The boss comes to you, you have to have a design completed by the end of the day, week, etc. No big deal, right? Until you realize the creative juices just aren’t flowing! Then the panic starts in… How will I finish this? What am I going to do? Where is the inspiration?? AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

How do you get through this?? Check the rest out at,

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If possible, I go back over my notes from the client and analysis of the site. What always frustrated me was having a client say, "Meh, do whatever you want." or not being able to visit the site. Remind yourself that not every project has to be something revolutionary. You can always recycle ideas or find something in your sketchbook that you drew a long time ago but never used. Training in permaculture and sustainable design is also helpful. It gives your work an underlying logic.

I agree that, 'Do whatever you want' is about the worst.  I've also never visited the site for two projects, except by Google, and I've given a retainer back on a job early in my career.  Writing that check was actually a relief.


My father taught me something a long time ago. If you get stuck in a design, just do something and as you work off of it, new ideas present themselves .... even if you wind up undoing what you did when you were stuck.


That was consistent with what he'd say if I were driving and came to a stop sign and ask him "which way?". He'd say, in his thick eastern European accent, "always forward, never backward".

Good advice, I think. Just start drawing and one thing will lead to another.

Also: design does not arise out of divine inspiration from nowhere. It must grow out of the conditions of the site, the functions the site must accommodate and augment, the budget, and any vision the client came with. When the "juices aren't flowing" (ick!) start with the foundation and build. Part of the "creative block" problem is the ego insisting that it must spin gold out of thin air.

when I get bogged down I remember an old professors' advice, as a question,

"what is the simplest solution to the problem?"


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