How to stay inspired as a designer
Being a graphic designer in the Philippines, it really sucks to lose motivation. It’s akin to seeing the light of the end of a tunnel, which dims as the seconds pass by. Now, the good news is we can overcome losing motivation. Does this mean you should go on a sabbatical, though? Einstein, for instance, worked a menial job in a patent office. Interestingly, that was also the time when he got the idea about special relativity. In this article, we’re going to break down the concept of creative blocks. We’ll also give tips on how to overcome them, so you can skip happily to your desk and work again.
What are creative blocks?
Essentially, creative blocks hinder a person from accessing their creativity. Great artists from centuries way back have fought them with blood, sweat, and tears. Some have successfully defeated them, while others have unfortunately succumbed to them. Anyone who works with rigor— writers, poets, graphic designers, programmers, and definitely scientists— can have creative blocks. They can last days, months, or even years. They occur because of psychological, environmental, or individual factors. And, if left unchecked, they will snowball into creative blocks.
Types of creative blocks
There are different types of creative blocks. Some of them truly cripple a creative, while others are still manageable. Do you have any of these creative blocks? Start identifying them and take action before it’s too late.
1. Psychological issues.
Psychological problems can both be the cause and effect of creative blocks. In other instances, an individual simultaneously deals with creative blocks and mental illnesses. The most dangerous aspect is when people fall into Depression. One way or another, they might turn to substance abuse.
2. Organizational barriers.
Organizational creativity can be attributed to a team’s creative efforts in an organization. That’s why an inefficient and unpredictable workplace can also become a block to your creativity. As a result, a company must eliminate its creative roadblocks in its organizational structure, which might be hindering an individual from innovating.
3. Overjustification Hypothesis.
Whether you like it or not, you are both driven by external motivations (salary, recognition, etc.) and internal motivations (passion, personal values, etc.) This is why despite having more of the latter, you might often fall victim to Overjustification Hypothesis. This is the overwhelming fear of criticism, which paralyzes an individual from doing creative work.
4. Habitual blocks.
According to Santosh MS, habitual behaviours sometimes block creativity. They might be holding you back from truly tapping into your creative potential. Despite them being imperative to developing skills, they might also hinder you from thinking differently, which is quintessential in creativity.
5. Perceptual blocks.
Similarly, your own perceptions might also block your creativity. How you see the world might be caging your mind, which you need to free to let ideas flow abundantly. Psychologists call this “Functional Fixity”, which blocks an individual from breaking free from their predisposed beliefs.
How to overcome your creative blocks
When a client is planning to hire a graphic designer, they are expecting outstanding results. This might put pressure on you, letting you focus on the small things instead of fixing the root issues in your work. So, follow these tips to overcome your creative blocks.
1. Stop focusing on your weaknesses.
It’s important to acknowledge your weaknesses; nevertheless, this is a double-edged sword. At the same time, you might also second-guess yourself. As a result, stop focusing on your flaws, failures, and weak points—instead, allocate your attention to your strengths. You’ll never move forward if you keep facing the wall and not the road ahead.
2. Work on changing your environment.
Your environment will inevitably affect your motivation. So, why not break your routine and get out of your comfort zone? If you work in an office, why not ask your boss to let you work in a coworking space this week? Or, if you work at home, why not plan a few weeks of working on the beach? A change of scenery, people, and routines will give you fresher perspectives.
3. Create a realistic schedule.
Ahead of any project, it’s crucial that you set realistic deadlines and agreements. This will free you from the pressure of living up to your client’s unrealistic expectations. Ask yourself: “Am I definitely certain that I can finish this logo by Friday?” To be sure, know the scope of the project, your habits, and your workload. After that, set realistic work periods that suit those aspects and meet the deadline.
4. Take responsibility of your lapses.
This doesn’t mean you should blame yourself though. However, it’s crucial that you practice accountability and stop blaming your girlfriend, your pet, or your family. You might have developed habits that allow you to procrastinate or settle on mediocre work. The good thing about taking responsibility is that you will take action to change or improve your lapses.
5. Do or say something different.
Remember the habitual blocks and perceptual blocks? The key to overcoming those is by doing or saying something different. Don’t be afraid to break the mould and explore unconventional routes. Either of those will definitely give your creativity a restart. Remember, not every design problem requires the same old solution. So, for you to think like a problem-solver, practise by opening your mind to novel ideas and activities.
6. Just. Keep. Working.
Finally, the most important advice we can give you: never stop working. Geniuses, great artists, and brilliant scientists didn’t create great work because they waited for a bout of inspiration. They arrived at success because they kept on working until they produced something great. So, stop waiting for your muse to arrive—chances are, she’s at a vacation and you’re left to your own devices. Start working now!
Being designers, our creativity is our bread and butter—not our jobs or our gigs! Therefore, it’s important that we protect, nurture, and sustain it. If you need help with creative work, we can help you with that. Here at Design Empire, we know that creativity requires work. So, what do you say? Let’s get working.