how i stay creatively inspired as a graphic designer





Michael | 05.14.19





Like most things in life, staying inspired or motivated can sometimes be easy, and other times can be difficult. One of the most important aspects of staying consistently creative for me is pace. I've always felt working in the creative field is like inertia - a body in motion continues in motion, and a body at rest continues to rest. If I am continually working at a consistent pace, then I can easily continue on the creative path. When the pace becomes a start, stop, start back-up, it's harder to get going or to maintain motivation. I like to keep consistently working. That's not to say I need to work on one project consistently and exclusively for weeks. Variety in projects in an important factor as well. When working on only one project exclusively - boredom can creep in, and there is the risk of getting sucked into only that project's world. At times it can be hard to switch gears into something completely different. Having multiple jobs going on at once allows me to jump from one to the other, then back again, and not get stuck or stagnant in one place.


When I do start to feel like the work is stagnating I try to change things up in my life outside of design. These are simple changes, but they seems to work for me. I may take different roads to or from work. When I'm in the car, I sometimes play a game of "Sirius Roulette". I'll spin the dial on the radio and wherever it lands, I listen to a song until completion and then spin again. This all may seem meaningless or inconsequential, but it forces me to experience new things that I thought I didn't like. Sometimes I still don't like it, but I am getting a different perspective in a way - the idea being that you can learn or pick up something from everything - especially if it is new to you.


Recharging or downtime away from design is so important to maintaining creativity and can come from so many places - traveling to new cities, eating at different restaurants, movies, riding public transportation, live music, walking through town, looking at old signage, museums and galleries. Just getting out of the office and taking a walk can do so much. "Hobbies" have also been a big recharge for me. To keep sane from the need to come up with new ideas consistently, creatives need hobbies to rest and recharge their brains - at least I do. Gardening has done wonders for me. I can be creative with spacing, color and shapes - all with something alive and great for the environment. It calms me and allows me to work with my hands and be creative, but also recharge from a day's work.


Music keeps me motivated throughout the day. Specifically, music without words. I seem to be able to concentrate and conceptualize new ideas better with instrumental music - specifically jazz. New projects usually start with a healthy dose of Art Blakey and sketching. I don't know why it's jazz, but it has been jazz since college that helps me work. There is no distraction of words, just fluid movement of sounds.


The more experiences we have and more we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, the better the work becomes. It may not be a consious decision, but everything we do, experience and see eventually comes out in art.