creative. So if you feel a creative blockage coming on try something different in your work process- ditch the computer and pick up a pencil, change your sketchbook, or just change your surroundings.
Sometimes we face creative blocks because we are relying on instant thinking. We want to have a good idea and we want to have it now! I work out problems best when I give them some time to breathe and gestate. Nobody can be a creative machine all the time, recharging your creative batteries is absolutely necessary. It is also ok to start out with an idea you are not crazy about and go through several iterations until you are happy with it – not every idea is going to be great from the start. Sometimes you just have to put in the time and work in.
The thing that has helped me through my creative blocks the best – moving on to something else. Sometimes when I am so focused on a design problem or trying to come up with something creative I get tunnel vision and it is hard to focus, let alone come up with something new and fresh. Stepping away and focusing on something else gives me a chance to come back to it later with a fresh perspective or have inspiration hit me at an unexpected moment. Just because you are not working on something directly does not mean that your mind will not wander back to it and solve it when you are least expecting it.
What works for you when dealing with creative blocks?