Growing up and studying Graphic Design in Adelaide was generally pretty fun. After the crazy pressure of school and year 12 exams, University seemed almost like a bludge. Most of our lessons involved research and mucking around with shapes, colours and textures. Like art class. It wasn’t until the third year where shit really started to get difficult. Taking all the seemingly random learnings from the earlier years and mixing them together to please our overlord lecturers and their briefs. One example of this is we were given a particular sin from the Seven Deadly Sins eg. ‘Anger’. We then had to turn this into a brand and show application to a poster and other pieces of collateral. We were then graded on this. Much different to sitting an exam putting our Maths skills to the test.
This was all about 15 years ago now, and since then it’s been a crazy ride through the ‘real world’ creative industry. Thinking back to how I got creative without the pressures of client deadlines and money involved, it was something a little bit strange. I would drive down to Port Adelaide. Not the AFL team, but the actual warf where ships would come and get loaded, sometimes you’d see a dolphin emerge. I’d just sit there watching trucks and forklifts doing there thing – all very procedural and purposeful. After about an hour of this I’d then somehow be creatively energised and back into the mood to go off graphic designing like a good student.
I think the reason for this is the contrast of having to ‘think outside the box’ and use that creative brain, as opposed to just silently observing a more binary and structured process. For you, this might mean going to a particular location, sewing, gardening, cleaning your shoes or playing Mario Kart.
If you ever get a ‘creative block’ then I suggest taking a break and doing something more mundane for a few hours, then come back to your creative work.