May 27, 2021

Creative Block, and 5 Ways to Get Inspired

It’s happened. You were doing just fine, flowing in your design and all of a sudden – CREATIVE BLOCK. The sudden shock of seeing nothing but an abyss of white space in your mind is now causing a rush of panic from your brain to your body. Suddenly, you can feel the impending doom of your once inspired piece – and what’s worse? This is a design for a client…with a deadline…tied to an income. This is it, you think. I’m going to fail as a designer. And you leave the project reluctant to return.

Now, before you drift this car – or in this case, car-eer, onto its exit, let’s offer you a couple solutions to get you out of creative block and back in the game .

Creative Block may lead you to discard perfectly good concepts.


Our bodies need oxygen, and it just might be that you are experiencing creative block because physically, your body is experiencing an oxygen block! Stretch, jog in place for a minute, walk around your place. Sitting for hours can cause your body to ache and moving physically will also help to move you creatively.

Taking a deep breath will help you battle creative block.

Bring out your idea book to battle creative block.

Get out your idea book. Your sketches. Past work. Portfolio. Look through all your ideas, even if it does not match the project you are on. The act of visiting another place of ideas will generate associations that ignite your creative core into producing multiple thoughts and connections which can then eventually lead you back to your original project – except now you have new perspectives. Creative block stands no chance!

Look at other people’s ideas.

Sometimes looking at other people’s work can help to spark creativity and end creative block. Whether it be looking at book in the library, browsing the local bookstore, or walking around the city – there is art everywhere! You’ll be surprised what pieces some stores will carry. If walking around is not an option, the internet is a vast world of artistic inspirations. Type in any kind of word, and hit images on Google search, and you will see lots of images that are associated to that word. Here is an example. The museum is another place to consider, with professionals sharing their pieces along with historical artifacts to get a look into how people of that era interpreted their world. How can it help inspire the piece you are working on? Museums, restaurants, stores also have some printed materials that are free for the taking. These can also serve as inspirational pieces. Lastly, look at what is in available in nature.

Take a break to cure creative block.

Maybe looking at the screen or canvas too long has given you creative block, and all you need is a little break from the subject itself. Set a block of time to relax and let go of what you are working on. Read a book, go take a walk, clean your room, organize your shelves, or talk to a friend or loved one. Maybe all you need to get the creative juices flowing – is not to think of creativity at all – but to live in the moment. To let yourself be, reflect on what you have and your dreams. You will be surprised how rejuvenated you feel when you allow existence to flow within you and recognize how nice it feels to take in a nice long, inhale and exhale.

Seek Critiques from Friends, Family or Network

Sometimes we need to see someone else’s vision or hear their perspective. When we’ve run out of our own creative juice, we can seek friends, family, or professionals in our network to give us a fresh view on what we were working on. You may even use pieces of their ideas and merge them with yours to eradicate creative block. Friends will give you a fresh perspective because some of them may have had experiences, thoughts, and creative pursuits different from you. This means they have insight that can add to your work. Family will have a new perspective too because of their own experiences and history. They also know you very well and may help to get you back into your groove. Professionals will help regarding technicalities, their experiences in your industry, and how to move you forward with your block.

All these will aid you when you are blocked. Whether it be taking a break or seeking advice, creative blocks are normal and can happen to anyone. Use these techniques the next time you feel you have reached a dead end and you are sure to see a new road appear before your eyes.

Curious about a career in graphic design? F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Graphic Design and Web Development program allows students to launch their art careers in just 11 months — on campus, or online!

Article by Marianne Catangay, Graphic Design & Web Development Instructor at F.I.R.S.T. Institute