6 Tips to Get Those Creative Juices Flowing

6 Tips to Get Those Creative Juices Flowing

Despite carving out a career as a graphic designer I still find myself, at times, struggling to move forwards in a project. This period is the dreaded ‘creative block’ and is the sworn enemy of graphic designers all over the world.

No matter how hard you try, sometimes those ideas just won’t flow as freely as you’d like. And, yes, you will feel like giving up and getting a job stacking supermarket shelves, but just relax and be calm. You see, there’s an intriguing number of ways to get back on track and have ideas tumbling out of your noggin in no time.

Let’s take a look at my 6 best tips for sparking creativity.

  1. 1. Brainstorming

The number one way to get your creative spirit back on track is with brainstorming. It’s been used since the year dot and will continue indefinitely as it’s incredibly effective.

If, for example, you’re designing some packaging for a new brand of muesli then all you would do is get a blank sheet of paper and write MUESLI in the middle of it. It’s then time to play a bit of word association by generating associated words from MUESLI and then splitting these off into associated tangents e.g. Muesli – bowl – placemat – spoon etc.

Even if you’re suffering a severe mind block you’ll still find that this method leaves you with a page full of ideas in next to no time. Sure, many of them will be pretty useless, but it’s likely that in amongst all the dross there will be a gem of an idea to inspire you.

  1. 2. The Random Word Technique

Creative block often comes about because you’re not concentrating on the design aspects that you should be. This lack of focus means that your brain is probably missing a blindingly obvious solution to the questions raised by the design brief.

One of the best remedies for this is to try the random word technique. This involves taking a random word – usually selected by flicking through a dictionary – and then introducing it to your project.

Say you’re still working on that Muesli packaging, but no ideas are coming. You pick up a dictionary and quickly flick to random page and point at the definition for lampshade. Now, a lampshade probably isn’t going to enhance cereal packaging, but by considering how you could work it in to the project you’ll break out of the repetitive and fruitless cycle you’re currently in.

  1. 3. Head to Google Images

Working purely with your imagination sometimes isn’t enough; especially when the modern age assists us with so many easy and free tools.

Google Images is probably the best source to head to for inspiration. Just type in a keyword for what you’re working on e.g. “Muesli” and you’ll suddenly be presented with page after endless page of related pictures.

And I can guarantee that there will be pictures in there you wouldn’t have considered in a million years, but will kick start your creativity in seconds.

  1. 4. Chat to a Graphic Design Buddy

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas then don’t hesitate to speak to your graphic design buddies about it.

By discussing the project and the problems you’re experiencing they may be able to offer some feedback on how you can move forwards. This isn’t letting someone else doing the work, so don’t feel as though you’re cheating. Everyone needs feedback.

Also, by going through the project with another person you may inadvertently come up with a new solution due to this new outsider’s viewpoint you’ve assumed.

  1. 5. Research Your Market

A lack of ideas can often stem not from a lack of creativity, but more a lack of understanding about the project.

Maybe you don’t truly understand the target market, so why not interact with them? By talking to the people you want to engage you’ll begin to discover more traits in their character that you can appeal to.

And this knowledge will provide you with a whole new realm of ideas to work from.

  1. 6. Take a Break

My final tip is to simply take a break from the project as the stress created by creative block can be counterproductive.

The last thing you want to be doing is working on a project whilst your head throbs with the stress it’s causing. Take some time away from the project and come back to it with a fresh outlook.

You’ll find that this often allows you to look at it in a new perspective and suddenly discover that killer idea to get it off the ground.

Next time you’re caught up in creative block just try giving these techniques a go and I’m pretty certain you’ll soon have a page full of killer ideas!



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