Lets face it. Sometimes there is nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper to a designer. The situation is that you’re stuck and have a huge task at hand. You have to create something and it must be your best work, better than whatever you have previously done. The problem is that your mind is as blank as the piece of paper in front of you. Your design is stuck and lucky for you I may be able to help if you read on.
The reason you’re in this position might be because you have not followed a design process. For this I recommend an excellent article by Jacob Cass on the logo design process of top designers on justcretivedesign.com. Though it’s focus is on logo design, I find that it can work for just about any design project.
Now, if you’ve tried to follow the process and still feel like you cannot come up with a good design concept, then welcome to my world, the population is now 2. That’s right, this is a situation I often find myself in. But do not worry my friend, I have been to the edge and back.
So here are some tips that will hopefully get you inspired and help you get the wheels in motion:
1. Reduce the clutter
It’s hard to focus when you can’t put a piece of paper on your desk because there is no room. So reduce the clutter, remove old papers, Cd’s, folders, coffee cups and yesterday’s lunch leftovers! Trust me, clearing up your physical space will help clear up your mental space. In fact while you’re at it, just do us all a favor and clean up your office (or room)! You’ll find that once you do this you’ll have piece of mind, your ideas will flow and you will be productive.
2. Feed your eyes
Sometimes it may be that your eyes have just not seen enough to get that spark of inspiration. Many designs are ideas inspired subconsciously by things we have seen before, whether we like it or not. They don’t just materialize out of nowhere. So feed yourself some candy, some eye-candy that is!
This is a good thing to embrace as you need to have seen good design in order to produce good design. I should explain that by design, I’m not specifically referring to websites, logos, or advertisements. I’m referring to art galleries, architecture, sculptures. To me, anything that is well made is inspiration.
Treat yourself to a day off, visit an art gallery, museum, or go to the city. There will be a flow of new creativity embedded in your mind, whether you’re conscious of it or not. If you don’t have the luxury of going out, then you need a new job. In the meantime you can subscribe to a design or art magazine. Here is a small list of my favorites:
3. Listen to music
Music is powerful. Try watching an epic movie without the epic music. Not quite the same eh? In fact it doesn’t seem epic at all. Music isn’t only pleasing to the ear, it creates a mental and emotional environment. It’s good to listen to music while designing for the same reasons it’s good to do so while exercising.
Try listening to the Rocky theme song “Gonna Fly Now” while doing something. Makes you feel like a champion doesn’t it? Well if that music doesn’t make you feel like you can conquer anything, then you probably haven’t seen the Rocky movie. Quite possibly you just have a different taste for music, so I guess whatever floats your boat will work.
If these things don’t work for you then I suggest you look for a local church, find the pastor and let him know you need a miracle. Just kidding! But seriously, these are things that work for me when I’m stuck, it may be different for you.
Feel free to give me your thoughts on this or just let me know what works for you. I wish you well!