We have all seen beautifully designed websites, cool looking apps and slick ads. When I look at these, I often admire how creative they are and how talented the designer(s) were that did the work. It got me wondering – what do designers do now to constantly maintain a level of enthusiasm, creativity and just sustain an overall energy that allows them to come up with great ideas and fantastic art?
Waaaay back, and I do mean a really long time ago, when I was a graphic designer, I would occasionally feel “stuck” while working on a project – where nothing I concepted was hitting the mark. I found that going to the library (yes, a real library – not an online version) and looking through the beautiful photos in art history books, browsing graphic novels and just sitting in the quiet area would really help to re-energize me and get my creative spark back on track. Is a trip to the library still a popular remedy?
I asked some of my very *favorite designers who I work with almost daily. They had a variety of responses, all really interesting and helpful if you’re experiencing a mental block in any field of work.
Andy Parker, our very own Lead Experience Designer, had this to say: “The web is the most ultimate modern library resource we have the fortune to access. I have bookmarked sites and ‘best-of’ showcasing sites but the best method I find is to capture the most popular and relevant design-related work is news feeds. For this I use everything from Flipbook, Pinterest (iPad apps) to Feedly.com. This way the content is served to you and you are kept up-to-date on a daily basis.”
Some other tips and methods that could help:
– Explore: Sketching and doodling down everything that comes to mind. During this period there’s no right or wrong – only the goal of generating as many ideas as you can in the shortest possible amount of time.
– Read: Reading good design and UX books can often give you a new perspective or motivate you to try something new.
– Recharge: Just walk away. Take a walk, go do something completely different to gain some temporary distance.
– Listen: One of our designers is also a musician so sometimes he takes a break to play his guitar. If you don’t play an instrument, that’s ok. Just listening to good music (whatever that means to you) can really help get you going.
– Communicate: bounce ideas of a friend or fellow designer. We do this a lot at Mediabarn. It doesn’t have to be a formal meeting involving a white board, it could be a phone call or a quick meet up for coffee
– Educate: Although not all conferences are created equal, they can be a good way to motivate and inspire you. Networking is always a plus at events as well.
In general, constantly coming up with new and innovate ideas can be tiring. Trying some of these tactics might help you regain your creativity and avoid the all too common burn out.
*Special thanks to Andy, Sarah, Scott and Patrick for your thoughts.