How to be more creative: 8 tips from designers

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Tired of stale ideas? Or worse, no ideas at all? Creativity is an important part of problem solving and development. Below, we share eight tips from designers who rely on creativity everyday.

When it comes to designing on Canva, you’ve likely got a project that needs to make an impact. But sometimes it’s hard to find the creativity needed to take your idea and turn it into a masterpiece. While we’ve all heard the myth that inspiration and creativity always strike at the right time, as any designer will tell you, it takes effort to cultivate creativity and call upon it for projects on a regular basis.

So, to help you be more creative while you’re designing on Canva—or any project that requires a creative touch—we’ve sourced eight tips from experienced designers who regularly call upon creativity to get the job done. Read on for their expert tips and tricks.

Actively seek inspiration

Much like creativity, inspiration doesn’t always come as easily as we would like it to. If inspiration doesn’t find you immediately, don’t give up. Instead of staring at a blank screen for the entire day, take the time to invest in research and find different elements that will inspire you for the project you are working on. “Pull from varying sources of inspiration such as artwork, literature, nature...you never know what will spark your interest and motivate you to create something amazing” says designer Andrea Khohn for Medium Blog.

Set boundaries

While you may see boundaries as a blocker for creativity, many designers suggest that they are in fact a helpful tool when designing—especially when it comes to font pairings, color palettes and including negative space in your design. Trey Speegle, a mixed-media artist agrees with this school of thought, suggesting in an earlier Canva article that “you have to set up the narrow parameters that you work in, and then within those, give yourself just enough room to be free and play.”

Book a creative date with yourself

It may feel odd to take yourself on a date. However, in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, Cameron suggests allocating time each week to go on a date with yourself in order to fill up on inspiration (so you never run out). Some suggestions include going on solo expeditions to art galleries, music shows and nature walks in order to connect with your creativity on a regular basis.

Take breaks

Canva’s digital designer, Hayley Lloyd finds that taking regular breaks during a big project helps her be more creative. “It can be so easy to think you have you have to stay glued to your desk at work, but that's not how creatives work—in my opinion anyway! Sometimes if I have a block of time, I'll take a walk, or have a chat and let my mind unwind for a while.”

Find your flow

Unless you’re a freelancer, your job likely requires you to work standard operating hours. Whichever category you fit into it’s beneficial to assess when you are most alert and innovative during the day. Design blog Designrfix suggests that this is when you’re in your “flow” (another word for being in “the zone”). Once you’ve found your most efficient time for creative projects, you are able to segment your tasks according to what type of attention they require. If you’re most creative and refreshed in the morning, assign your creative tasks for then and your administration tasks for later in the day, or vice versa.

Always seek feedback

While asking for feedback about your work can feel like a daunting task, one of Canva’s in-house digital designer’s Arnold Longequeue suggests that it’s actually a really helpful way to boost your creativity and get a different perspective on your work. “I like to get people’s feedback because it provides me with different points of views. It also gives me some breathing distance and allows me to come back with fresh eyes.”

Don’t be afraid of mistakes

Sometimes, actually starting your design is the scariest step to take—and this is because you’re fearful of making a mistake. However, award-winning graphic designer Paula Scher is famously quoted for saying that “it’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” Here, Paula stresses that mistakes and imperfection is part of the creative process and an integral step to creating good work.

Stay curious

Canva’s in-house digital designer, Arnold Longequeue shares on the importance of curiosity in the design process. “Be curious, always look for inspiration from other people’s work or things that are not strictly related to design. Mediums like cinema, photography, architecture and nature are a great place to start. Next, try to create your own version of it, depending on the context of what you're doing. Then you will have created something truly unique.”

Staying curious and open to new ideas is paramount to creativity. Expanding your resources—whether it’s through free platforms like Pinterest or Instagram—will ensure that you have a diverse range of sources to pull from when needed.

Invest in your hobby

Hayley also suggests that an integral part of cultivating creativity is to invest regular time in your hobby, “whether it's doodling or a planned sketch. I find it makes me unwind and gives me access to a more creative part of myself.”

Whatever your profession, being more creative is a skillset that you can use everyday. For more tips and tricks about design, head over to our Learn Blog.