It is not at all uncommon for web design folks to work long, hard hours, doing repetitive tasks, for thankless clients. Hopefully this isn’t your everyday, but anybody who has worked in design for more than a couple of years can relate to this experience at least once or twice. Indeed, what many of us came into as an outlet for our creative talents can quickly become..sigh..a grind. But there are antidotes to the grind. If you are a designer with longevity and great work in your career plan, you’re going to have to figure out how to incorporate inspiration into your routine. It’ll keep you recharged, your work fresh, and your bills paid. Here’s how I do it.
1. See New Things
This can happen a lot of ways. Most of my work is in the creative visual side of design. To do my job, I have to be very aware of what other industry standard-bearers are doing around the web. So I see a lot of websites and take a lot of notes. But if I stop here, I’m doing a lot of work to perhaps limit my imagination to ideas that other people are already using. In order to break out of this shell, I look at images all over the web. In fact, Pinterest is one of my favorite sources for this. My carefully curated follows are a portal to a whole new world of imagery, much of which finds its way into my work. I also try to get out of town, go to museums, spend time in nature. Anything visual can be a source of inspiration, or simply something to wipe clean the cluttered slate inside your head.
Even if you work at an agency that’s “big on collaboration”, it doesn’t mean that this activity actually occurs. Just because you work beside somebody at the next desk doesn’t mean that your ideas and workflows aren’t firmly demarcated. There’s not an easy fix to this process in some agencies, but it’s important for you to find a way to work with someone else. Even if this has to happen off the clock, find a way to work someone else’s instincts into your creative process. It’ll inform the end result and help you generate new ways of creating things.
3. Hire People To Do the Stuff You Hate
There’s nothing like grinding away at a task you hate to make you start to wonder why you’re in this business at all. If things like SEO, marketing, and social media management are getting your down, hire the Pros at WSI. The nuts and bolts of making websites perform is their business. If that’s not your favorite thing, but you have to do it anyway, hire them. They love it, they’ll do it way better than you, and they’ll leave you the time to do the stuff that inspires you.
So stay inspired folks. It’s how you get the great work made. I hope you’ll take time in the next months and years to see to it that your imagination is cultivated, using it to create images and experiences that will be meaningful for a lot of people.