A Marketer’s Secret to Overcoming a Creative Block

In marketing, the way to your customer’s hearts is through their eyes, and ears too. 

Each image and video you post influences the rapport you build with them. Visuals have therefore become the most crucial components in marketing. 

You need visuals everywhere from your ads to social media channels. This is not a luxury but a necessity to engage your customers and retain their attention. It has become so overwhelming that 36.7% of businesses find it challenging to consistently design interactive visuals for their marketing. 

For graphic designers and marketers exploring the world of design, there is always something new to learn. The moment you learn and adapt to the evolving design trends, there are more new ones in the queue. To create engaging visuals you need to be up to date with design trends and know how to appropriately use them to help strengthen marketing strategies. 

Creative blocks are real. Feeling the lack of inspiration is real. It all depends on how you tackle the situation and find your inspiration again. At any point, if you find it difficult to squeeze out creative ideas from your brain, here are some ways to find inspiration again. 

Creative Block: The One Big Hurdle in Designing Visuals

A creative block is when you feel like there is suddenly a wall that has popped up between you and your ideas. Everyone in the creative field comes across this hurdle now and then. 

The triggers for the creative block can be different but the result is always the same – you find it hard to create new designs or you simply do not find the inspiration to proceed with the design project you are currently working on. 

Identify what caused this lack of inspiration so that you can eliminate the trigger before you work on ways to get inspired again. 

  • Was it work stress? Then work on your time management skills and incorporate productivity tools that let you schedule your workday effectively.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with having to revise the design repeatedly? Step back a little. Take some time to understand the design requirements one more time. Evaluate if you have grasped the objective accurately. 
  • Overwhelmed with thoughts? Having too many ideas is not very different from having no ideas at all. Look for ways to calm your mind before you sit down with your design project. 

Visuals strongly affect buying behavior and color alone influences nearly 85% of consumers. So, your mind should be clear so that you can concentrate fully on your design and pay attention to these little details that influence the impact your design creates. Here are 9 effective tips from the Kimp team on ways to cut back on mental clutter and find inspiration after a creative block. 

‘Creative’ ways to feel creative again

Kimp tip #1: Get away from your gadgets for a little while 

According to the popular American typographer, Gerard Huerta

“When you are stuck, walk away from the computer and draw, it will teach you how to see.” 

Electronic displays meddle with the rhythm of your brain. Allow your brain to relax by stepping away from the screens for a bit. 

Sketching is known to be the most effective way to stimulate your brain and reignite those creativity cells. Sketching on your iPad does not count! Grab a pencil and paper and draw anything – it could be something that first comes to your mind or just a random object in front of your eyes. By the time you place your pencil down your brain is sure to be generating a lot of new ideas. 

Sketching on an actual paper can have a strong influence on your perspective and sometimes a fresh perspective is all it takes to overcome a creative block. 

Kimp tip #2: Allow yourself to get bored 

If you did not know already, boredom sparks creativity. Being bored means that your brain is devoid of thoughts and you have absolutely no idea about what to do next. 

Think of those times you wait in your office printer room with nothing but the whirring sound of the machine for company. Do not rush to grab your phone during such moments. Instead, allow yourself to get bored because when your brain has nothing productive to focus on, those little ideas that your subconscious mind has been holding might finally start coming out. 

Boredom is also the antecedent of daydreaming which in turn is another great cure for a creative block. 

Kimp tip #3: Acquire the art of daydreaming

English author Neil Gaiman, while talking about boredom and about writers getting their ideas said, 

“I think it’s about where ideas come from, they come from daydreaming, from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there…”

Daydreaming has become a lost art as almost everyone has a personal electronic device always in their hands. There was a time when people could not carry their communication device or their entertainment gadget with them. As a result, they had brief spells when they had nothing to do and so they drifted into daydreaming mode. 

As your mind floats away from reality, you start coming out of your creative block. Letting your mind wander would, therefore, be a great way to stir up your creativity. 

Science says that daydreaming occasionally can make you better at solving problems. Your design block could sometimes be due to a small glitch in your design. Or sometimes it is because of the workload piling up. In such cases, daydreaming or letting your mind virtually wander to a different location might be just what you need. You will be able to come up with a better solution for the design problem in your hand. 

Kimp tip #4: Get into the habit of creating mood boards

‘Moodboarding’ is a skill that every designer and marketer will benefit from. Sometimes, you find it hard to come up with a design mainly because you have too many inputs and too many ideas. In such cases, creating a mood board can be a great start to your project. 

A mood board is simply a physical place where you gather all your ideas for the projects and the visual elements that you currently have for the design. This could be things like the color palette chosen by the client, brand logo, and preferred fonts. 

When you have all the ideas in one place, you will be able to come up with a theme or even look for a different perspective. You can always keep adding doodles and notes about new design ideas to this board and cross-verify before you freeze the design. 

So, if you are not using mood boards already, try using them for your next project. You will also see that creating a mood board saves you a lot of time. 

Kimp tip #5: Learn to be OK with making mistakes 

Sometimes you might be trying too hard but still, mistakes happen. The fear of going wrong might be stopping you from taking that one small risk or trying that one new idea. Being afraid of mistakes can be a trigger for creative blocks. 

In the words of Scott Adams, the famous cartoonist who gave us Dilbert comics, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” So, it is alright to make mistakes, you would not know whether the idea would work unless you actually try. Sometimes you might find the best ideas from the mistakes you make. 

Instead of hesitating to move forward due to the fear of failure, try, fail and then try again. No design rulebook will be able to give you that knowledge you gain from actually experiencing new challenges in design. 

Most graphic designers and marketers are risk-takers, they work on a design based on the inputs the team has and based on what’s best for the brand. Though initially, the design process is objective, the resulting design is subjective as different people look at the same design from different perspectives. 

So, when you create a new design, there is an inherent risk of not earning the viewer’s approval. But still, you go ahead and take that risk by putting your heart and soul into it. Keep up that risk-taking mentality and your designs will surely stand out. 

Kimp tip #6: Get crafty  

Have you heard about the “15% time” concept that 3M adopts? It is the organization’s philosophy that lets employees use 15% of their regular work hours to indulge in something creative. Employees are allowed to let their imaginations run wild and tinker with something or create something totally new and unrelated to 3M. 

You might be surprised to know that many of 3M’s best-selling products today were actually ideas born during the 15% time. The idea for Post-It notes, the ubiquitous office essential, also came up during one such creative indulgence. 

So, use your hands and create something. Allow yourself to come out of your regular job and create something totally irrelevant to the design project at hand. Even something as simple as creating a Lego model counts. 

Kimp tip #7: Dim your lights for those lightbulb moments 

Did you know that dimming your lights might give you a creativity boost? Having a bright light shining on your face might keep you awake but your brain might not be in its most creative state. 

Some studies indicate that a few people find it easier to come up with innovative ideas in a dimly lit room. Perhaps that explains why most of us see creative ideas gushing in and keeping us awake after dimming those lights and going to bed! 

This idea might not work for all but it is worth a shot. However, be sure that you do not try this by the end of the day when you are already tired and sleepy. Or you might simply doze off leaving your design hanging there. But yes, there is also the chance that you wake up with a whole new idea. 

Kimp tip #8: Allow yourself to start all over again 

Sometimes, you feel trapped in one particular step in your design and find it close to impossible to take your design from there. When this happens, it is alright to start over. 

You do not have to trash the design and redo the whole thing with your deadlines right in front of you. All you have to do is, look at the design from a fresh point of view. 

Take a closer look at the design brief but this time, look at it like you are seeing it for the first time. Try to understand the objective of the design project and come up with an idea all over again. 

And now when you approach the problem at hand, start with a mood board, if you do not already have one- you will have more inputs for your board this time. With this, look at your current design once again and check if you could make any small changes to it in order to make it more in line with the requirements. 

Once you feel inspired by trying one of these little ideas, you can always look for design inspirations from magazines, your previous design projects, or even by simply taking a better look at the client’s website or social media pages. 

Kimp tip #9: It is alright to outsource and find a new source for design ideas 

If none of these ideas seem to help you come out of your creative block, it is alright to seek help. After all, it is about what’s best for your brand. Working with a design team can help you acquire a fresh perspective on graphic design altogether. 

You will find it refreshing to have those new creative inputs flowing in. Since you already have a foundation for your design, the design team can pick it up from there and build on it. You get to save time as well. And if you choose an unlimited graphic design plan, as an added advantage, you gain access to an endless reserve of fresh designs from a dedicated team. For marketers, this can be a huge plus. It gives you more time to focus on your marketing strategies by leaving the design tasks to the design team. 

And When Nothing Else Works, There Are Unlimited Graphic Design Services Like Kimp

With the growing demand for visual content in marketing, the demand for graphic design has been growing steadily. So, if you feel overwhelmed by the ever-increasing demand for graphic design, it is alright. 

If nothing seems to work, look for some inspirational quotes that can cheer you up. Simply accepting that you have a creative block and allowing yourself a short break would be the most pragmatic thing to do. So, the next time you feel like you have no access to your idea reserve, try one of these little tricks and see if they work for you. 

Or better yet, let a professional design team take over while you focus on the other marketing activities. Skeptical about outsourcing design? Sign up for a free trial. Cancel anytime if you do not find it suitable for your requirements.