Ever felt like you’ve run out of creative ideas for your graphics? Too many deadlines, different people wanting different things, and probably too much coffee, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uninspired.

These are the worst feelings to have when you need to deliver creativity on demand, which is why we’ve put together a little list of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing again.

How_to_find_inspiration-graphics

Whether it’s for your own business or you’re freelancing for someone else, you need to decide on the purpose of the graphic before the fun starts. Where will this graphic be shown, on what platform? Is it for social media? A blog? Will it be printed? Who is the audience? These are all things to consider, as they define certain factors of your design.

Another thing to think about is the brand itself. Jot down any restrictions the business or brand may have applied to your work. It may be size, colour scheme, adhering to a particular house style… Try not to think of these details as limitations but as guidelines instead — having a loose criteria allows you to eliminate a number of options, which makes your job less daunting.

If you’re still feeling a little flat after noting down your design criteria, fear not! Check out our tips below for getting back into that creative zone.

1 Social media

That’s right, we’re encouraging you to stop what you’re doing and head on over to the dark side (just make sure you come back!) We’re talking about Pinterest and Tumblr specifically. These are the two biggest and fastest growing imaged-based social media platforms. They’re brimming with stunning photography and designs, and are easy-as-pie to navigate and search. Whether you’re after inspiration for a logo design, a blog graphic or a colour scheme, you’re bound to find some incredible visual treats here.

pinterest design

2 Get talking

What we mean of course, is get talking with other people you know who create their own graphics. Have a chat about the projects you’re working on and what aspects you’re finding particularly challenging. They might be able to offer you some advice, or better yet, have a solution to your problem because they’ve ‘been there, done that’. If this isn’t the case, that’s no problem either, just talking through the difficulties of a job will lift some of the weight from your shoulders, and afterwards, you may be able to approach the project refreshed and rearing to go.

3 Turn those glossy pages

desktop mag

If you’re after inspiration, there’s no need to look any further than design-related magazines. These bad boys highlight the best of the best in the industry and their work is sure to leave you motivated and in awe. If you’re stuck at your computer, here’s 42 free online magazines to explore, or check out our shortlist of virtual glossy pages for you to flip through as well:

4 Play

kuler screenshot

One of the great things about working online is the abundance of free and useful tools at your disposal, and tools for graphic design are no exception. Some of our favourites include Colour Lovers and Kuler, where you can play around with colour palettes and check out the most popular colour schemes and where they’re being used.

We’ve previously compiled some great design tools online including Designspiration and DesignTAXI. And let’s not forget Canva itself, where you can drag and drop as well as experiment with colours and fonts.

colour lovers

5 Get out more often

If you’ve tried everything on this list and our suggestions just haven’t done it for you, chances are what you really need to do is go outside. Yes, you read right, step away from the screen and get some fresh air. Go for a walk in the sun, grab a coffee with a friend, throw a stick for your dog, whatever it is — you’ll find that taking your mind off the job for half an hour or so can really rejuvenate your creative flow.

Do you have any other tips on how to stay creative? Share your advice below.

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Helen Scheuerer is a creative writer & website owner from Sydney. She's worked for numerous e-commerce start-ups over the years as well as founded her own online literary magazine, Writer's Edit. Specialising in blogging and social media marketing, Helen loves the opportunities the online world has to offer writers and entrepreneurs alike.