Idea block is the natural enemy of the web designer (that along with escaped tigers and David Hasselhoff tunes).
What do you do when the idea for your next brilliant assignment just isn’t pouring out of your head like an industrial drum of Mrs. Butterworth pouring syrup over your project’s fluffy pancakes?
If the idea well has runnith dry, here are are a few tips on how to get the inspiration ball rolling:
1. Have an Open Mind
Where would Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant be without the influence by Chinese propaganda posters? Ideas are everywhere and sometimes inspiration comes in the least likely places, like at the Department of Motor Vehicles or under the surgeon’s knife while getting that reconstructive nose procedure. Be a keen observer because ideas are all around us. All you need to do is think outside the box. (To start, eliminate cliché sayings like “think outside the box.”)
2. Don’t Exclude Ideas Because They Were Created by the French
The French have come up with many fine ideas, such as French Fries and rioting on the streets. Don’t exclude them from your idea inspiration. In fact, embrace the art of mime until you get an idea for your next project.
3. Let Your Brain Storm
If you’re shooting blanks in the idea department, find a friend, relative, vague acquaintances, Mrs. Buttersworth, priest, or rabbi to bounce ideas off. It’s a great way to flex those creative muscles. As a real good cerebral exercise, riff on such aspects as theme, concepts, style and/or techniques. Maybe use your hobbies or background as a starting point and build from there. Remember, in a brainstorming session, no idea is a bad idea. If life gives you idea-less lemons, make idea-full lemonade.
4. Check Out Design Forums for Community Support
Get the discussion going. Be amongst others who know what CSS stands for and check out what other web designers are up to (those crafty buggers). Reply to comments and get some advice on how to execute your creation. Subscribe to discussion blogs to help connect with the like-minded idea-creating community. If you’ve hit a creative brick wall, post your thoughts and see who hits you back (idea-speaking).
Quick Note: Never accuse others in the design community of channeling your thoughts in the middle of the night. They will have your banned from the forum rather than provide you advice.
5. Surf Design Sites
You can travel around the marvels of the design world, all with a click of Google. Check out acclaimed design sites from all over the world and see what other people are up to (those crafty buggers). For instance, here’s a good resource.
Marvel at the ones with really long, tedious flash intros. If you’re still having idea-block, then surf for sites that have photos of pets wearing sweaters.
6. Do Treat Yourself to a Hot Fudge Sundae
Yes, after you overcome idea–block and master a new creative design project, do take the time to treat yourself to a hot fudge sundae. You deserve it! And remember to high-five those around you.