Inspire Me: Tips for Finding Creative Inspiration

January 22, 2017

Inspire Me

What do you do when you hit a mental roadblock, and cannot get inspired, no matter what you try? We all have situations like this (some of us more than others), so I would like to offer some tips for helping you get out of that rut and recharge with some fresh, new ideas. Read on.

 

Step Away

Sometimes, just a change of scenery or break from the mental pattern you are in, can make a world of difference. Go for a walk, do some light chores, take a drive.

carson-valley

I took this shot of Carson Valley near Reno, Nevada, on a short drive I took to get away from my desk, on a particularly uninspiring evening. Such a beautiful shot, and I have used it in two of my eLearning courses. Score!

 

Make a List

I am an ardent list maker. I make lists for grocery trips, packing for vacation – and I make a to-do list every single morning. Even smaller tasks go on the list, so I feel like I have a sense of accomplishment. Just making a list and seeing what you have accomplished – no matter how small the task – can be very motivating. I write my lists by hand, but you can use apps like Priorities and other list making apps to get the job done.

inspireme

I make lists for everything – these are some of the items that pop up on my lists often. Yes, “shower” is a frequent list item for a freelancer like me!

 

Brainstorm

When I need a little extra push to get inspired, I brainstorm. Here are a few ideas I use to get my creativity pumping.

  1. List descriptive words that come to mind. No right or wrong answers – just jot down whatever comes to mind. Some of the silliest ideas can be reworked into something usable.
  2. Think of what visuals you associate with the concept, and make notes and/or sketches about them.
  3. Create an outline, similar to a mind map, but in outline form. No sketching here, just your random thoughts in a structured format.
  4. Use pencil/pen and paper to sketch your ideas, and try variations. Keep your sketches loose and not too detailed.
  5. Focus on the story or message, and don’t get sidetracked.
  6. Use Mind Maps to get ideas flowing. Start with a general phrase in the middle of the screen or paper. Then start connecting ideas.

inspire-me-mindmap
Here’s an example of a Mind Map – I began with a central theme, Nevada. From there, I just start adding facts and try to organize them as I go. This is a very effective technique for solving problems.

 

Resources for Inspiration

Prepare a list of your favorite resources, and keep it handy. Everyone will have their own ideas for this, depending on your job function. As a designer, here are some of my favorite place to look for inspiration:

  1. Adobe Behance

Behance is an online community of Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. If you’re looking for creative inspiration, there is a TON of it here. Use the search field to find people or keywords, and “follow” your favorites to see their latest works.

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-8-35-21-am

Here, I used the search feature in Behance to find infographics. I have found free templates here, along with a wide variety of creative projects.

 

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  1. Pinterest

Pinterest is an online community with an unlimited wealth of resources at your fingertips. And it’s all free! Create an account and start “boards,” where you store collections of links and images. I have many boards on Pinterest (@kreatable) –  here’s an example of one: my Infographics board.

My “Infographics” board on Pinterest –  this site is a great place to find resources and inspiration.

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  1. Google

Good old reliable Google is another way to find inspiration – simply use Google or your favorite search engine to search for a topic. Use specific search terms to help weed out the unwanted content.

Here, I searched for “infographics” using a Google search. More specific phrase or keyword searches produce better, more refined results.

 

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  1. Twitter

Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms (@kreatable) and searching on Twitter is super easy.

Here, I’ve done a search on Twitter, looking for infographics.

 

 

Design books and websites

Finally, I recommend using design books and online resources. Websites like Smashing Magazine and Just Creative offer a wealth of creative inspiration for designers like me. Find the ones that are tailored to your skill set and check them often for new and fresh ideas.

inspire-me-book

Here’s a design book I love because it has lots of creative ideas. Connie Malamed’s Visual Design Solutions is published by Wiley Press, and is available on Amazon.

Remember: creative ruts are temporary. Create a list of things you can do to counter your lack of inspiration, and you’ll be back on track in no time.

 

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