Blog from Boxcitement: monthly UK subscription boxes

Have you sometimes felt your creativity sinking?

A blog about overcoming creative block.

Boxcitement inhabits a world of creativity – and so, we have discovered, do our subscribers. Whether they are fellow designers and creative entrepreneurs, or simply lovers of things that look good, what our customers and our team have in common is an appreciation for aesthetics...

One of the main challenges we face at Boxcitement is to constantly be creating new things for our subscribers - whether it's a new style of illustration, a new product or a new post for our social media. And it's not easy! Have you heard of creative block? It does happen! Deadlines, time pressures, lack of inspiration and an overwhelming sense of letting people down who expect us to be inspirational can all have a negative impact on creativity. It's not easy to conjure up new ideas and designs on a whim, especially when it needs to be done yesterday. Our Creative Director Deb has compiled a bullet list of her action points when a creative block happens - and hopefully they could help you too if you sometimes suffer from a lack of ideas...

Here's Deb's definitive guide to getting rid of that block...

  1. Spread the love - just ask Being responsible for coming up with ideas can be a big headache when the creative juices aren't flowing. I've learned to remove the pressure of being a one-person ideas shop by asking for help - not in a formal way, but by asking people casually. To a savvy teenager: "What colours are in at the moment? What's trendy in the shops?" (this can be a great way of tapping in to high street fashion!). To a friend or partner in a corporate environment: "What makes you happy at work? How do you make the day job more fun?" (this can open up great ideas for creating new stationery items, for example). To a busy parent: "What would make your life easier?" (we created a wall-mountable key holder after talking to a mum whose kids kept losing their keys!).

  2. Go somewhere else You've probably heard this one before but removing yourself from your immediate environment can be a great way to get ideas flowing again. Get that body moving! Not only does the exercise make me feel less stressed, but the lack of other distractions means ideas seem to pop in to my head. If I have time I will go for a swim but a quick walk is just as good - try to be 'in the moment' and empty your thoughts while you walk and hopefully an idea will materialise. A walk in our local woods recently provided all the inspiration I needed for our 'Lost in the Woods' box. Along the same lines, you can practice visualisation and meditation to get used to being more present and less focussed on your problem - once the mind is relieved of day-to-day pressures it can be a wonderfully creative instrument!

  3. Visit Pinterest and type in something completely random! The same idea works for Instagram hashtags too - move away from those you would normally use and search for something completely unrelated to your business. The creative, visual nature of these two social sites means you will find yourself going down a rabbit hole - and that's a good thing! Try it now - type 'space' into Pinterest and see what comes up. It's a fantastic way to break out of your creative comfort zone and discover new approaches.
  4. Create an ideas funnel by picking a colour This is a great one for starting from scratch. Pick a colour - not necessarily your favourite - and write a quick list of the first things that come to mind. White could describe pure, snow, blank, space, marshmallows, clean sheets, diamonds, a blank piece of paper, teeth! Then pick one of these words and do the same - teeth could describe animals, zips, predators, aliens, sterile equipment, pain. Keep going until one of the words resonates with you - open your mind and allow the words to create images that can lead to fresh ideas.

  5. Google 'art exhibitions' Let the world of art curation do the hard work for you! Simply Google a list of art exhibitions in your country and be inspired by what other people have put together. Recent exhibitions I have discovered include a retrospective of American pop art which has been VERY influential for Boxcitement (watch this space!) as well as a collection of wedding dresses and a celebration of plywood - all very inspiring! If nothing else just search for past and present exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London - use the skill of their curators to jumpstart your own ideas.

  6. Do you have any failsafe ways to unblock your creativity and get those ideas flowing again? We’d love to hear from you – getting feedback is another amazing way we can tap into more ideas for Boxcitement boxes! Right, time to head back to Pinterest…

    Stay happy - Deb

    (P.S. I'd love to know what you think - leave your comment below!)