How do you face designers block?

Aaron Horkey
Go outside - skate downtown or ride my bike into the wilds. Most of my ideas germinate while mowing the lawn anyway. Fresh air is the answer.

Adrian Shaughnessy
I have the opposite problem. I usually have too many ideas and my problem is deciding which idea is best. Sometimes they are all bad and it takes a lot of courage to tell myself that I’m wrong.

Andrew Blauvelt
Move to the next project.

Dan McCarthy
Sometimes I just need to clear my head. It helps to step away for a few days and do nothing but watch TV/movies, play video games, go outside. Ideas usually come to me when I’m not really thinking about art but when I’m numbly watching TV, drinking a beer.

Ed Fella
I’ve never had it. Sweat until you come up with something. Professionally you can’t have a block. You just have to do it. Now, I just make my own stuff whenever I feel like it. The older I get, the more stuff I want to do. I’m overwhelmed with projects, but not blocked.

Eric Karjaluoto
It’s funny, I just wrote a feature for .net Magazine in the UK on this specific topic. Ultimately I think it all comes down to breaking a project into smaller tasks and just getting down to work.

Evan Leake
I think the only real way to get over a block is to keep working on the project until you have that “a-ha!” moment. Looking at other people’s work is always great too.


Flip Flop Flyin
By staring at a blank Photoshop document for hours, or procrastinating. YouTube is very helpful for that.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf
Doing something totally unrelated - something time and mind consuming

Doesn’t happen.

George Lois
“Designers block”? What the hell is that? Only a lousy designer (if he’s been fed the correct information) can possibly experience not being able to come up with a thrilling idea, anytime, anywhere.

Hula Hula
Sketching like crazy, listening to music, going to a museum or gallery, going through books and magazines not necessarily related to the subject, and surfing the web. Usually bouncing ideas back and forth with other people solves it because it helps me dissect and rethink whatever I have to solve.

Ian Stevenson
Watch TV or go to the outside world. There’s always something good in these places. I listen to people’s conversations. There are some strange creatures out there and sometimes the things they say are truly amazing.

Jeff Domke
When I face designers block, I sit down with a bunch of design annuals and turn to random pages. When I spot something interesting, I ask myself “what technique or big idea did they use here and how can I apply it to my current challenge?” I try to find ideas that are “out of category.” For example, if I’m designing a package, I’ll look at interior design for inspiration. I try to “turn design challenges on their head” to find the least expected, radically honest, solution.

Justin Ouellette
Very poorly, usually. It can be frustrating, but I’ve found the best thing to do is totally disengage from whatever I’m working on and do something else for a couple hours, or even a day. I try to keep my eyes open to problems being solved on every scale (both naturally and by people). I look for inspiration in approach rather than result, and oftentimes I’ll find something that resonates with the problem at hand (at least indirectly).

Lance Wyman
I experience designers block when fear enters into the mix. When a good concept is elusive I experiment with different approaches rather than worrying about it. Design is a process and when I can treat fear as a stimulus rather than a block, it actually helps.

Martin Anderson
What is it?

Milton Glaser
I believe designer’s block is a literary notion.

Rick Valicenti
Look at my doodles. It is one of the visual places where evidence of my subconscious bubbles to the surface.

Wolfgang Weingart
By speaking about design history...

Zoe Bather
See my answer to the last question - sit down with anyone in the studio who’s willing, and have a chat about it over a cup of tea.

< home >

Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at

We are

Find our old blog here