Methods for those times when you're stuck.

Hi I just wanted to know if you know of a good method to use when the ideas dried out in a project but you really need knew ideas?

Here are some examples to start with:

For grapfic patterns, put all your ideas in a pile cut them up a couple of times and start put them together in new combinations. Maybe not the perfect pattern on the first try but you’ve got new ideas.

For new shapes ( by Scott Robertson) 10 or 20 some random papers filled with blobs of marker refill scanned and layered in photoshop. Change opacity on the layers to find new shapes.

OK I started, anyone else with ideas on this subject? Please share

/ Mats

Reading a totally unrelated magazine.

ah.heng has it.

sometimes it really helps to pull yourself away from the subject and look at things from a different point of view.

Take a break from that work for at least half day.

Surf through different design - products, architectural sites, …flickr

Redefine the brief of the project,
Characteristics of product (projected design)
Philosophy of design…

Understand trends in other design areas…& cross-pollinate

Keep habit of designing other products…


I’ve always found Core’s Harvey Cards pretty good

  • go and buy a new album you wouldn’t usually listen to.
    watch DVD extras on scifi movies.
    change mediums.
    see how many different ways you can deface a picture of David Beckham

go sailing

User research, user research, user research!
Images (clippings file, style boards)
Stimulus-Response (Doug Hall’s methods)
Concept mapping
TRIZ (deconstruct and look for solutions outside your problem)
Orthodoxy-reversing (stand things on their head)
Role playing (how would so-and-so solve it)
Crashing (forced-associations)
Daydream with a notepad or recorder handy
Put it aside (sleep on it)
Get out and talk to people

go do some Creative Incubation after taking on all the information CG refers to…i.e. take a nap, shower or take along bus trip and watch the world go by.

I like to go for a long walk with my iPod.

And if that doesn’t work then I’ll watch some comedy.

a. Have a few drinks
b. Take a nap with pen/paper near
c. Spend night on floor rather than bed
d. Talk to strangers

Co-Creation/Participatory Design:

Let the users design!

the reason i mentioned sailing is that it is semi zen like, you must think about what your doing (tack, jibe, trim) but at a slow enough pace to allow your sub mind to chew on the problem. Music is not for me, it forces my mind into its direction where I want a wandering flow. I personaly dont recomend any extream activities, as you need a introspective calm not a crank up. A drive in the country top down works too, a bit of classical music or non at all seems to open up the problem solving nooks and crannies.

ah… stuck ? have no fear, just be cheery and your skies will be blue again.
Relax. :wink:

when I am stuck, I enjoy the surroundings with my favourite salad, hot choc, and nice meal. Have a smile. It keeps your mind more alert. TRIZ etc are tools. I think the right frame of mind and positiveness counts most.

I would agree with the above. it basically comes down to the fact that designers are really good, when compared to others, with being able to find inspiration from completely unrelated sources. We are constantly absorbing the world around us and do a good job of making connections where none seem to exist.

In regards to how we do it, the above mentioned a) look at a completely unrelated magazine and b) get physically and mentally away from the project are two ideal vehicles for allowing the connections to occur. These help us move back to the 60,000 foot level where it is easier to see the connections.


it might be too much to talk about for the admin as my topics regarding the issue have been moved “Off Topic”. some people are a bit closed minded.

if individuals can take ritalin to control their behavior then individuals can take something to enhance it.

i’ve found marijuana to help me overcome any issue of running out of fresh ideas. yeah, marijuana is illegal. but so is murder which hasn’t stopped people from doing it. when’s the last time u saw an ad on tv to tell u to not commit murder?

i’d also recommend fresh air as well, which might be harder to find than pot.

Dude, give your head a shake. I think there’s a bit too much resin stuck to your frontal lobe.

You can’t be seriously making an argument for pot with the logic that there aren’t ads telling people not to murder?

Pot might “enhance” your creativity…but it apparently has short circuited your logic circuits.

Normal side effect, drug induced ideas tend to be unbildable at best.

Or just try some of this:

stay awake for 30 + hours
normally I wouldn’t recommend this, not that I
didn’t have a lot of fun in school, but
I’ve just come off my first all nighter in quite
awhile and, while physically tired, my brain
feels rejuvenated and I had some great
ideas on my drive in this morning.