Writer’s block is a term many are familiar with. It’s when a creative process slows down, or new ideas become impossible to produce.
The phenomenon is not exclusive to just writers, however. Anyone in the creative industry can experience it. Some take more time, while others can solve the issue quickly and get back to producing their work.
From a designer’s point of view, the lack of new ideas could also be a result of not seeking different sources of inspiration.
Sticking to traditional methods has its advantages, but a change of pace could be exactly what you are missing at the moment.
Let’s take a look at some of the best inspiration sources that you can go back to if you ever feel like recharging your creative batteries.
Nature is the go-to for many. Not only do you get out to look at various landscapes, but being in the great outdoors also comes with the benefit of getting away from your usual routine.
A breath of fresh air encourages your brain to come up with new ideas, so there is a bonus that comes with spending time in nature.
Of course, designers who live in cities might have a hard time accessing remote nature areas, but that should not be something impossible.
In a sense, traveling is similar to going outside and experiencing nature. You change locations, and there is no telling where that can lead to.
Different types of traveling also offer different opportunities for inspiration. You could explore local areas that you would not be able to reach on foot.
Or, as an alternative, you could travel abroad to a country that has an entirely different culture or climate. It is about experiencing new things.
One thing to note about traveling, though, is that if the journey is going to be long, you will need to record it since remembering everything is more or less impossible. Not to mention that a moment of inspiration that strikes you might disappear later.
Some of the best ways to take your experiences with you back home include:
- Taking pictures: You can use a professional camera or a smartphone since the latter also has excellent cameras these days. Though be mindful of the storage if you take too much media.
- Filming videos: Depending on what you want to take away from the journey, filming videos might be the best option. You can go back to rewatching the best bits later in a video format.
- Drawing mockups: If you have a notebook with you and prefer a more traditional approach to drawings as a reference, then go for it. One disadvantage of this, however, is that you might need more time than just taking a picture.
If you have a site that you use as a portfolio or just to upload various things, you could also try that. Accessing Wi-Fi while traveling should not be an issue.
The idea might be interesting as a side project to start while traveling. You can get to some simple coding via Notepad++. Or, if you are on macOS, there are a fair few Notepad++ for Mac alternatives.
Lastly, other than taking visuals, you could also consider creating a simple text document on your laptop and writing down the ideas there.
It is easy to miss inspiration in our everyday lives. Take shopping, for example. You go to a store and do not bother looking at how the groceries are labeled, how the packaging looks, and so on.
There is a lot to be learned if you pay attention. And it is not just grocery stores. Boutiques that sell antiques could be an excellent source of inspiration, just like jewelry shops and anything else you might find.
It is not just about the interior, by the way. Looking at the architecture for a bit could also lead to some interesting ideas. When you walk past a building, you usually do not pay attention to its architecture if it does not stand out. However, even simple things can inspire you, so you do not ignore the idea.
Friends and Family
Some graphic designers lead a solitary life while focusing on work. The lack of social interaction is an advantage when you have nothing but work on your mind.
Things change, though, once the routine becomes too much to handle. You need to change by meeting with other people.
It could be a simple meetup with friends at a coffee shop or a dinner with your parents. The goal of this exercise is not necessarily to find new design ideas but rather to break the monotony.
Doing so could be the thing to get out of the creative slump. Someone might drop a hint that leads to finding a solution.
Events that you can visit in person are probably better than those you can view online, but both ideas can work so long as you get something from it.
The design ideas can range from simple mockups and visuals to ready-made products. Think of the likes of Apple releasing a new iPhone model or Sony with a new PlayStation.
These events tend to be grandiose because major corporations are revealing popular products. Nevertheless, you can still focus on the visuals and how they present everything and take that for your work as a graphic designer.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and other less popular social media platforms present you with what feels like endless content that you can scroll through.
You can pick social networks that are known for visuals in particular. Pinterest and Instagram are the standout options out of everything at the moment.
Content pieces by both amateur and professional artists are often the go-to source of inspiration. And since the content is published on social media for free, you do not have to worry about paying for it.
Note, though, that you might fall in the rabbit hole of going through as many designs as you can, and instead of creating something original, you will end up with a design that infringes copyright. Be careful about that.
Perhaps a not-so-conventional method and one that comes to mind right away, artificial intelligence is taking the world by storm, and that includes the design industry.
You can find the internet full of various AI-generated images, designs, and other content. And while it is still relatively simple to tell if something was created by AI, there is no telling how far it will advance in the future.
As far as inspiration sources go, you have two options. The first is to feed ChatGPT some prompts and ask the tool to give you ideas.
The second is to find an artificial intelligence tool that specializes in creating visual content and give it instructions on what you are looking to create.
Naturally, you will not be using the generated piece, but it might give you some ideas of how to approach and overcome your struggles.
Movies, TV shows, animation, video games, and any other types of media that come with visuals often give ideas to various content creators, including designers.
Mediums excel in character models, backgrounds, various objects, and so on. You are free to enjoy the media as a fan but do not underestimate how useful it can be to consume it from a professional point of view.
You do not have to work in the same industry as the media you consume. For instance, playing video games and finding inspiration from them is an option, even if you are not in the gaming industry.
Sit in the comfort of your home and scribble away in your notebook or take notes on your laptop to delve deeper into a piece and deconstruct it after you are finished.
The struggles of coming up with fresh ideas as a graphic designer are to be expected, particularly when so many markets are oversaturated.
Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for fresh ideas, and it is up to the designer to come up with something that is different and works.
If finding inspiration for new designs is something you find challenging, the ideas mentioned in this article ought to push you in the right direction, so be sure to make the most out of them.