10 fun ways to cure a creative block!


Every designer knows the feeling. You have spoken to the client, you know what they want, you’ve created a clear brief, you know exactly what you need to do, but you just can’t come up with an idea. Instead you find yourself surfing through endless design portfolios looking for inspiration that never comes.

You have a creative block!

Well, here are ten methods that I have used to clear a creative block, starting at my least favourite ๐Ÿ˜‰

10: Exercise.
Get outside, breathe some air, go for a jog, or a long walk. Take at least an hour outside in the fresh air doing something that gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing.

9: Go for a swim and see how far you can swim underwater.
This is a technique that athletes sometimes use to clear toxins from their muscles, and is just as effective at clearing all the coffee residue from your gluteus maximus after sitting in front of the computer for 50 hours straight.

When you hold your breath at the same time as exerting yourself, your body quickly uses up all of the oxygen in your muscles. When you finally come up for air, the new clean oxyginated blood is quickly pumped through your muscles which also clears out a lot of toxins. It’s a bit like an oil change.

8. Clean your desk.
It’s a well established fact that it is harder to concentrate when you are working in a clutter. If your desk is too messy to deal with, get everything off it and put it behind you so you can’t see it. Give your self a nice clear shiny empty desk to make yourself feel like you are organised, professional and ready to create a brilliant design.

7. Feng Shui your office.
This is a step further than clearing your desk, but it can make a huge difference to your state of mind, and the process of thinking about how your office should be arranged is in itself a great creative stimulator. Check out some ideas here: http://www.thespiritualfengshui.com/office-feng-shui.php

6. Eat some fruit salad.
How long since you had a really healthy meal? Treat your body to some vitamin and natural sugar. The brain is driven by the same sugar that is found naturally in oranges and other fruit. It’s a great way to kickstart your cerebral cortex and clear that block.

5. Meditation.
One of the best lectures I ever had at university involved lying on the floor, with my arms by my side, and imagining that I was floating on a cloud. (I fell asleep, but felt great when I woke up). You can find heaps of cheap meditation cds around the place, but basically;

  1. Lye down straight on the floor.
  2. Flex your toes, then relax them. Imagine that they are sinking into the floor.
  3. Flex your feet, then relax them. Imagine that they are sinking into the floor.
  4. continue with your ankles, calves, knees etc until your whole body has been relaxed and is sinking into the floor.

4. Practice your life drawing.
Go and find some paper, and a pencil. (Just in case you’ve forgotten what a pencil is… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil), sit down in front of something, anything doesn’t matter, and draw it. Do some of the old drawing techniques you might have learnt in art class. Don’t look at the paper, just at the object, do a sketch without taking your pencil off the paper, try just drawing the negative space. You might find that the creative part of your brain kicks in while you are concentrating on the sketch. Try changing hands to engage both sides of your brain.

3. Smoke some drugs. .. just joking… ๐Ÿ˜‰ drugs are bad. Don’t do drugs!

3. Music.
Lye down for half an hour in a quiet room with your headphones, and listen to your favourite inspirational, feel good play list. If you don’t have a favourite inspirational, feel good playlist, make one. Find 10 songs in your music collection that makes you feel happy and motivated. Keep these songs in a play list handy for next time you need to pick yourself up. (Le Miserables is pretty good)

2. Talk about it.
Go and find someone to talk to about the project. Bounce some ideas around. Even if the person you speak to doesn’t have any ideas, just talking about it can often break the mental blockage and get things moving.

1. And my very favourite, Crayons!
Get a big piece of paper, and some colourful crayons and start brain storming. Write down all the words that relate to the project, sketch all the icons that go with the words. Make it big and messy, and use lots of paper, and eat chocolate cookies with a glass of milk.

Note that none of these solutions revolve around your computer. The first thing to do in any creative block crisis is to stand up from your desk, and walk away from your screen.

Have you got some other ideas that work for you? We would love to hear them. Leave us a comment.

21 thoughts on “10 fun ways to cure a creative block!

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  4. hay i was linked to this site by web designer depot.
    good stuff
    I scream when i have a block. yes very loud actually.
    it makes me feel a bit crazy but it kicks is some genius inside me ๐Ÿ™‚

    (my wife hates it)


  5. Man, I need to feng shui my brain and my house and live a zen life with just my laptop, some fat headphones and a Robert Rich CD collection, then I’ll be unblocked again.

    Good list, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Might try the swimming thing sometime…

  6. #8 Clean Your Desk is one I use all the time, but I extend it to everything in my line of sight. Removing all the visual noise removes distractions and makes room for new ideas, while the mindless task of cleaning and organizing gives your conscious mind time away from the project and allows your subconscious to play. I guess that second part is also #5 Meditation. ๐Ÿ™‚

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