1) Start Over
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is wipe the slate clean and start over. Starting over releases you from your previous mode of thinking and you'll be free to try something new.
2) Google Your Project
If you're making a brochure and coming up empty, try Googling "brochure designs" and see what other people are doing.
3) Make Big Things Bigger and Small Things Smaller
I love contrast and boldness, so when I'm unsure what to do, I'll sometimes make big objects / text bigger and small objects / text smaller. Go crazy with it, then scale it back to the sweet spot.
4) Go Modular
I like funky design, but sometimes you need to back off of the funkiness and stick to what works, which is making a well-balanced composition using rows and columns. Check out magazine and newspaper layouts to see what I mean.
5) Make Some Coffee
Physical activity of any kind improves thinking. When I've been glued to my chair for a while and my brain hurts from trying to be creative and interesting, I find that simply getting up and doing something refreshes my perspective. Making coffee with a French Press works great. Here's my method:
- Boil 8 ounces of water
- Coarsely grind 2 tablespoons of coffee and add to the French Press
- Let the boiling water rest for about 1 minute before pouring it (Coffee boils at 212 and you want it to be about 195 before adding it to the ground coffee)
- Leave the press uncovered for 20 seconds, then stir the liquid and cover
- Let the coffee steep for 3 minutes total
That's plenty of time to refresh your mind with the added bonus of a caffeine jolt at the end.
6) Check out Behance
If you don't know, Behance is a place where extremely talented designers post their work. There is a wealth of ideas there.
7) Draw Thumbnails
If you need to really unleash the creativity, break out the paper and a pencil (or your tablet) and start making quick drawings. Make them all different. Try crazy things. Try stupid things. When the ideas slow down, push yourself for just a few more.
What do you do when you're stuck? Let us know in the comments.