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5 Graphic Design Tips To Cure Creative Block

There is no worse feeling in the world than staring at an empty canvas, waiting for inspiration to strike. Creative blocks can be confusing, frustrating, and demoralizing. As fellow creatives, we understand how tough it can be to overcome this hurdle. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five graphic design tips to help you find that inspiration. Here’s how you can cure your creative block and let your masterpiece come to life!

1. Tap into your inner child

As adults, one of our biggest flaws is the tendency to overthink. Many of us want to draw that inspirational piece that immediately gets everyone’s attention. However, this is the very mindset that can keep you from making designs in the first place.

Step outside of your world for a minute and jump back to your childhood years. Many kids can find inspiration in even the most mundane things. Take a page from them and try to simplify your designs or make something that appeals to you.

Pic from Mariana Malhao

For example, the picture above is from Portugal-based designer Mariana Malhao. Known for handling all kinds of projects, including jewelry and ceramics, she let her inner child take over to make a fun coloring book. As demonstrated above, it’s important to remember that graphic design can be fun when you let your imagination take control.

2. Look back at the classics

There’s a reason why classics never die. Even after centuries have passed, a classic piece always finds a way to resonate with the crowd. That’s why paintings like the Mona Lisa and Sunflowers still draw a reaction.

If you want to overcome the creative block, try to look back at classical pieces. Famous paintings and images can get the wheels in your head moving to create something new. You could even make your own interpretation of a classic piece!

For instance, graphic Chelsea Majuri made her own interpretation of Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. She made fifteen booklets, each one containing one of the essay’s chapters, then added her own repeating designs to express Benjamin’s writings. Out of the box? Sure. Fun and creative? Definitely!

3. Do something mundane

This might sound counterintuitive, but one way of getting out of the rut is to jump into another one. Weird, right? However, the reality is that we can be so obsessed with finding something special. Remember, standout pieces can sometimes emerge from the most unexpected places.

To get your creative juices flowing, try to do something boring and mundane first. Chores like washing dishes or vacuuming the floor take little thought to do. Ironically, it’s because of this boredom that your mind will begin to wander around. Soon, you might strike gold without even realizing it!

Door Hinge by Gilbert Legrand

For example, this impressive piece was made by Gilbert Legrand. The French artist often makes amazing art pieces from mundane objects, including the door hinge you see above! That he could make that from something as ordinary as a door hinge definitely highlights his imagination.

4. Embrace Failure

Sometimes, the reason why you can’t seem to make something new is because you are afraid. You might be worried that your next piece only sounds good in your head, and that it’ll fall apart by the time you get around to it.

Here’s the shocking truth: that’s part of the process! As funny as it sounds, many people have failed their way to success. Making a brilliant piece of art doesn’t happen with the snap of your fingers. Sometimes, it takes hundreds of unsuccessful attempts to finally design a masterpiece.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki

For example, did you know that the famous logo of Amazon, as shown above, is not its first design? The very first design chosen was that of the Amazon River, symbolizing vast knowledge and intelligence. Later on, the design was changed to black wordmarks, with the O being golden to symbolize the world.

It’s current symbol now represents the company’s vast resources, having everything from A to Z. Clever marketing, but even without the subtext, most people recognize the company but its logo. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

5. Rest your mind

Did you know that brains can’t run at 100% all the time? Shocking, I’m sure, but it’s easy to get caught up in work or in our goals. Sometimes, you put your foot on the gas pedal so hard, you’re running out of fuel. Remember that you need to take a step back and refresh your mind before you can keep going.

The best way to rest from a creative block is to keep it out of your mind completely. While it is frustrating to find inspiration, you won’t do it if you keep obsessing over it. Take time to relax and breathe first. Sooner or later, you’ll find that inspiration.

The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon album
Source: https://www.domestika.org/en/blog/3292-stefan-sagmeister-7-key-works-on-graphic-design

For example, world-renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a yearlong break every seven years. Not only does he stop designing during that time, but he even closes down his studio. For him, the idea of working nonstop for several years until retirement, or even after that, is dangerous. Given that he designed the iconic cover for The Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon album, as shown above, one can see how his rest has helped!

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Brandon Sellers. (2023, Jan 16). 7 Graphic Design Projects to Cure Your Creative Block. Medium.

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