Stepping Outside the Box

As someone who works in a creative profession, the phrase, “Think outside the box,” gets used relatively frequently and with good reason. I’ve used this tactic many times over my career to find new and compelling ways to approach or solve problems when it comes to design.

But sometimes, thinking outside the box only gets you so far. In fact, we might need to step out of the box altogether. To illustrate, you could equate creativity to a bank account. You can only make so many withdrawals before needing to make some deposits. So, if you are low on funds, here are some tips to get your creative balance back up:

Find a Hobby Outside Your Field of Work

Web and graphic design play a significant part in my daily dose of creativity, but it’s not the sole provider. Neither should it be. I recommend taking up a hobby that uses a different set of skills. I’ve found this to do wonders in breaking through creative mental blocks and finding new inspiration in unexpected ways. So, whether you favor the sights and sounds of an outdoor adventure or sitting in your favorite chair to finish up a novel in silence, be sure to choose something that excites you. There are hobbies for everyone. And the good news is creativity can be found everywhere!

Take a Step Back

Sometimes we think we will solve a problem if we stare at a project long enough. However, a lot of times, simply stepping away for a minute can do the trick. Take a breath. Close your computer for a few minutes. Get some coffee or go for a walk. Chances are a set of fresh eyes is all you need.

Create Something Just for You

Here’s a challenge: Try creating something just for yourself. That’s right, no constraints or deadlines holding you back. Explore new ideas, concepts, and techniques. For instance, create a poster and get it printed if you’re a designer. If you’re a writer, try starting that novel you always wanted to write. Photograph your favorite subject and explore new styles if you’re a photographer. Take your talents into uncharted territory. You might even find a hidden talent or tool you can use in your work!


Last but not least, take a trip! Get out of your comfort zone and experience something new, whether down the street or in another country. Taking in the sights and sounds can give you a new perspective on the world and how others operate beyond your normal routine. So, go check out an open mic night. Visit a museum or art gallery. Or book those flight tickets. Creating new memories and experiences can help energize you to get back to work.

These are just some of the many ways you can adjust your lens on life and inspire a more creative mind during seasons when you’re in a slump. Now, go ahead.. step outside of that box, and maybe you’ll be surprised by the creativity that quickly follows!

Dillon White, Senior Designer