8 Ways To Keep The Creative Juices Flowing.

Every designer experiences a creative block at some point or the other in his career. Creative professionals are often influenced by  circumstances such as family issues, conflicts with loved ones, and stressful situations at work. Unlike other 9-5 office workers, we shoulder an entirely different kind of pressure, and our achievements are directly proportional to our creativity.
W constantly struggle to think differently from others and keep our clients satisfied. Here’s how you can keep yourself inspired all the time:

1. Work out regularly

I put this at #1 because I think it is the most important for mental productivity, especially for designers. Sometimes, when we get stuck on projects, sitting in front of monitor won’t get us any solutions. The key is to go out and get some fresh air when you need to come up with new ideas. I personally like jogging, and I do it 2-3 times a week, 10 kilometers every time. You don’t need too much exercise – just enough to refresh you mind and liven up your mood. Moreover, while you are letting in new ideas, your body enjoys the benefits of a workout. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?

2. Read a text book or a novel

Here in Hong Kong, I meet many designers who have the same problem – they are too lazy to read. Most designer tend to read only design reference books, thinking that looking at striking pictures will give them more ideas. But in my opinion, this is partially right and partially wrong. Yes, the reference books are very important to keep yourself updated with design trends and concepts but reading other texts helps us cultivate imagination and  interpretation skills. As we imagine the sceneries, emotion, and even the aromas via the text, our horizons broaden and new ideas make way into our minds. [imageframe width=630 height=428 pattern=”0″ align=”left”]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/4390723511_3311145167_z.jpg[/imageframe]

3. Look at graphic/picture references

If reading a text book/novel trains the creative side of our brains, then reading design reference books sharpens our practical designing skills. I bet most designers would be stuffing piles of design books in the their book shelfs. My only advice to them is: Keep flipping them!

4. Try Gardening

When we work in front of the monitor for long hours, our eyes go dry and our concentration gradually starts fading. Looking at fresh, green plants in a great way to soothe the eyes. Gardening  helps calm our nerves after hours of continuous working. Another up side of planting green stuff in and around our office/home is that our working environment gets more oxygen, which is good for our brain too. [imageframe width=630 height=428 pattern=”0″ align=”left”]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5261/5639341119_aa4fab2de4_z.jpg[/imageframe]

5. Be a chef

Instead of dining out at a fast food restaurant, try cooking at home. Cooking is fun and a great problem solving practice too! Try different cuisines, and add your own elements and ingredients to the recipe to create something new. This will definitely fuel your creativity energies.

6. Listen to alternative music

Luckily most designers love music, and most of us love the indie band, alternative music rather than radio pop. Music is the kind of language that fills us with inspiration, and somehow accelerates the flow of creative juices. Another practice is to play a musical instrument, which is a great way to relax our brain. If you can sing, all the better! I personally like to play the guitar and sing along after few hours of working. [imageframe width=630 height=428 pattern=”0″ align=”left”]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5129/5265397860_61244b9ca6_z.jpg[/imageframe]

7. Day dream ( do nothing )

Don’t underestimate the power of day dreaming. Day dreaming is the  time when you mind welcomes extraordinary thinking, not limited to design, but all kinds of interesting thoughts. In my practice, after I get a creative brief, I read it thoughtfully and spend some time on my couch mulling over it. It not take long, 20-40 mins should be enough. When I go back to work after my daydreaming session, I find that I am full of new ideas.

8. Share

The Social Networking boom brings us an unprecedented convenience to share our works with our circle Sometimes, we are forced to be a part of the network, where we can easily find the works of others’  through many designer committee websites, and find references for our projects at a lightening speed. At the same time, our works continue to be an inspiration to other designers. This is an entirely new way to keep the creative life moving forward, and within a circle, it somehow seems like we’re monitoring each other, which definitely pushes our quality of work up due to this invisible kind of pressure. Today the most famous designer networks are Behance.net, Coroflot and Deviantart.


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