Whether you work from home, as a freelancer or as part of a creative team your success as a Graphic Designer hinges upon one thing; your creativity. And in order to keep the ideas fresh, fast and coming you need to take care of your motivation levels. When you’re feeling the pressure it can be hard to stay motivated, but with discipline, a little time and attention to the way you work, you can help prevent your inspiration from drying up.
Naturally, each individual will find their own way of working, and you should listen to yourself when it comes to finding out how to get your creative juices really flowing – here are a few thoughts and suggestions to help you on your way.
Create your space
Like Virginia Woolf and her own room for writing, you need a space in which you feel comfortable, secure and inspired in order to do your best work. Whether that means organizing your desk space to your tastes or building your very own home-office, take the time to think about developing an environment that’s conducive to creativity.
It’s important to set yourself deadlines and targets for your work, but keep them realistic. One of the most common reasons projects fail or turn out to be disappointing is when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Keep your goals manageable – and reward yourself when you achieve them.
Find your flow
Some people are at their most creative first thing in the morning, and find the earlier they start work the more they achieve. For others it’s late at night when inspiration usually strikes. Take the time to understand your work flow cycle and try to give yourself the space at these times to think.
Do your homework
Get as much information and facts on each project before you even consider opening your sketchbook. In the classic guide A Technique for Getting Ideas by James Wood Young, he suggests indexing your findings on a card carousel so you can quickly access and flick through information. Learn as much as you can, and then do your best to forget it. You may be surprised by how quickly your imagination can become ignited by a project when you aren’t forcing an idea.
Escape the office
Escaping your nine-to-five environment is one of the best ways to keep your motivation levels high. Take a walk, climb a hill or go for a run – simply getting out and about and enjoying some exercise will clear away the cobwebs and you’ll feel refreshed and re-invigorated when you’re ready to return.
Ignore your peers
This may sound controversial, but if you’re someone who is always comparing yourself to others around you, try taking them out of the equation. Focus on your workload, your priorities and your imagination. We’re not suggesting you should completely ignore the work of other people, but if you can give yourself space to think without the benchmark of more successful peers in the back of your mind you’ll find it much easier to concentrate on your own progress.
Meet your peers
The flipside to the above is to make use of fellow graphic designers and draw on the example and inspiration they can offer. It can be helpful to talk to other designers who have gone through the same highs and lows of life in the creative industries. Listen to their coping techniques, source out new work opportunities and get involved in your local design scene – by being present in your sector you’re more likely to feel spurred on to action.
Keep your tools to hand
Next time you see a six-sheet you like, a random piece of type on the train or want to take a quick sketch of an interesting passerby don’t let the opportunity pass you buy. Always keep your sketchbook, smart phone or scrapbook with you to collect random thoughts and musings as they happen. Often these golden nuggets can flourish into some of your best work yet.
Whether it’s a gallery, a play a movie or a gig, take every opportunity to broaden your horizons by attending cultural events in your area. Motivation hits a high when you’re developing new ideas and solutions, so enhance your imagination-bank with plenty of rich and stimulating activities.