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Overcoming Creative Blocks as a Graphic Designer

Get Your Creative Juices Back and Be a Better Graphic Designer!

A writer goes through writer’s block. A painter can spend hours staring at his empty canvas. A professional chef gets derailed by the pressures of his job and loses his focus, passion, and love for cooking. Graphic designers are no exception. Sometimes, you’ll feel like you’re losing your mojo in the middle of a photo editing project.

No worries. That happens. What’s important is what you do when that happens.

How do you jump-start your creativity again so you can come up with fresher and original designs? How do you climb out of the creative rut you’ve suddenly found yourself in?

mad graphic designer

Find fresh inspiration.

Go beyond your usual sources of inspiration and look for new, unconventional ones. Remember that inspiration can come in any form. On the internet alone, you can find many stimulating ideas. You can find even more in real life—on long walks around your neighborhood, on your daily commute, from the people you talk to and interact with in real life. Even common, everyday items like creative paper cups, cereal packaging, or other household products can give you inspiration, especially if they’re the customized kind.

The right kind of inspiring content is just out there—you just need to recognize it when it comes. And once you find it, you need to capture it. Take note of the provocative ideas you find by keeping a record of them in a journal or in a digital folder.

Learn from your community.

There’s so much you can learn from your fellow graphic designers. Look at their portfolios and take inspiration from how they have executed their ideas and even where they themselves take their own inspiration. This doesn’t mean you should imitate what they’ve done though. In graphic design, like how it is in any other field, originality is of prime importance. How good you are depends on how original and out-of-the-box your ideas are.

But you can, however, allow yourself to be inspired by others’ work. For instance, taking a look at their work allows you to figure out what approach you want for yourself and which direction you want to go.

Take advantage of tutorials.

The world of graphic design is a constantly changing arena. What may be “in” now may be “out” later on. What’s fresh today may be stale by tomorrow. Even if you’re already a professional, the technologies and trends that run your industry and push it forward are always being updated. Thus, if you want to keep yourself and your own work on strong demand, you must keep up with the times. Tutorials help you learn what is new in the industry and teach you tricks you can use in your profession.


Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Simply put, your own view of the world widens and improves when you venture outside your native patch of earth—beyond what you know and what is familiar to you. Exposure to other cultures and gaining a broader worldview can rejuvenate one’s creativity like nothing else. It can also revive your thirst for life and passion for your job.

Go easy on yourself.

If creative blocks could be resolved by simply focusing and concentrating hard, then nobody would be going through such lags in the first place. Sometimes, it pays to take a step back from your work and stop pushing yourself so hard—if only for just a moment. Watch a movie. Visit a museum. Read a book of poetry. Distracting yourself for a couple of hours or so and directing your concentration somewhere else can help you relax. You will find that it is when you are relaxed and easy that inspiration strikes.


A creative block is a normal phase that happens to everybody who works in the creative field. When was the last time it happened to you? What steps did you take to remedy it that are not steps mentioned above?

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