The Importance Of Inspiration In A Creative Role: Top Tips To Find Inspiration & Overcome Creative Block

By Faye Baxter

June 11, 2024 10 min read

Home / Design / The Importance Of Inspiration In A Creative Role: Top Tips To Find Inspiration & Overcome Creative Block

Ahh, the enemy of anyone and everyone in a creative role…the dreaded creative block! Whether you’re a writer, artist, graphic designer, or musician, reaching a creative dead-end and running out of inspiration can make you feel like throwing in the towel.

But, when the idea pool seems to have dried up, what can we do to find inspiration and get those creative juices flowing once more?

In this guide, I dive deep into the how, what, where, when, and why of creative blocks. I identify some of the different types of creative blocks and uncover how finding the right inspiration is so crucial for working past blocks to your creativity. 

My design team also reveal their go-to solutions and online fallbacks for dealing with design blocks to help you bounce back the next time you face up to a creative block.

What is a creative block?

Creative block is the inability to access internal creativity. It’s a time when productivity is reduced, creativity is limited, and it can be frustrating (if not stressful) for the individual experiencing it. 

The term ‘creative block’ is an extension of ‘writer’s block’ – the phenomenon that writers have documented for centuries but that first gained a name in 1940s America. 

Any author, whether they’re a New York Times bestseller or a university student writing their course essays, can experience writer’s block, and the same goes for creatives. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 years of experience under your belt or you’re just starting out in a creative role; creative block can strike anyone at any time!

What causes creative blocks?

Many factors can cause creative blocks. No two creatives and no two creative roles are the same, so it makes sense that the root causes can differ from case to case. 

Some of the main things contributing to creative blocks include:

Routines and fixed mindsets 

All creatives in both agency and in-house roles work in fast-paced environments where there’s a need to adapt to working to tight deadlines. We are time-limited but still want to produce the best possible results, so we look for ways to streamline processes out of necessity. It’s easy to find a routine that works and stick to it, approaching tasks from the same angle repeatedly. 

This way of operating means we end up working on autopilot, though; doing things because we remember a procedure rather than thinking about them critically. It means we stop ourselves from seeing a task in a different light and try to force a square-shaped brief into a circular hole.

Solution: Wondering how you can break this cycle? Challenging yourself to approach a brief from an alternate perspective could open up new possibilities otherwise missed. You can also ask colleagues (even those from other departments) how they’d approach a brief – seeing things through new eyes can be a game-changer.

Work habits

Working late, not taking breaks, and having too many distractions around you can severely disrupt the creative process and stop you from fully getting into the creative zone. 

Of course, with tight deadlines often being the norm for creatives, many of us feel like we can’t take the breaks we need to let our minds breathe. Ultimately, though, this is going to lead to burnout, and both our creativity and passion for our work will dwindle.

Solution: Can you set short timeslots for focus and limit distractions? For example, turn off your notifications, shut yourself in a quiet space, and take breaks away from your screen. This can be an excellent opportunity for ideas to make their way into your subconscious, even if you’re not actively thinking about the task waiting for you on your return. 

Emotional aspects

Doubting yourself and your abilities, even when you have completed many similar tasks previously, can be limiting, leading to frustration, anxiety, and even a loss of passion. 

Really, this is a type of imposter syndrome, so might arise if you work in a particularly skilled team or if you’ve received some not-so-positive feedback on a past piece of work.

Solution: Try to be kind to yourself, practice self-compassion, and realise that it can be a natural part of the process. Do not let setbacks dishearten you. Overcoming creative blockers of this sort is a testament to being passionate about your craft and having a solid willingness to succeed. 


Feeling overwhelmed with the complexity or quantity of work on our tables can be daunting, causing us to panic and be less productive overall. This panic can mean we struggle to pay full attention to the task at hand, leading to the work we produce not being up to our usual standard. 

This can become a bit of a vicious circle. The quality of our work slips, so we receive more requests for amends, leaving us with even more tasks on our plates.

Solution: Try to see where you can break your projects down into more achievable chunks. This will help you overcome the stress of such an enormous task and bring focus and calm back. Plus, who doesn’t love ticking a long list of ‘to-do’ tasks off at the end of the day?


A communication breakdown can put a real stopper to a project. Maybe the brief you’ve received doesn’t include the information you need or has been explained poorly by the person or team requesting your skills.

Whatever the reason, an absence of effective communication can turn collaboration into dysfunction. Getting everyone on the same page and ensuring complete understanding across all involved teams is crucial for enabling you to exercise your creativity in full.

Solution: Communication is a two-way thing. What questions can you ask to understand better and make progress? Can the project be briefed in an alternative way that works better for you? Don’t be afraid to ask.

The relationship between inspiration and creativity

Inspiration is the spark that ignites an idea, a powerful force that drives an individual forward with a creative concept. There is no set source from which inspiration strikes; everyone finds it in different places, and it can often strike and catch you off guard.

Inspiration fosters creativity by evoking an open mindset and a willingness to solve problems, develop innovative solutions, and run with evolving ideas. 

Why is inspiration in a creative role so important?

Inspiration plays a pivotal role in the creative process; it fuels the creative process, creating a catalyst for innovation and originality and infusing projects with fresh takes and new outcomes. 

Creativity thrives on the infinite possible outcomes, and a temporary creative block doesn’t mean there is no solution; it’s that you haven’t found it yet.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

How to overcome creative block, top tips for finding creativity from inspiration

We all have different approaches on how to beat creative block, and with the design team at Digitaloft having so many unique creative talents, I set about asking them for their top ways to get inspired and re-connect with the task at hand! See if any of these sound familiar to you.

“When I get a creative block, it’s often because I’m looking at a blank screen/page/canvas. To combat this, I’ll start by finding ways to get inspired from various places (online, day-to-day life, other creatives…the list could go on!) and filling the page with what I’ve found. 

This looks different for every project but can involve covering the page in colour, a collage and/or shapes. Then, once the page isn’t looking stark white, I find the ideas and designs start forming naturally.”

Rachel, Creative Designer

“If I’m struggling to find the correct route to take with a piece of design, I’ll generally have the seed of an idea somewhere – lurking in my brain amongst the general knowledge too useless to help in even the most tedious pub quiz.

I’ll often look at sources of inspiration, such as tutorials on what I’m working on, whether static graphs or motion design. Seeing how people solve the mechanical aspects of a problem helps me step back and focus more on the artistic/design side, and occasionally I accidentally learn something.”

Gra, Motion & Creative Designer

Creativity feeds into us from all aspects of life, not just through the screen.

Physical experiences influence my designs and get rid of design block. A walk in the Lakes gives me that refresher; stepping into a different environment energises me and gives me that fresh pair of eyes.

I travel to different places, taking in the culture, colours, and architecture. For example, during a recent holiday in Porto, the detailed blue Azulejo tiles on every building inspired me to pick up a pen first, explore the depths of the pattern, and pay more attention to detail in my designs.

Open your eyes to the world around you, whether travelling to a different country or taking in the serif font and smooth matte packaging of a packet of marshmallows. Inspiration can be found anywhere, even in a supermarket meal deal.

Melissa, Creative Designer

“I like to look through Pinterest & Instagram regularly and save posts and videos that could be used and adapted in future campaigns. When I have a list of ideas/styles I want to try going into a new project, I don’t often get creative block as I have a bunch of ideas on the backburner that I’ve been wanting to try out. 

However, if none of the ideas/inspiration I’ve collected are suitable for the project, I’ll mess around and try some things, and I often end up with a ‘happy accident.”

Jack, Senior Designer

“We are all guilty of finding a particular process to how we work and sticking to it, creating a continual routine, which becomes a habit. This means we are not always exploring all creative routes because we’ve found a way to streamline and achieve the end result faster.

I like to break this cycle when it starts feeling repetitive and approach the creative task in a new way – from a new perspective, breaking the habit and expanding my creative thinking.

Recent instances where this has helped have been trying new creative pursuits away from the screen and learning new skills in design programs. Both are breaking the cycle and opening up more possibilities and knowledge for all future projects!”

Faye, Head of Design  

Final thoughts

Being in a creative role can be so rewarding. Embracing a creative brief, whether with guidelines or complete freedom, is thrilling, and crafting something entirely new that didn’t exist is an enriching experience. 

We all want to be challenged, progress and do better for ourselves and our careers. Inspiration plays a pivotal role in expanding our ideas, and the more we open ourselves up to possibilities, the broader our mindsets become and the more it shows in our work.

Understanding when creative blocks hit and recognising their significance is essential to overcoming getting stuck in that rut. Pushing past the creator’s block fosters personal growth and nurtures a sustainable creative practice. By acknowledging creative block as a natural part of the process, you can cultivate resilience, self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of the creative journey!

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