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Design Blog

4 Awesome Ways to Deal with Designer’s Block

Trevor McWilliams
Trevor McWilliams on Aug 1, 2016 11:57:01 AM

We've all been in there – we're working hard on a design project and all of the sudden the ideas and inspiration vanish from our minds. This tragic time during the design process is known as designer’s block. Designer’s block is something that everyone tries to avoid, but at some point, it's going to happen to you. Learning how to cope with this tragedy is of utmost importance for getting back on track to the finish line.

Here are 4 awesome ways to deal with designer's block when it happens to you.

Listen to Music

designer's blockWithout music, designer’s block is inevitable for me; I simply cannot design without it. Music is a constant flow of art and different thoughts flowing into your brain, and with songs changing every three to four minutes, with a new style for each song, you aren't stuck thinking the same way for long periods of time. Music also affects the brain chemically by releasing dopamine – the chemical that controls your motivation and feelings of reward. Therefore, higher dopamine levels equal more motivation to work on the project.

Be careful when choosing your music type, though – if you're designing something for children, it probably isn’t the best idea to listen to heavy metal music because the tone of the design may not resonate with children the way you want.

Take a Walk (or some other type of break)

You've been sitting at your desk staring at the same computer screen for multiple hours when your brain suddenly goes to mush. Don’t panic! Try getting up and taking 20 minutes to walk around the block. This is to clear your mind of the project with a change of scenery. New things to look at and new sounds to hear will trigger different thoughts and ideas that you wouldn't have gotten by staring blankly at a computer screen and waiting for an idea to jump at you and scream, “Here I am!” Let’s be honest with ourselves – the chances of that are very slim.

Also, if your timetable allows for it, take a few days off from the project that's giving you designer's block. This will empty your head of all the clogged thoughts, so when you go back to the project, it will essentially be like looking at it with a fresh set of eyes.

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Get a Change of Scenery

Looking at the same white wall or computer screen for hours on end will not spark any new ideas, especially if you are already in a lost state of mind. If you don't have time to step away from the project for a change of scenery, a wonderful thing about the 21st century is that just about every coffee shop has free Wi-Fi – so why not utilize that asset? Changing your work environment brings new things to look at and therefore opportunities for new ideas. However, know yourself – if you're going to be distracted by everything that is the "real world," going to a coffee shop may not be in your best interests. Instead, try a library or working in a different area of your building.

Search the Web for Inspiration …

Great ideas may not always jump into your head when you first get the instructions for a project. Luckily, the internet is a portal filled with inspiration. Searching the internet for ideas is a great form of brainstorming and as long as you don’t directly steal someone else’s work, it isn’t plagiarism. Rather, it's a quick and easy resource to get the creative juices flowing. Having designer’s block before you even start the project is something you must avoid, and the internet is a great way to ensure that it doesn't happen to you.

Shameless plug: If all else fails, and you are unable to get your stroke of genius, hire a designer such as myself.

Tags: design