As designers, our job is to find solutions to a problem that was given to us in the form of a brief. These questions never have one answer. It maybe ends with a final solution (that the client has chosen). However, it never starts with one. There are multiple answers and depending on the designer’s experience and interpretation, these can vary from one individual to another. The process changes as well, but there is one thing that is the same for everyone: creative block.
There are several ways to deal with it and overcome it. The technique that I use isn’t the best nor it is the worst. It is just the one that works best for me. Whenever I feel that I can’t work, find a solution, or am going in circles, I just take a break. However, I do not go outside, read a book or go and sit in front of a mirror to slap my face hard whilst screaming to myself “Moron!”. Instead, I just sit back, relax and listen to some good old jazz. Something along the lines of Miles Davis, Sun Ra or Benny Goodman. Basically, anything that can free my mind from thinking. I then focus on the music.
But why jazz in particular? Probably because it is the freest form of music that you can listen to. I believe that it is for that particular reason that it will free your mind – actually, mine – from the struggles of a design job. The fact that I put my focus on something that isn’t visual helps me in rebooting my brain. It is kind of like when I go on holiday.
At the end of the day, the simple fact that you disconnect yourself completely from the environment you’re in makes a huge difference. Thus, listening to jazz gives me a boost of energy, and that is because it actually brings me joy. We all know very well that we can’t get anything done if we are in a bad mood. So I’d say this, if you’re in doubt or you feel that you are in that weird space where you can’t get anything done, go to a happy place. Be it by watching a film, reading a book, going for a run or listening to jazz.