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Finding Direction for Surface Pattern Designers: When Ideas Run Dry

August 28, 2023 - Tags: Mindset, Industry Trends

There’s an inevitable moment in every surface pattern designer’s journey: the blank canvas stares back, and inspiration feels miles away. In this intricate dance of creativity, even the most seasoned designers sometimes stumble upon the dreaded artist's block. But fear not. A dry spell doesn't signify the end of your creative journey. Sometimes, it's the universe nudging you to seek direction in a new way. Here's how industry trends and a few other methods can guide you back.

2. Revisit the Classics

While exploring the current and upcoming, don’t forget the timeless. Sometimes, ancient motifs, vintage patterns, or classical art forms can be the source of fresh inspiration. The essence of the Neo Folk trend, for instance, is a fusion of the old with the new. So dive into the archives, be it through art books, museums, or digital collections. You never know what might click.

3. Collaborate and Brainstorm

Two minds (or more!) are often better than one. Collaborate with fellow designers, attend workshops, or join design communities. Engaging in creative discussions can help you view things from different perspectives and ignite that dormant inspiration.

4. Take a Break

It might sound counterproductive, but sometimes, the best thing you can do is step away. Engage in activities you love, be it hiking, reading, or just relaxing. Let your mind wander. Often, inspiration strikes when you least expect it.

5. Daily Design Drills

Establish a routine where you design something daily, no matter how small or simple. These drills aren't about creating masterpieces but about building momentum. As they say, creativity is a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it gets.


Every artist has moments of doubt and periods of stagnation. But with a mix of seeking contemporary insights, revisiting the classics, and some self-care, you'll find your way back to that vibrant world of patterns and colors. Remember, it’s not about always moving forward but ensuring you keep moving.