Whatever your craft, we all sometimes get stuck in a creative rut. Many of us eventually break out of it. But of course, it’s never soon enough.
All too often, the mistake we make is to keep doing the same things we always have. Hopefully these pieces of unconventional advice for graphic designers will keep your from digging your creative hole — or at least help you get out of it quicker.
1. Learn the principles of storytelling
The best designers and visual artists understand that many of the ideas behind delivering a good story directly apply to their craft. Most designs either augment a story, as in the case of most marketing applications or tell it. Stories actively engage the brain and make presentations all that more memorable. Understanding how to craft visuals that amplify this experience can go a long way into making your designs truly remarkable.
2. Work outdoors
If you work indoors all the time, try mixing it up a bit by working outdoors when the weather turns a bit warmer. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll find that you often get a different perspective on how to solve different design issues. At the very least, try working anywhere else than your usual haunts. You might find that you will see things a bit differently, even without trying.
3. Learn a new discipline
Better if it seems unrelated. I say “seems” because all nearly all knowledge — especially courses offered in an academic setting– is related in some way. Taking up classes in cooking, martial arts, or another language can help break up the monotony of design tasks and help you discover a different angle to your work. If nothing else, you might be able to find a niche that combines both design and your newfound discipline.
4. Never assume everyone is familiar with the design process
We often make this mistake when talking to people outside of the creative industry. This often results in avoidable misunderstandings, not to mention tears of frustration. Fact is, design is a thankless field, and no non-creative will ever understand it how frustrating it can be. We all know this at some level, but few of us ever bother to truly internalize it. Even fewer have defined strategies on how to deal with it.
5. Get a pet
Not only will having a pet help you deal with stress, owning one can help instill a sense of responsibility. You get things together or they suffer. Owning a pet can instill a sense of commitment that will translate into your work ethic over time.
This one is definitely not for everyone. Caring for another life is a huge responsibility. Think about it long and hard before you decide to commit to one.
6. Learn sales
Most trained designers are unable to make a living out of their craft by themselves. This even holds true for those who have a background in marketing. A firsthand knowledge of sales can help designers better understand key concepts in commercial design. It could even help your career by giving you insight into how to deal with clients.