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Get out of a Creative Slump

Posted by Andrew Faulkner on June 23rd, 2008.

Andrew Faulkner is the admin at fadtastic. Andrew prides himself on standards-based, accessible web design in the city of Nottingham, UK. He believes in aesthetically pleasing accessible design and that 'standards compliant does not equal boring.'

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We’ve all been there. We’re creative people but suddenly the creative juices have stopped flowing. We want to work and output some killer material but it just isn’t coming. Phil tackled the subject a while back, but I thought it would be interesting to bring you a few of my ideas.

(Graphic) Design

Probably the hardest part of the process if you’re lacking in creativity. The worst thing to do is to just plough on and put something out there when you’re in a lull. You’ll regret it as it won’t be your best work. So…

  1. Meet your heroes
    First of all, read an article or two written by those who inspire you. You might not be able to get yourself going but a few strong words from your heroes could do the trick and motivate you to get that design out. For me, reading about others’ creative processes works a treat. Or a well-written article on the hows and whys of design. Hell, if both parties are up for it and are local, why not meet for coffee to get rid of your troubles for a while? Maybe talk about an issue or two within your design. See what other designers did about problems you’re facing.
  2. Get a fresh perspective
    As I hinted at above, it’s not always the design that you’re working on that is the issue, sometimes it’s your perspective. The design may be fine but if you’re in a negative mood, you won’t be happy with it. Talk over your work with someone (even if they know little about design) and ask for constructive criticism. Soon you’ll have formed a ‘to-do’ list of items you want to add/edit in your design.
  3. Get away
    Move away from work for a moment. Maybe you need a little creative distraction to get you going again. Do something creative that doesn’t have any critics, deadlines or constraints. Maybe cook a new recipe for lunch. Or if you don’t want to stray away from the computer then perhaps you could amuse yourself by doing some photo manipulation of your friends.


It’s easy to slip into a coding rut. It’s sometimes easy to start thinking whether standards, usability, accessibility etc matter so much for a particular project and one can fall into the trap of “I’ll just get it done as quick as possible.” Maybe these tips will stop you falling into that trap:

  1. Again, let your idols inspire you…
    The same idea applies to coding as it does to design. For me, the two articles (one, two) really speak volumes to me. Some inspiring words can really get the love of coding going again. Also, maybe post on a forum and work out an issue or two with fellow web designers. Solve someone else’s issue and it may inspire you to solve yours.
  2. Review
    Another way of rekindling the passion for coding and issues it brings to the party is to do a few private reviews of other websites. Jot down what you think is great about a site and what you deem to be poor work. Split it into categories like usability, validation, accessibility, semantics etc and before you know it you have a set of principles to code to. You can most likely then get through the coding block on your real project.
  3. Reorganise your code
    Whether it be correctly renaming classes in CSS or improving the semantics of your HTML, spending half an hour or so on another part of the website can often make your brain think that you’ve made progress. You’ll feel refreshed and more willing to sort out whatever issue led you to get stuck in the first place.


Probably the most dangerous area of the ‘web design’ process to slump in. There’s always the lure of Black Hat SEO. Remember though, every time you do Black hat SEO, a kitten steps on broken glass. Here’s how to save deh kittehs.

  1. Guess what? Look up your inspiration.
    The same goes for SEO. The following articles work for me. One, Two.
  2. Recheck your prime keyphrases
    Going through the process of checking whether you’re promoting the correct keyphrases (either via a webapp or manually) can reaffirm that you are doing the right thing or make you change direction. Either way, you can now continue knowing that you’re on track or be refreshed by a new bunch of keywords. Both give you a positive state of mind instead of having a negative slump.
  3. Change tactics
    Instead of getting stuck in an SEO rut, why not work on usability or accessibility of a site. Without knowing it, you may well be helping out with SEO as it’s impacted by these factors (See ‘The Search Engine’).

Content & Programming

I don’t like to give advice on subjects I’m unfamiliar with so at this stage I’m handing the baton over to you, dear readers, to suggest ideas to help with content and programming. If you have any suggestions on these topics (or others) then please go ahead and post a comment. pharmacy
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Make A Comment

( 48 so far )

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48 Responses to Get out of a Creative Slump

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Noticed via your RSS feed but you appear to have some spam getting inserted and hidden at the end of your posts. Looks like your WordPress install has been attacked.Good article by the way :)

June 25th, 2008

With regard to programming, this might help.

Evan Meagher
June 26th, 2008

"don’t like to give advice on subjects I’m unfamiliar with so at this stage I’m handing the baton over to you, dear readers, to suggest ideas to help with content"The recent pace of fadtastic output becomes clear! :)(This is tongue-in-cheek for those of you who can’t tell - you know who you are. Hang your heads in shame.)

July 1st, 2008

Ack! And fix your damned RTE paragraphs! ;)

July 1st, 2008

Creativity for me has always come out of limitations. So sometimes I’ve hit my creative stride by listing what must be included in a design and what mustn’t be included. This especially the case for clients who insist on having tons of elements on their front page. I guess another way to put it is that much of creativity is problem-solving, and one way to get the juices going is to concentrate on the problems for a bit.

Andrew W
July 3rd, 2008

Always creative with deadlines within creativity

July 4th, 2008

I see some but comments here but for me, it’s not the rte problem… but the main idea is how the resoucrce really help us a lot. and I love the articles.. really it helps me a lot.. for sure… thanks

Erickson Juricks2Web
July 7th, 2008

Don’t forget, if you’re really stuck, collaborate. Sometimes you just need that difference in perspective.

July 14th, 2008

Very nice article, I loved your tips and recommendations:) Especially those about SEO!

web pixy
July 22nd, 2008

I find your advice about overcoming a creative slump a little hard to take when it’s been almost two months since the last article… from a group of 26(!) authors.

August 12th, 2008

baton over to you, dear readers, to suggest ideas to help with content and programming. If you have any suggestions on these topics (or others) then please go ahead and

August 19th, 2008

yes, I absolutely agree with you, I am working on it too, check out my site to learn more, thanks

Jonny Nguyen
August 25th, 2008

Да, респект большой.

August 27th, 2008

"Get out more" is quite spot on. Rent a car or something and spend some time out there, alone, somewhere. And have a coffee.Honestly, what takes you guys so long? 

August 27th, 2008

I’m not sure how many people actually fall for the whole black hat / grey hat or even the blue hat techniques.  Sticking to common sense always helps keep you checked - if your stuck in a rut and your site is a little stagnated - you simply need to inject it with a new lease of life with better content - even if its a retort on an article like this ? Inspiration is everywhere - I think it was Marcel Proust that said - you don’t need to go on holiday - you just need brand new eyes to see everything clearly.  Its around us - we just have to tune into it and kick some common sense into action! Gill -

September 7th, 2008

Неплохой пост, но много лишнего.

January 11th, 2009

Неплохой пост, но много лишнего.

January 11th, 2009

А Вы не задумывались о том, чтобы параллельно завести еще один блог, на смежную тему? У Вас неплохо получается

January 11th, 2009

Some good Tips but I think everyone has there own ways of getting over that slump, and sometimes its a little down time thats required for me. Stepping back for a bit and getting my head clear can usually break my slump.

March 20th, 2009

Good tips.Thanks for sharing…

Flavia Angela
April 2nd, 2009

Спасибо за интересную статью.

April 10th, 2009

Thanks for the advice. Some really usful tips on graphic design that I appreciate. You are right if you are in a lull it is best to leave it and come back again when refreshed.

Trevor Collins
April 18th, 2009

Хорошо пишете. Надеюсь, когда-нибудь увижу нечто подобное и на своем блоге…

May 10th, 2009

Суть в следующем: я хоштел бы узнать про цпну домена и про моишансы на его покупку. Также я хотел уточнить по покоду: входит ли в эту смму сам сайт или нет? Желательно, ответьте в комментариях. А то мыльник батахлит.

May 22nd, 2009

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May 25th, 2009

Да, действительно интеерсно и очень познавательно.

May 31st, 2009

great article!.. really enjoyed reading this and learnt alot from the tips.

web design leeds
June 1st, 2009

great post, very usefull

epc london
June 17th, 2009

Какие слова… супер, блестящая идея

June 20th, 2009

Уже более 2х лет регулярно работаю над этой тематикой и думаю ваши доводы слишком необоснованными

June 25th, 2009

Хм… А мне вот кажется, что минусы в данном случае прилично превосходят плюсы.

August 20th, 2009

Got some real haters here. And some SEO tricks. We’ve all needed inspiration, whether it be coding or imagery.I like cruising other sites or just taking a mind break, or a camping trip into the mountains.

Alaska Web Design
September 1st, 2009

 throw darts throw darts

throw darts
September 8th, 2009

Great article Andrew! I’m in the process of re-designing my website ( so i found it very helpful especially the SEO links :)

September 29th, 2009

Спасибо. Появилась еще одна мысль, но потребует частичной реорганизации моей мысли, займусь в выходные. Скоро поделюсь с читателями блога!

October 2nd, 2009

Don’t forget, if you’re really stuck, collaborate. Sometimes you just need that difference in perspective.

November 25th, 2009

Are you a great thinker?I think so.This is great!

Rubber Wristbands
April 27th, 2010

mira a tu alrededor

April 27th, 2010

Wow… I’m stunned you could do that.

James Smith
May 13th, 2010

Жаль, что сейчас не могу высказаться - вынужден уйти. Освобожусь - обязательно выскажу своё мнение.

May 19th, 2010

You can also check us out for some creative influence.

Pixery Web Gallery
June 9th, 2010

body odor is nasty that is why i always take a bath twice a day.~’,

Adam Moore
June 29th, 2010

I would like to exchange links with your site
Is this possible?

August 2nd, 2010

breast enhancement is very popular these days as more women gets obsessed with large boobs”".

Isabelle White
August 12th, 2010

breast enhancement procedures are getting more and more popular these days~-.

Valeria Kelly
September 30th, 2010

the best teeth whitening agents are still based on peroxides-,:

Andrea Watson
October 6th, 2010

hey i need a help

October 11th, 2010

can any one help me to drive traffic to my site

October 11th, 2010

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