How to Instantly Motivate Your Design Team Out of a Creative Block — part 1


Tried and tested — based on my personal experience being a design entrepreneur.

Design team working together.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The internet is filled with resources that help us learn how to design but very few people talk about management.

Creative block is as real as it gets. Tending to your design team during this time can make or break the project.

Being a creative director, I have spent 5 years trying to be the perfect driver of my agency. I am far from perfect, but the experience has given me many lessons that aided me in running my agency and completing projects.

Here is a sneak peek into what’s coming.

  • Focusing on something else for a while (10 to 30 mins) is sometimes the best strategy for a creative block
  • Napping also takes away the hurdles and a fresh mind can do wonders for your team.
  • Working under you, your teammates sometimes need a little bit of your empathy. Give it to them as a guardian would.

Before I jump into the details, what do you think is the best way to motivate your team out of a creative block? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Oh and, before I forget, I can talk on this topic for hours and don’t want to bore you, so I have decided to break it into parts. This is part 1.

1. Designers should be allowed to take naps

Sometimes, exhaustion is the reason behind a designer’s creative block. And what fights exhaustion better than a nap?

Napping also activates the subconscious mind which can help boost creativity.

Let me put it like this. Eating the same food takes away the excitement and taste from it. The same goes for design. Suppose your designer has been collecting inspiration for 3, 4, or even 5 hours.

There will come a point when every inspiration looks the same to him. His brain won’t be able to process the well of information that it has been bombarded with.

This is the best time to take a nap because when he comes back, his subconscious mind will have produced something new.

Whenever your designer is not feeling it, let them be. Let them take a nap and clear their minds. I mean what is more creative than a fresh mind, huh?

Every office with creative people should have a nap room with a mattress, bed, or even bean bags, for comfortable napping episodes.

So, in a nutshell, napping helps fight exhaustion, activates the subconscious mind, and boosts creativity.

2. Every designer should have a PlayStation

A PlayStation, mug, grapes, monitor, mac and phone on a white wooden desk.
Image: One of my designer’s desks

Being a PlayStation fanboy, I believe every designer should have a PlayStation at his desk. Unless they aren’t a fan (who isn’t?).

Let your teammates take a break and do whatever the heck they want. Shifting the focus to something that they love has always proved to be the best strategy.

People use this regularly but when it comes to office, people are hesitant and scared about the consequences.

For a design team, this brings hindrance to their productivity. Creative people need to be at ease while working. This applies to all creatives including writers, artists, content creators, and everyone who has a thinking job!

You can try other ways of distracting your team. Taking a walk also helps. Interacting with the other teammates can distract and give a new perspective.

At my design agency, I have found that having a PlayStation at each desk helps more than anything else.

3. Empathize with your team

As a creative director, your design team is going to look at you like their guardian. Even if they don’t say it, they want your empathy and your compassion.

So, whenever they are stuck in a creative block, try to empathize with them. Converse with them and try to understand their problem.

There might be many reasons for their artistic limitation. To get them out, understanding the problem is the first step in the right direction.

Maybe they are lacking inspiration, or they are not looking in the right direction. Talk to them and listen to their perspective.

Maybe they haven’t fully understood the brief. Whatever the reason, communing is the best route to take.

Leaving your team to get out of the creative block themselves and not giving them enough space is probably the worst decision you can make for your design project.

My name is Muhammad Usman, and I am the founder & creative director of a brand design agency by the name of Alif-Ya Studio located in Pakistan. My aim is to help not only the creatives but also the businesses that want to become design-driven and escalate their sales. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to help out in the comment section. 🙂

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