How Pepperplane deals with a Creative Block

Designers and illustrators experience moments where it seems like there is no new and fresh way to solve a design problem. We, as creatives have all been there! 

At Pepperplane we have figured out a couple of effective steps that are useful when going through a creative dry spell.

We investigated these creativity killer topics and discuss how we go about side-stepping them:

  1. Pressure
  2. Tunnel vision
  3. Research
  4. Influences

1. Overcoming creative pressure

When a deadline is looming and the page stays blank, all you can think of is that dreaded date moving closer and closer. Multiple causes can be contributing to this creative pressure: procrastination got the best of you; the deadline is too close; the work load is overwhelming; the project or client is intimidating. The power lies with you to be prepared, plan ahead, do your research and tackle the project in full force

Our tips:

  • Schedule your diary in such a way that you have enough time to calmly think and reflect on the work at hand. 
  • Get started as soon as possible. The sooner you start activating those creative juices, the better. 
  • Plan beforehand not to have too much on your plate. Each project needs your full and undivided attention. If the project is flexible, discuss the deadline with your client. I’m sure they would appreciate your concern. 
  • Divide the work into manageable chunks and tackle each one in a productive manner. Lists sound old-fashioned but they are definitely effective. Build the solution one block at a time.
  • Inform your client of your progress. This will help you set goals and will make your workflow much smoother. 

2. Solving those tunnel vision moments

Tunnel vision is the loss of visual acuity in the peripheral visual field. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut if your attention is focussed on one constant. Creatives need to spread their wings, explore different design alleys, escape they’re comfort zone and look further than the task in front of them. If your work tends to focus on completing the same task type repetitively, it’s easy to fall into the tunnel vision trap. At Pepperplane we work on a lot of branding and website design. It’s an ongoing practice to consciously make every project and every design piece 100% unique. Avoid becoming a cookie-cutter designer that defaults to applying the latest trends to every design. Create your own trends!

Our tips:

  • Investigate what and whom you are designing for. 
  • Spread your wings and look beyond the problem at hand. Turn the page around and create other paths to solve the problem. There are loads of different streets and routes to get to the candy shop. 
  • Avoid getting stuck on generic solution, dig a bit deeper to find that unique design edge. Creating your own solutions will make your project 100% unique. 
  • Move away from what you’re stuck with and start from scratch. This will clear your mind and bring forward new angles from which to tackle to problem. 
  • Create your own style and trends. That’s the fun part!

3. Focus on doing thorough research

Taking the next step can be risky and frightening if you have no idea what you’re going to step on. Getting started on a project without knowing where the end is or how to achieve the goal can lead to an instant creativity block. Research is the fuel to side-step this predicament. The more you know the more ammunition you have to fight the problem and find the solution. Knowledge is key. 

Our tips:

  • Gather as much information on the subject, client and problem as possible. 
  • Explore different research methods. Have interviews and discussions with the target audience. Setup questionnaires. Create product mockups and test them with the end users. 
  • Collect and showcase the data to support your work. There’s nothing as valuable and solid as numbers and statistics. 
  • Make connections between your gathered information to start building and planning the best route towards the design solution.  

4. Dealing with influences

The internet is a wonderful platform with endless possibilities and magical probabilities. The key is to make use of the internet in the correct manner. The outcome of a quick Google image search usually showcases the most cliché and overused results. It’s easy to simply imitate a style or layout when under pressure. Don’t be caught in the copy-paste trap. As mentioned before, maintain the practice to make each design piece 100% unique. 

Our tips:

  • Find an alternative source of inspiration. 
  • Grab that pen and paper and head out to a new environment. Refreshing your surroundings can do wonders for new and unique design ideas.
  • Step away from your screen and draw hundreds of small, quick sketches or layouts. Once you think you have a winner, make 50 more sketches. 
  • Work through the research and gather new ideas from there. 
  • Sleep on it. It’s an effective way to give your thinking some space and switching your brain into that creative gear. 
  • Provide time for thinking when planning the project. 

Get those creative juices flowing!

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