Where is the Juice

If you’re a designer, there are going to be some days when you don’t feel like you can get the creative juices to flow. So, what do you do if something that you used to enjoy has become inundated with crazy deadlines, design criteria and the ever-popular “design block”? Here are my suggestions on how to get the juice to flow.

Sleep On It
A good night’s sleep can have great impact on your ability to problem-solve your creative block. In addition, many creative people say that they will ponder a problem or creative roadblock as they drift off to sleep and then turn it over to their subconscious mind to review as they snooze.

Mother Nature Might Hold The Key
When you allow yourself to step away from the workspace that you occupy each day, you should remind yourself of what Mother Nature has of offer. Among this amazing diversity in nature, you can explore new colors, textures, sounds, sizes, shapes and composition. Allowing your mind to explore, creative juices will (in theory) become more focused, your mind will be cleared and solutions and inspiration will begin to flow far more freely.

FUN FACT: Velcro was inspired by nature. The Swiss Georges de Mestral, inventor of Velcro, noticed how the sticky seed heads of burdock plants attached themselves to his pants and to his dog after walks in the woods. This observation led him to invent the product now called Velcro in 1948.

Just Do It
I have uttered these three, short words to myself many times in order to draw inspiration from somewhere to get something done. More often than not, it’s not that you’ve run out of ideas, it’s just that you’ve forgotten what it feels like to create designs based on how you’re feeling at the time. Give yourself the time to enjoy your craft.

Remind yourself why you love to design so much. Think of this as revving up your engine and giving it time to warm up. Somewhere down the line, you will have the momentum to get started and get things rolling.

Work It Out With A Workout
In addition to keeping your backside from spreading, a good workout is one of the best ways to gain inspiration. Think of it as “inspiration through perspiration”. An exercise session can take your mind off the issue at hand and allow that subconscious problem-solving to kick in. It also increases oxygen flow to the brain, upping your ability to think and problem-solve more effectively. You feel better and your creative blocks don’t seem so difficult to overcome. Hopefully these juicy ideas will shake off that sluggish design state of mind and get you back on the creative track.

Illustrator: Design Tip
Ever want to add a gradient to text in Illustrator without converting the text to outline? Here is how.

Step One
Using the Type tool, type out some text.

Step Two
Using the Selection Tool, click on your text to select it. Now go to your Appearance palette. If you don’t see it, go to Window > Appearance. Click the little arrow in the top right of the palette and choose the following> add new fill.

In the Appearance palette you’ll see a new layer for a Fill.

Step Three
Now You Can Apply Your Gradient! Click On A Gradient Swatch Or Create Your Own. If You Don’t See Your Gradient palette, go to Window > Gradient.

The best thing about it is that you can still edit the text!

The Appearance palette also has the option to add additional strokes. That’s how you can create text with multiple strokes. The cool thing is you can move the strokes and fills around in the Appearance palette just like layers in Photoshop. Use some Illustrator filters on top of that and you can do some pretty fun stuff.