How Graphic Designers Can Overcome Their Creative Block and Get Inspired

How to Break Down Your Creative Blocks and Find Inspiration for Great Designs

I bet that you are a very creative designer. Everything you touch probably turns into a masterpiece. But, what do you do when you wake up one day and all of your creativity has disappeared? You woke up and all of a sudden you look at the Comic Sans font and it looks pretty good. Additionally, you decide to use neon orange for the color of your client’s brochure. Something isn’t right today. Your creativity has dried up.

What do you do, as a graphic designer, when you are completely un-inspired? What do you do when you need to draw up ideas for a design, but all your mind wants to draw is a blank? What can you do when you are hit with a serious case of creative block?

You need to jump start your creativity and find the inspiration that seems to be lost. You can’t force creativity, so what do you do to get it back? Hopefully, this article will help you find answers to this serious problem.

(1) Go Do Something Else
This is usually the solution to the problem. Step away from your computer and find something else to do. Anything else will do. Just get your mind off of that darned project and you will feel better. Some ideas that I’ve heard work:

Exercise to Release Those Endorphins.
The best thing that you could do is exercise. Taking a walk will normally work for me. While you are walking, you have plenty of alone time to collect your thoughts and work out your creative ideas. Furthermore, the endorphins created by exercising is a good way to break through creative blocks.

Take a Hot Shower or Bath.
I get my best ideas in the shower. I don’t know why my ideas come out in the shower, but my guess is that a good shower releases endorphins.

Lay Down on Your Back and Close Your Eyes.
Lay down on your back, relax, and close your eyes. Let yourself fall to sleep. Sometimes when I am drifting off to sleep, my mind wonders and I come up with the best ideas. I always leave a notebook next to my bed for just this reason.

Have Someone Give You a Massage.
Ask your significant other or friend to rub your back, arms, legs, head, etc. If you don’t have anyone to massage you, find a company that offers massages and see if they can pencil you in for that day. A massage releases endorphins and will help you with your creativity.

Go Out and Get a Cup of Coffee or Piece of Chocolate
Maybe you could use a little boost. Go out to a coffee shop and get a cup of coffee and a sweet treat. Not only will this get you away from the computer for a bit, but the caffeine and sugar might perk you up a bit.

Have Sex.
I won’t go further in to this because this isn’t the right kind of site for that. However, it has been found that having sex can help relax you and helps you break the barriers of a harsh creative block.

(2) Get a Pencil and a Pad and Draw it Out.
This one almost always works for me. Get your pencil and paper out and start doodling. Doodling makes me feel like a little kid again and my creativity normally comes out. Stop thinking of your boss or your client and just have fun. Try to remember the enthusiasm that you had for art when you were a child and enjoy what you do. Forget all of the pressures that you have and let your creative juices flow. You can even get out crayons if it makes you feel more like a kid. Using paper instead of your computer might also be beneficial for reducing stress because it helps you to escape from the computer (remember : sometimes the computer can be daunting because the computer holds all of your customer’s emails, documents, and files … getting away from references to your client or boss can help a lot.)

If you want your paper sketches to feel more like a solid design, I suggest using a Sharpie marker instead of a pencil, pen, or crayon. The solid lines from the thick Sharpie tip, will make a bold statement and possibly help you to concentrate. A big Sharpie marker also helps you ignore the little details (since there is no erasing) and instead concentrate on the big picture. Read more about sketching with a Sharpie.

Start with your designs’ grid and layout the structure and page elements first. Don’t draw in the details, just get the essential shapes right. This will help you get the overall page structure right.

Read this article on brainstorming tips.

Read this article to learn how to think outside the grid.

Read more about graphic design grid systems here.

(3) Try Doing Something Unusual
Try to do things that you haven’t been exposed to before. The point here is to heighten your senses and to expose yourself to to things outside your norm and far outside of your usual routine. Listen to new music. Go to a movie or see a play. Read a book in a new genre. Visit a museum or store that you have never visited before. Go eat at a restaurant that serves food that you haven’t ever tasted before. Take a long scenic drive on roads you have never driven on before. As you are experiencing new things, try to be very sensitive to (depending on what you decide to do) different sounds, colors, styles, forms, features, elements of design, smells, etc. Let your body take in these new experiences and be open to letting them influence your inner being. Maybe your new experiences will help rekindle a sense of wonder that is integral to the creative process.

(4) Think Outside the Box.
Throw away your crutches and try new design ideas. When you are sit down to start designing, throw away the first knee-jerk reactionary idea that pops into your head. Your first idea is probably one that is created with your usual problem-solving ideas. Try to challenge what you already know and come up with new solutions to your problems. If you look at your design project in a new light and look at it from an entirely new angle, you might be surprised at the direction your mind will bring you to. You might find an entirely new style that you never knew was living inside of you.

(5) Immerse Yourself in Design - and Make it a Daily Habit
You should make it a daily habit to immerse yourself in design. Join our graphic design community (and other graphic design communities) (and other design forums) and participate in design discussions with other designers. Find your favorite design magazines, / ezines, and design blogs and read them on a daily basis. Find new design resources in our directory or at social networking sites and have fun learning about your craft. Buy books about design, colors, typography, or design software and learn more and grow as a designer. Have fun immersing yourself in the world of design. Take advantage of every outlet that you have at your disposal and try to find new ways to design beautiful layouts.

(6) Use Color as Inspiration.
If you have creative block, instead of coming up with the design elements, maybe you should instead focus on finding the color palette of your design. There are many ways that you can come up with a color palette. Here are some ideas for coming up with a color palette:

Emulate the Colors in Nature.

Unusal Color Wheels Found in Life and Art

Colors in Nature, Parrotfish Colorul and Helpful

Colors Found in Nature and in Interface Design

Inspiration Colors From Nature

Emulate the Colors from a Web Site That You Like.
There is an amazing tool that I just found today that I know I will use on a regular basis. I Like Your Colors allows you to type in a url and will pull the color palette from that site.

Create a Color Palette from a Beautiful Picture.
Utilize Flickr and other online photo sharing sites to find pictures with beautiful color palettes. For example…

Using a picture for color inspiration

I found the colors in the above picture to be inspiring, so I used that color scheme for a logo / web site design

All freelance work logo - for inspiration for colors from picture

Utilize Resources That List Beautiful Color Combinations.
I wrote this article a long time ago - A Guide to Top Color Combinations in Web Design : Examples of Color Schemes and Color Combinations Within Designs. It is one of the most popular articles on the net for using colors in design and I think it is a good article to bookmark and reference. This article includes many beautiful color combinations and lists other sites that do the same thing. There is also a site called Adobe Kuler in which you can browse and share color combinations from other designers.

Utilize Online Color Tools.
There are so many wonderful color combination tools that help you choose a color scheme for your designs. Below I have listed some of my favorite.

Color Scheme Generator - I think this is the best color combination tool on the net. It really gives you a lot of different options and all the colors that they pick look wonderful together.

Color Blender Tool - Pick a color value format, input two valid CSS color values in the format you chose, and pick the number of midpoints you’d like to see. The palette will show the colors you input as well as the requested number of midpoint colors, and the values of those colors.

Color Contrast Tool - Another great tool. Checkpoint 2.2 of the WAI guidelines requires that colour combinations created between foreground and background colours provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone with colour deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen

Visibone’s Color Lab - An interesting color picker and combination tool online that is very helpful.

I like Your Colors Tool - This tool will tell you what colors any page on the net uses. Type the URL of a page below and submit it to see what colors it uses.tool tells you the colors used on any web page.

More Crayons Web Color Palette - View your color palette in many different ways.

Pantone and Hexidecimal Colour Conversion Chart - If you are designing a website that needs to use the same colors as a branded image, then you will love this tool. The chart suggests digital (hexadecimal) equivalents for standard Pantone ink colours. This is not an official Pantone list of hex equivalents, and is not intended as a definitive guide.

Advanced Javascript Color Picker - A visual way to select RGB color for form inputs on a web page. You can choose colors from a palette of web colors, named colors or by using a RGB color slider.

Color Combinations - Here are some Color combinations that will help you in designing on the web. The Color combinations are displayed along with hexadecimal color code so that you can pick the color quickly.

Color Combo - If you would like to view all of your colors side by side, then this might be for you. A 4 panel, scrolling, side-by-side color combination viewer.

Color Library - Tried and tested color combinations that are listed on this great site.

Daily Color Schemer - Fresh colors schemes brought to you every day.

Web Color Schemes - Here are a lot of great color schemes taken from a variety of sources.

Lynda Weinman’s Browser-Safe Colors Organized By Hue- A large list of browser safe colors organized by hue.

Lynda Weinman’s Website Tips For Designers: Browser-Safe Colors Organized By Value (Lights and Darks) - A large list of browser safe colors organized by value.

Visibone’s Swatch Collections - VisiBone swatch collections are available for the following fine graphics packages available free for BBEdit, Canvas, Fireworks, Flash MX, GIMP, GoLive, HomeSite, CF Studio, Illustrator, ImageReady, Paintshop Pro, Photoshop, Painter, and TopStyle.

Just Mess Around and Play.
You can come up with the most beautiful color schemes by just playing around and have fun. Go to your local Home Depot or Lowes and pick up a bunch of color swatches from the paint department. Play color cards, just mess around and put cards together that you would never of thought to put together. You might be surprised. Even let your kids try to play, you never know.

(6) Become a Packrat.
Start collecting every design element that inspires you, whether that is a brochure, a leaflet, a logo, an illustration, a photo, or a web site. I suggest having a physical folder, a bookmarks file, and a digital folder. What do I mean by this?

Keep a Physical Inspiration Folder, Box, or Scrapbook.
When you see something offline that you find inspirational, keep it. Items such as cards, posters, leaflets, brochures, illustrations, photos, fabric, packaging, etc. Keep these items in a box, scrapbook, or folder, depending on how many items that you have found.

Keep a Digital Folder.
A digital folder is much more convenient, obviously. When you see images or designs that you like online, save them to a folder. Personally, I save inspirational items in categorized folders. Separating designs into styles is how I do it … such as retro, clean, youthy, modern, etc. But you can also separate them into colors, type, or by some other format. Whatever works for you is what you should do.

Use Browser Bookmarks or Online Bookmarking Services.
Using your browser’s bookmarks or an online bookmarking service is a great idea. The best part is that you aren’t taking up valuable space on your hard drive. Just like in your digital files folder, I suggest that you categorize your folders in a way that fits your personality.

(7) Take a Vacation.
Take a vacation away from civilization. Leave your ipod, laptop, and other technology at home. Bring a sketchbook, some art supplies, and sketch and write and let your imagination flow onto the paper. You will come back from your vacation feeling invigorated and full of new ideas.
(8) Copy for Practice
Artists have been copying paintings from the masters for hundreds of years in order to figure out how he did things with the tools he had available. Find designs that you feel are masterful and try to recreate them. If you have the time, try to find time to do this exercise at least once a week. Hopefully, by regularly designing the way that your mentors do, you will take some of their skills with you.

(9) Borrow Bits and Pieces
Of course you aren’t allowed to steal graphics, photographs or complete layouts, but you can use other designer’s work as a starting point for your own designs. If you are a web designer, this is especially easy to do. If you see a design that you like then use your browser’s View Source command to reveal the HTML and CSS code. Of course, you aren’t going to steal the layout or graphics, but you can play around with the design for a while until it naturally evolves and becomes your own. Remember not to go too far with this idea…just bits and pieces.

(10) Browse the Web For Inspiration
There is plenty of inspiration that can be found easily online. Last week I posted a list of design inspiration sites in which I did all of the searching for you to come up with this great list of sites that archive the best in graphic design, logo design, and web design. If you are having problems with creative block, this list of inspirational sites will get you through your next zillion design jams. I also listed these sites below for you.


Free LogoTypes - This web site provides you with an opportunity to discover the world of logos, brands and trademarks. However, besides being just a resource for “logotype fans”, the site is of a specific importance for designers and design studios that are involved in the logotype creation themselves.

Good Logo - This site is dedicated to the artform of the logo and its accompanied corporate identity.

Go Promos - Our stock logos are listed alphabetically so you can easily find your company or organization’s image.

Logo Blog : 56 Most Inspirational Logo Designs - Logos are one of the most creative elements of graphic art. These creative logos have a tendency to not only provide brands with essential recognition, but also ensure its success. In order to recognize the creativity behind these artistic visual identities, we at LogoBlog, have listed some of the best creative logos (though it’s not a ranking) in a random way. We hope that you will appreciate these creative logos as much as we do.

Logo Pond - Logo Pond is a great site for logo inspiration. You will just love this one.

Logo in Process - Watch a logo being designed and learn from the process.

Logomarket.com - designers present their designs to an interested public and to potential customers. The showcases contain both closed commissioned work and designs for sale at an attractive fixed price.

Logo Sauce - Gallery oozing with logo goodness. Find the best logos and find some good ideas of your own.

Logotypes Russia - More than 5000 logos available in EPS and Vector graphics. You need to impress creative director at agency X tomorrow. You think of a great campaign for their client X. You need the logo - and you need it now… Start looking here.

Logotypes - Archive of Logos.

Satlogo.com - The world’s radio & television channel logotypes and logotypes of satellite related entities.


Banner Blog - Banner Blog started in June 2005 to showcase online advertising, much of which goes unnoticed. It was also seen as a good opportunity to pimp our own work too!

Beautifully - Web design inspiration gallery with start base of thumbnails.

Best Designs - Best of the Best in Web Design

Best Web Gallery - Best Web Gallery is an inspirational gallery site where we collect a wide range of quality design websites (Flash & CSS).

Brain Fuel - A portal of inspirational and design resources

Coolest Designs -The best web sites directory

Cool Home Pages - The most popular portal to sites with exceptional website design.

Cool Websites - A gallery of the coolest websites.

CSS Based - CSS Based is a project providing web designers a gallery of well designed CSS-based websites from all around the world.

CSS Beauty - A gallery of beautiful designs on the CSS Beauty resources site.

CSS Bloom - A blog style CSS gallery.

CSS Collection - Gallery of naked sites, shed your tables and run free.

CSS Demo - A Spanish gallery of sites designed in CSS.

CSS Drive - Categorized CSS gallery with examples.

CSS Dump - A CSS web design gallery.

CSS Elite - One of the best CSS web site design galleries out there.

CSS Glance - CssGlance is the first italian website focused on providing its audience with a database of well designed and innovative CSS based websites from all around the world.

CSS Hazard - Showcase of the best of CSS web site designs.

CSS Heaven - Web design gallery for inspiration.

CSS Import - Yes, another CSS web design gallery.

CSS Liquid - Resisting Fascist design.

CSS Love - CSS blog and inspirational gallery.

CSS Princess - A site promoting female designers and showcasing their works.

CSS Vault - This site is useful for me as a designer and I hope that it is useful for you whether you are a designer, developer, programmer, manager, or just a CSS advocate.

CSS Reboot - he CSS Reboot is a community event for web professionals and enthusiasts. Every November 1st and May 1st at 18:00 GMT, Rebooters from all over the world launch their standards based website redesigns simultaneously; bringing traffic, interest and a little respect to their sites.

CSS Remix - A fresh blend of the best CSS Designs in Web Design.

CSS Showcase - A gallery of CSS menus and tabs.

CSS Tux - The best dressed sites on the web.

CSS Website - Css Website is an innovative gallery of simple websites. Its purpose is to showcase designer’s work and to expand the CSS design community. We propose a classification by color and contents for a better usability.

CSS Zen Garden - A demonstration of what can be accomplished visually through CSS-based design.

Daily Slurp - A dialy list of beautiful sites.

Design Crush - Web design inspirational portal.

Design Diary - An archived gallery of web art and design.

Design in Europe - A gallery of the most beautiful web sites in Europe.

Design Eye - DarkEye is a new breed of “˜living’ web design showcase. Browse thousands of custom web designs from designers around the globe. Rank and add comments on any design, then create a gallery of your favorites.

Design Licks - A showcase of some of the best web designs from around the world.

Design Melt Down - Great designs listed beside many great articles for better designs. Great resource for any web designer..

Digital Refueler - Your daily portion for creative inspiration.

Design Shack - A site offering the cream of great design, filtering through lots of the redesigns that occur every day across the Internet, and cataloging the greatest projects out there.

Digital Thread - Take a look at only the best of the best web site design firms.

Doble Pixel - Cool sites on the net (in Spanish but you don’t need the words).

Dreamer - Inspirations for the Mind. Portal of design inspiration.

Email Design Gallery - The Campaign Monitor email design gallery highlights the amazing email designs being sent by our talented customers each and every day. Clever aren’t they!

Favorite Web Sites Awards - Look no further than the FWA to find the best of designs to inspire you.

FaveUp - Design inspiration gallery.

Flickr Web Design Inspiration - A set of web design sites to get inspiration from on Flickr

Fcukstar Awards - Find inspiration on this design awards site.

Inspiration King - A site organizing the best web site designs in the world.

iStockPhoto Design of the Week Spotlight - This a great source of inspiration - they have these great designs listed in different categories including one for web design.

Light on Dark Sites - Enjoy sites that are on the darker side.

Misspato - Directory of Inspiring Web Sites.

Modern Day Billboard - Modern Day Billboard is a site that provides you with some of today’s most creative and inspiring websites on the internet. The styles you’ll see shall vary from different types of medium… CSS, AJAX, Tables, Flash, or Old school Frames as well as many others. Enjoy our site and if you have a creative site then submit it below. Thanks!

Moluv - The best of the best, if you will. These sites are all beautiful, innovative, functional, and consistent.

Most Inspirational Designs - Most Inspired aggregates designs from all the popular css and design galleries.

Newstoday - Awesome site for new and great work.

No Limit Media - A collection of the best designs on the Web

One Star Gallery - A new inspirational gallery for designers.

Piepmatzel - A unique gallery of beautiful websites…a gallery is filled with clickable thumnails of beautiful sites.

Plastic Pilots - Plasticpilots.com assigns awards to web sites featuring excellent design.

Screenalicious - One of the biggest web design inspirational galleries out there.

Screen Fluent - Zeitgeist of screen design.

Showcase Point - On PortfolioBase, you can see fellow portfolios from your industry, see how others have used that color that you like so much, see portfolios from your own country, and much much more.

Smashing Magazine Lists - Smashing magazine has great lists of inspirational designs including 50 Beautiful CSS-Based Designs in 200670 Expert CSS Ideas60 Elegant & Appealing Designs50 Beautifuul Web Designs 50 Simple Web Designs … 45 Excellent Blog Designs45 Fresh and Clean Designs30 Dark Designs83 Beautiful Wordpress Themes You Probably Haven’t Seen …and more.

Style Boost - Showcasing outstanding web sites.

Style Crunch - StyleCrunch is a css and standards websites gallery, you can find the best sites in the www, best design, best coded and what engine used.

Style Gala - A nice collection of beautiful web designs.

The Best Designs - A gallery of the best of CSS and web design.

The Dezine - There is a major difference between this inspiration gallery and the other galleries. This gallery is not just web oriented and definitely not tableless-standard-compliant web oriented. This gallery is design and innovation oriented. But besides the good looks, I will also count the innovative approach, usability and functionality.

Unmatched Style - Web design and CSS inspiration gallery in blog format.

Visual Designer - Another Inspiration portal - Find inspiration for your next design project.

W3C Sites - W3C Sites is a collection of web sites created by designers that conform with the W3C standards.

Web Creme - Best of the best web designs featured in this web design inspiration blog.

WebDigity -WebDigity is a css Gallery where all the best designs are displayed and new ones can be displayed. It has a forumn for interaction with its members.

Web Design Gallery - Inspire yourself to design better.

Web Standards Awards - See all of the winners of the Web Standard Awards.

Well Done Sites - Web design CSS gallery using Web 2.0.


Coolest business card designs Coolest Business Card Designs, Part I - Here are the coolest, most innovative business cards that you have ever seen. Here is Part II.

Best of Brochure Design Best of Brochure Design : Cool Brochures - These brochures will give you some artistic inspiration when you feel like you are out of ideas. I hope that you enjoy the

Cool Flyer Designs and Poster Designs Cool Designs for Flyers and Posters - Some of these flyers have cool textures, shapes, and some are even 3d-like.

Ad Classix - Vintage ads offer a fascinating glimpse of history and represent the archival documents of our consumer driven society. If you own a vintage or show vehicle, a print of its original publicity advertisement is the finishing touch to your investment.

Adobe Kuler - On Adobe Kuler you can browse and share color combinations from other designers.

Ads of the World - Ads of the World is an advertising archive and community showcasing the best and most interesting work worldwide.

ABC Typography - A virtual museum of typography.

Ad Week - Spotlight of the best creative ads. There are also a lot of helpful articles here.

ArtzMania - An art showcase from global designers. Get your creative juices flowing with this one.

Album Cover and Album Art - Flickr Collections of album cover designs and album art.

Best Rejected Advertising - A great idea for a site. Best Rejected Advertising was the first book to publish ads that had been rejected by clients on aesthetic, commercial or strategic grounds. This website broadens the original concept by including rejected, banned, spoof and most complained about ads and commercials.

Cary Graphic Arts Collection - Graphic arts library and digital image database.

CD Design - Creative Music (CDs and Albums) artwork and designs.

Cover Boom - See the most beautiful book cover designs.

Daily Input - A new blog about inspiration for graphic designers.

Design Archive Online - Review twentieth century magazine design and photography with biographical profiles of designers. A project of the Rochester Institute of Technology, the image archives have limited access.

Design Snips - A collection of snips of great designs.

DFCKR - DFCKR keeps tabs on designs on Flickr. This includes 28 wonderful inspirational photo pools found on Flickr which could be of some use to those looking for some inspiration including Magazine covers, Book covers, Posters, Typography and Lettering, One Letter (Typography), Vintage Advertisements, Illustrations, Vintage Illustrations, Vintage Christmas Designs and Art, Drawings, Sketches, Moleskine Art, Visual Scavenger Hunt, Art after Art, Pop Art, Graffiti Archeology, Contemporary Arts, Street Art, Retro Records, Retro Kid, T-shirt Revolution, Screen-printing, Post-it Ar, Paper Fetish, Graphic Designm Logos, and Character Design.

DimeStore Packaging - A gallery site featuring vintage dime store packaging.

Form Fifty Five - FormFiftyFive is a independent online archive of inspiring work in graphic design, illustration, photography, architecture, web and product design.

Graphic Arts - The Senate maintains a collection of over 900 historical prints and engravings. This collection contains a rich array of 19th and early 20th century images portraying the events, people, and settings of the U.S. Senate.

Graphic Design Archive Online - 20th Century Editorial Online Design Archive

Hand Format - Need more CD packaging design inspiration, then you cannot afford to miss this site.

Imaginary World - Archive of design packaging including cereal boxes, Food Packaging, Store Displays, Premiums, Newspaper Ads, and much more from 1950s-1970s,

iStockPhoto Design of the Week Spotlight - This a great source of inspiration - they have these great designs listed in different categories for ease of use including Advertisements, Annual Reports, Branding, Campaigns, CDs / DVDs, Covers, Editorial Magazine, POP, Poster, Product Packaging, Self Promotion, Video / Television, and the Web.

Kunst - The print collection contains prints and other art on paper, i.e. drawings, engravings, woodcuts within and relating to the subjects addressed by the Library.

Library of Congress Print Collections - Collections of prints

Medicine and Madison Avenue - This website explores the complex relationships between modern medicine and modern advertising, or “Madison Avenue,” as the latter is colloquially termed.

NY Public Library - The New York Public Library encompasses a specialized reference collection of over 15,000 volumes on the history of prints and printmakers; artist clipping files; and a collection of close to 200,000 original prints.

Off the Shelf - A Japanese packaging design scrapbook.

Old Ads - Old advertisements from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s

PDF Mag - pdf-mags.com is your infobase for PDF magazines made all over the world.

Pharmaceutical Designs - Beautiful Pharmaceutical designs from the 60s and 70s.

Phirebrush - Phirebrush is an online magazine (art group if you want) that displays user submissions in monthly issues. These submissions showcase visitor submitted artwork, photography, music, desktop wallpapers and writings of various styles. Unlike most art groups and e-zines, we let ANYONE submit, trying to showcase both the famous and beginners, giving everyone a voice and a chance in the spotlight.

Posters American Style - View major posters from the last century. Learn about their design, printing and historical impact on culture. Includes audio. Collection by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Progress PKG - You can find a variety of creative packaging designs in here, from CD packs to metal packaging. A very creative company who aim to be market leaders in the field of creative packaging.

Propoganda Posters - Over 200 political posters from years back.

RBird - A series of professional observations about package design practices within specific product categories

Swiss Posters - Take a look through The Carnegie Mellon University’s Swiss Poster Collection exhibit

The Art of Poster - Contains 5000 images and descriptions of posters.

The Die Line - The main source of packaging design inspiration. According to the webmaster Andrew Gibbs, he started theDieLine because as a packaging designer, he needs resources for research and inspiration. But he found none, so he set this site up dedicated to creative packaging design.

Tons of Conert Posters for Inspiration - We all like a little inspiration sometimes, and we all need some sometimes too. I like browsing concert posters or “informational art” as I like to call it. Pretty much anything goes in the world of poster art, so you never know what to expect (which is great) and it’s an area of the art/design world that is very rich on the visual side, not to mention the creative type treatments.

Tribu-Design - More than 900 designers and manufacturers… you can choose your browsing : Timeline, Designers or Manufacturers or go directly to the last added section.

Vintage Packaging Collection on Flickr - Take a look at these vintage packaging images on Flickr.

World of Spectrum - The official world archive for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the largest on-line gaming center on the Internet

Other Sources of Design Inspiration

3DM3 Computer Graphics Gallery - A gallery of 3D designs that might strike up some ideas.

Ad Generator - The ad generator is a generative artwork that explores how advertising uses and manipulates language. Words and semantic structures from real corporate slogans are remixed and randomized to generate invented slogans.

Apps Mania - The best of application designs.

Apple Brochure and Ads - Here is a gallery of all of the Apple Ads and brochures.

A Source of Inspiration - Ideas on advertising, creativity, online marketing and the web brought to you by Armando Alves, a Interactive Ninja from Portugal.

Boonika - A mashup of different types of art and designs. Some are too funky for my taste, but some are quite good.

Brusheezy - Cool Photoshop brushes with cool vector patterns that are great for inspiration.

ColourLovers - ColourLovers is a resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color - whether for ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification - a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews.

Computer Love - Computer love has a nice gallery of great designs.

Design Flood - A digg-like site where designers can vote designs either up or down.

Cool Hunter - Find inspiration on the Cool Hunter…all types of designs here.

Design Inspiration - A place to introduce talented illustrators and designers to other creative professionals in their industry. A forum for old and new talent, a venue to be seen and noted. We hope that your time spent here will prove to be both stimulating and inspirational.

Design is Kinky - One of the old timers…it has been around forever and enjoyed by many designers. There are many inspirational designs that they display.

Design You Trust - A design inspiration site.

Desktopography - Desktopography is an exhibition, a showcase of nature themed wallpapers created by designers worldwide.

Deviant Art - Deviant art is the largest design community out there and they have a huge gallery of designs to browse through in both print design and web design.

Digital Artist - Always a good source of design inspiration.

Einbahn Studio Blog - A blog filled with inspirational designs from all design genres.

From Europe - Inspirational spotlight of the best designs coming from Europe.

Gaga Over Web Buttons - Great button designs list.

Icon Base - Here you´ll find the best icons from the best artists in the world. The icons here listed belong to the individual authors and companies. They are free for personal and non commercial use. If you are an icon artist and desire to share your work with the world, this is your place. Icons can help with ideas sometimes.

Icon Buffet - This site is a collection of beautiful web icons and could be inspirational.

Icon Factory - Get some ideas for your icons or base your designs on the icons that you find.

JPG Magazine - A place for people to share photos….there are a lot of very inspirational photos here.

LCSV4 (The Little Chimp Society) - Find some very inspirational illustrations to get your creative design juices flowing.

Moco Loco - A magazine that features the best of contemporary design.

Mojizu- A character design community that could strike up some inspiration.

More Inspiration - Browse design innovations to spark your creativity.

Net Diver - An online dezine ezine that features mixtures of different inspirational designs.

New Web Pick - An online design magazine that has a lot of inspirational design goodness.

Portfolio Base - A gallery of portfolios from around the world.

ProWebArt - ProWebArt is web design gallery where we collect the most inspirational and quality web designs. The main goal of ProWebArt is to put in one place the best websites world wide.

Reset Blog - A blog filled with inspirational designs and art.

Start Drawing - Wow! This is what you are going to say when you get on this site - the colors are so vibrant that right away I am thinking about the color combinations that are used.

StashMedia - An online multimedia design magazine that showcases the best in multimedia design.

Sugar Frosted Goodness - These illustrations and designs should give you some ideas.

TheDreamer - Thedreamer is a simple inspiracional catalogue, where some works are selected and divided in categories. You can interact with TheDreamer sending your inspiration in the fields below, it will be evaluated and could be added in the data base TheDreamer.

The Serif - Your daily dose of design inspiration.

Threadless T-Shirts - Browse through these clever tshirts and you will see design elements in some of them that will bring you inspiration.

Veer - Veer has some very inspirational wallpapers that really have an inspirational effect on many designers. Take a look.

We Are Sharks - We are sharks, we never stop swimming for inspirational designs.

(11) Another View: Don’t Look at Other Designer’s Work
Another way to look at your creativity block issue is to avoid looking at other designer’s work. Try to erase memories of existing designs and just start with a blank slate. If you have a design imprinted in your mind, there is no way to get around the issue that you are being influenced by a set design. This might be what is causing your creative block. This is when sketching on paper might be a good place to start…or try getting away from the computer for a while. Like I said above, if you look at your design project in a new light and look at it from an entirely new angle, you might be surprised at the direction your mind will bring you to.

(12) Write in a Journal Every Morning.
Empty your brain of all its clutter every morning to free it to be creative. Read The Artists Way to find out more about this method. Basically, every morning when you wake up you should write down everything that comes to mind to dump the brain of distractions and concerns to make room for creative solutions to appear. Because you are working so early in the morning, you are working on almost a subconscious level and it is a great way to free creative blocks.

(13) If it Blows, It Must Go(es)
This is one of the most important tips that I can give to you. If you can’t get your design to work out, then throw it away. It is so difficult to throw away a design that you have worked on for hours, but if your block revolves around that particular design then starting fresh might be the key. You can also keep it in a folder called ‘unused designs’ or something similar. You can always go back to that design for another project and it can be revived at that time. If it blows, it must go(es).

Beat the Block

Remember, there is always creativity left in you. You don’t have a finite number of designs in you…there are always many more designs left in you to be designed. There is always another design left, you just have to find it within yourself. Hopefully the tips in this article will help you when you are having troubles finding the crieativity within yourself. Good luck.

Other Articles Online About Creative Blocks and Graphic Design Inspiration

Creative Block

How to Burst Your Creative Block

Fighting off Design Stagnation

Ways to Smash Your Creative Blocks

4 Tips to Combat Creative Block

4 Tips for Getting Yourself Out of a Design Jam

How to Deal With Your Creative Block

Overcoming Creative Block and Self Doubt

Even Creative Directors Suffer From Creative Block

Get Motivated : Breaking Through a Creative Block

Just Chipping Off the Creative Block

Creative Block : Try Sleep Deprivation

How to Break Out of an Artistic Creative Block

[tags]graphic design, web design, creative block, creativity block, inspiration, get inspired, creative inspiration, creative tricks, creative tips, creativity advice, creativity, design, designers block, design block, designer’s block, graphic design block, web design block, overcome creative block[/tags]

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  1. Posted January 8, 2008 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the this very comprehensive article and the link to my blog, Overcoming Creative Block and Self Doubt. I hope it helps your readers and gets the creative neurons firing again.


  2. Ravi pratap
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Can’t Find the desings of Prospectus!!

  3. Posted February 5, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this AWESOME compendium of tips and links! It’s hard to believe this much information and inspiration could possibly be found in one place.

    After this, I think it would be impossible not to be inspired. ;o)


  4. Posted February 5, 2008 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for this AWESOME compendium of tips and links! It’s hard to believe this much information and inspiration could possibly be found in one place.

    After this, I think it would be impossible not to be inspired. ;o)


  5. Posted September 19, 2008 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Just had to say what a good resource you have put together. I’m not a designer but do have an interest in design and this has given me some great links to check out. By the way thank you for the link to my site - which is how I found your article.

  6. Posted May 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe more ppl haven’t commented. This is a great list! I will refer to it when stumped. Thanks much. And keep up the great work.

    Anthony Proulx

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] seems to be lost. You can’t force creativity, so what do you do to get it back? Hopefully, this article will help you (0 hits) find answers to this serious problem. Posted in Design Articles by Dmitry Utkin [...]

  2. By Lard Designs : Creative Block on February 23, 2008 at 8:34 am

    [...] is an excerpt from here Exercise to Release Those Endorphins. The best thing that you could do is exercise. Taking a walk [...]

  3. [...] You Might Also Like This Article - How to Overcome Your Creative Block. [...]

  4. [...] I think this applies to anyone who needs to be creative. Source: All Graphic Design [...]

  5. [...] Remember this, if you are going to try any of these techniques, do not perform them expecting positive results every time. The trick is to really let your mind wander in different directions, because if you are trying too hard to be creative, then it will never work. If you have any suggestions or additions to these, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try and put it in the article. Here is another article about The Best Ways That Graphic Designers Can Overcome Their Creative Block. [...]

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