The Wonderful Side of Creative Block


Just days after David Airey posted this, I fell into creative block, BIG TIME (days!). It was frustrating, to say the least.


I have an ongoing logo project that seems to be taking forever because I can’t come up with something I can be proud of.

I just started my Daily Design posts and although I do design work everyday, my personal designs were uninspired and not the sort of things I’d post, hence my “silence” last week. So I might just change that into a weekly or monthly design post with just logos. We’ll see.

But it wasn’t just “design” block. I couldn’t write either. Nor could I play that melody in my head at the piano without hitting the wrong keys. I felt stuck at every turn.


The good thing about design is, it has “rules”—proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast (CRAP, as I still remember very well from Robin Williams’ The Non-Designer’s Design Book) and variations thereof. Thanks to these principles (plus some experience) I was able to get through designing my regular client work of magazines and ads, which I personally find actually much easier to do than logos, websites or photo-manipulations.

The crappy thing is, these rules don’t help us come up with new and creative ideas in the first place. Finding inspiration is all up to us.


But the wonderful side of creative block is you get to do and discover other things you might have been missing. I got creative with the block, so to speak.

I drew things, which is always good no matter what state you’re in, creative or not. I started reading fantasy books again. I played Beethoven’s Pathetique (though poorly) again, something I studied more than 10 years ago. I ran farther. I found a few bloggers and writers worthy of a follow on my reader. I found great work by other designers. I’m starting to love typography more than I used to. I covered some design material, something I don’t always have time for. I got to think and plan my blogging and design work. I spent more time with my kids…. Overall, my time was not wasted and maybe all I really needed was a break from “creating.”


I’m out of it now and to celebrate, I even came up with this logo for fun.


I’d like to hear from you, what new things have you discovered (or rediscovered) while on a block?


  • August 15th, 2011 /

2 Comments to “The Wonderful Side of Creative Block”

  1. Muneeb Ahmad says:

    Wow, that’s a top-notch logo you created Grace! 😉

    Last time I had a creative block was a short whole ago when I was asked to create a logo for a professional school and uniforms company. I had an image of a tie and that was it. I thought to myself how can I make this tie vector work in a smart logo? Eventually I came up with this little gem, after thinking of things that looked ‘fancy’ and then finding a thin and ‘smart-looking’ font and the end result was this:

    Another time I wanted to make a concept logo just for fun and struggled a lot but eventually came up with this:

    I don’t really have secrets to overcoming any blocks apart from relaxing, persisting and looking at inspiration sites or just general free goodies that I think can be used in a logo.

  2. Grace Oris says:

    Thanks Muneeb. That’s some work yourself.

    I think simply relaxing works best after all!

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