Overcoming Creative Blocks

A friend of mine shared a Button UX Design article. I’m gonna do something different here, the following is a kind of free writing exercise about something that struck me as odd and was bugging me. Here it goes…

“This article got me thinking about a specific design convention that has bugged me since its emergence.  Material Design tries to simulate real life behaviour and physics through the idea of *materials* on *layers*, which is great. When you interact with anything it raises the object into focus and it makes sense that its outer shadow increases. *But* the thing that bugs me is when you press something the shadow of the button becomes larger instead of it being smaller, non-existent, or even showing an inner shadow right? Their convention is that when a UI element becomes active it should lift itself from the other layers to become more prominent. I guess one could think of Material Design buttons as sticky buttons that activate when pressed, it sticks to your finger, raises or transforms itself, and the action occurs once it is released, instead of when it’s pressed down. Now that I write this it makes sense. Material Design is heavily influenced by and really all about material transformation, vs real life physics mimicking. I’ll have to read through their docs again to see if they clarify this.”

Well, this text is not only about button design but it also shows how I like using writing as a way to force my thoughts to emerge. This reminds me about a topic presented by a grad studies colleague on whether you think and write your thoughts, or you write to think and generate new thoughts?

This also reminds me of a creative writing exercise from way back where we would try to create a story by writing non-stop for 15 minutes. Try to make it a story but just go with your flow. It’s called free writing and I’m sure most people have done this at some point.

As I’m trying to improve my design skills, I’ve been noticing that part of being creative is about connecting the unconnected, showing meaning of what you come up, then simplifying it for presentation. Similar to free writing when creating buttons and icons, think about a theme, search the theme on Google for images, then freehand draw as many things around that theme and what you need to be themed. This really gets your mental muscles warmed up and start drawing on pen and paper to generate new thoughts that could later be connected. I’ll do this if I’m stuck.

I like writing my ideas down on a notebook, notes app, or mind map app. It helps me to find the connections that I can use in order to dig deeper. Then I step way back and throw away the redundant, inefficient, trendy, and unnecessary stuff.