February 2015

We all feel it sometimes – that sense of dread when we realize that we have creative block, and the ideas just aren’t flowing.  What can you do when this happens to you?  Here are my top 5 ways to boost creativity.

Tip 1: Travel

It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be for long, but nothing boosts me out of creative block like travel. Sometimes, it is a vacation.  Sometimes, it is just a walk.  But getting away from the screen and looking around can sometimes spur the unlikeliest of inspiration. Plus, the sun and outdoors will inevitably give you a mood boost as well.

Tip 2: Look

Look for inspiration – be it google or in art books or in the morning newspaper.  Seeing what other people have created will likely inspire some new ideas of your own.

Tip 3: Play

Don’t be afraid to get all of your ideas down without judging.  Does something about the curve of the typography inspire you?  Try it out and see what happens.  Eventually, playing with different aspects of your project will lead you to a cohesive final idea.

Tip 4: Decorate

Make sure that where you work is a creative space.  My desk is surrounded by type specimens, gifts from friends who travel, famous design sayings and projects in progress. It makes me happy, and that translates into my work.

Tip 5: Relax

Listen to some music.  Do some yoga.  Get yourself in a relaxed mindset and the ideas will be more likely to flow.

Above all, remember – you can do this!  Every creative person struggles with the blank page.  What do you do to help yourself beat creative block?

 

As a designer, I often work with logos provided by my clients.  Sometimes, these logos are older, and the brand guidelines have been lost or never existed.

So what can you do if you don’t know what font a company uses in their logo or brand materials?

One of my favorite resources in this situation is a website and/or app called What the Font?.

What the Font? allows you to upload pictures of the font you are looking for, and uses the characteristics to help you identify the font. It is not always perfect, but it is fairly accurate, and where it is not, it will almost certainly help you to narrow it down.

Another great resource for finding or identifying fonts is Identifont. Identifont has slightly different resources, and lets you identify a font by choosing a variety of characteristics or even typing in a partial name.  I particularly like the ability to identify a font by a symbol.

If you prefer dealing with real people, then Typophile may be the best option for you. Typophile has a specific message board for you to post images of fonts, where they will help you to identify the mysterious characters. Typophile also has a lot of great discussions on using fonts in particular designs, combining fonts, etc on its other forums.

What other great resources have you found for identifying fonts?