Casey Butler Harwood

The Drawn Team’s Creativity Hacks

Whether you’re not feeling a particularly taxing task or you’re facing a savage creative block, sometimes it’s tough to summon inspiration. This can be especially frustrating when inspiration is in your job description, but rest assured: We’ve all been there.

Now, you can Google tips for clearing these hurdles as well as we can, but we find that hearing from people just like us — humans who have stood where we stand — is a lot more helpful than reading what the proverbial experts have to say. That’s why we’re offering up our top suggestions to get the creative juices flowing. Hey, maybe one of them will work for you.

"Loud music. I usually find that my creative blocks are the result of my own thinking getting in the way. I start overthinking and fear that I might not create the most amazing design in the world. So I turn up the music — nearly any music — and try to block out the over-analysis so I can get back to purely creative thinking."

— Bryan Taylor, drawn Founder / Creative Director

“If I hit a block, I watch funny videos or music videos. I also like to look at pictures that I have taken recently. Sometimes, my past self was smart enough to take a picture to use for future inspiration.”

— Kate Trahan, Content Coordinator

Photo: Alex Iby/Unsplash

“When I am in need of inspiration, I like to meditate and spend time outside. There is just something about breathing in fresh air and having a few moments of thinking about nothing at all that helps boost both my productivity and creativity.”

— Kristen França, Content Coordinator

“For me, go for a walk and just get away. Fishing is the best!”

— Dave Merwin, Developer

Photo: Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

“My way to cope with blocks it to set it aside and come back to it in the morning. I find I think best with a few cups of coffee and an early morning work session.”

— Mary Flatley, Brand Manager

“[For creative inspiration,] I go through my saved or ‘liked’ Instagram posts. I find that to be very creatively stimulating, but it requires discipline in the liking and saving process, in order to end up with a very tight collection of images and ideas. Traveling [also] does wonders for my creativity. Always! Especially traveling on my own, when I keep my thoughts to myself, as opposed to immediately sharing them with a companion. If I haven't left town for a while, even taking a new route to work or going to a coffee shop/bar that I haven't been to before gives me a similar fountain of inspiration.”

— Slavka Eberhart-Garah, Brand Manager

“To get into the right space, I do a bunch of research. If I [hit] a block, I stop and go for a walk. Nothing is as bad as pushing myself when I need a walk for fresh ideas. I’ve literally spent three hours coming up with nothing because I didn’t take a break...”

— Dala Botha, Senior Designer

“My go to techniques for [finding a] creative headspace/tips for combatting blocks are: 

  • Make sure my space is clear of distractions. 

  • Put on music I love and dance for a song or two. 

  • Do another creative task to clear my head and get in the creative zone. For example, if I am trying to write, I'll draw or doodle for a bit. 

  • Sleep on it. 

  • Go for a walk in nature. 

  • Make a mind map of the project.”

— Thea Albright, Brand Manager

“Two strategies that I use are to take a brief exercise break (simple bodyweight stuff or jumping rope), and to start over on the project from square one. In the latter case, you're not actually starting over because you've already created significant connective tissue for the project, but ‘starting over’ allows you to discard the false starts and refine the project, [focusing on] its emerging essentials.”

— Josiah Martens, Design Fabricator

“As someone who is easily overstimulated, I like to minimize distractions when getting into the creative ‘mode.’ This often involves tying my hair back so that it doesn't get in my face, putting on comfortable, temperature-appropriate clothes (although even in the summer, I have been known to wear sweatpants and wool socks), and finding a large, clear space to work — often the floor or even my back porch!”

— Madison Lancaster, Assistant

“I feel inspired by pretty much every writing task that crosses my metaphorical desk, but occasionally, motivation flees the scene. For me, one of the top motivation blockers is an absent or incomplete strategy. Like Dala, I throw myself into research — and let it wander where it may, even if it leads to something that seems completely random or unrelated. Eventually, I’ll feel like I’m familiar enough with the topic at hand to formulate a solid plan of attack. Of course, a good Pinterest binge helps, too.”

— Casey Butler, Brand Writer