No matter how “creative” my job requires me to be, I continuously find myself struggling with a designer’s version of writer’s block. Any artist could attest to the fact that you can’t force art – now, I’m not saying that I’m a bonafide artist or anything, but I would say that the same principle goes for creative ad design. You just can’t force it.
Of course, looming deadlines don’t really care about a person’s creative spirit—and so sometimes, “forcing it” is exactly what we all must do to succeed.
Over the years, I have perfected forced creativity. My method? I wait until the last minute and then adrenaline kicks in, I pull an all-nighter, and in the morning there’s something presentable to pass along.
But seriously, there are things that I have learned that can help force a little creative “genius” in a moment of need. Check out my top 4 and then add yours to the comments below!
1. Block off time – and block off more than you need.
I’ve found that it helps for me to literally block off time on my calendar to complete an artistic project. I for one have at least an hour of every day blocked off for creative work, and when need be, I will block off an extra 30 minutes of buffer before and after in order to allow for brainstorming and breaks. Frankly, I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could sit down and work for a solid hour. By adding in cushion for dilly-dallying, I feel less pressure and am able to get more work done.
2. Put in your headphones and turn off your phone.
If you’re like me, you cannot focus when there is chitter chatter around the office or the phone is ringing. That’s why the gods of music invented headphones. I make sure to have a pair around for creative emergencies. Find a soothing song (try Aqueous Transmission by Incubus) and put it on repeat. It’ll become background noise and you’ll get more done.
3. Work during your most effective hours.
After a few months in the working world, most people can tell when their most effective hours are. For some, it’s right away in the morning. For me, it’s between 4:30 and 6 p.m. – maybe I just get distracted easily, but I work best when no one is in the office. If I know I have a creative project that needs to be completed, I’ll save it for my peak hours.
4. Don’t be afraid to Google.
I am a firm believer in “Googling” for inspiration (I love that google has become a verb). I’m not saying you should directly plagiarize someone else’s work, but I love doing a Google Image search to find unique shapes, color combinations, etc.
These are just a few of my tricks for getting creative. I’m sure there are about a million more! Add your tips and tricks to the comments below.