Maple Photography


4 Steps to Breaking Free from a Creative Rut

Are you stuck in a creative rut, designing the same thing over and over again? Do your clients feel like they’re all cut from the same Pinterest board? Have you lost the spark that used to ignite your passion for design? Fear not, my fellow designer. You are not alone. I am right there with you. Whilst I absolutely adore my clients and the work we create together, I long for a project that will challenge me and push me beyond my comfort zone. And so, I’m setting myself a challenge starting this May – to create a brand new conceptual portfolio piece every week for six weeks. Join me on this journey and let’s reignite our passion for design together….

Break out of your comfort zone

It’s easy to fall into a repetitive cycle when you’re working with the same type of clients and projects day in and day out. While some thrive in the reliable, the problem with repetition as a creative is that it can lead to a creative burnout and boredom quickly – and that’s the last thing you want as a designer. So, what can you do to shake things up and get out of that rut?

One solution is to challenge yourself with a new project. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking on a new client or even finding extra work – it can simply be a personal project that allows you to stretch your creative muscles. Think about what you’re interested in outside of design – maybe it’s music, or food, or travel. Use those interests as inspiration for a new project. Brainstorm ideas or concepts that excite you and see where they take you. Remember, this project doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s all about trying something new and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or deviate from your usual style. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.

Shake Things Up with New Inspiration

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Where am I going to get inspiration for a totally out-there project?”

Instead of turning to your usual sources of inspiration (yes, I’m talking to you my IG Imeldas and Pinterest Pattys), try looking elsewhere. Go for a walk in nature and take in the colors, movement and shapes around you. Visit a local art exhibit and immerse yourself in the creativity of others. Take a cooking class and explore the beauty in the presentation of food. By exposing yourself to new and different experiences, you’ll be able to bring fresh ideas to your work. And who knows, you might just stumble upon your next big breakthrough.

Switch Up Your Routine

Sometimes, getting out of a creative rut can be as simple as switching up your routine. If you always start your design process by browsing Pinterest or Behance for inspiration, try a different approach. Take a walk outside, read a book related to your industry, watch a Day in The Life vlog by someone who would be a dream client for you, or attend a creative workshop or conference. Doing something different can spark new ideas and help you break out of your usual thought patterns.

Another way to switch up your routine is to work in a different environment. If you typically work from home, try working from a co-working space or a coffee shop. If you work in an office, consider taking your laptop to a park or a library. A change of scenery can provide a fresh perspective and help you approach your work in a new way.

Lastly, consider collaborating with other creatives. Working with someone who has a different skillset or perspective can push you out of your comfort zone and inspire new ideas. Plus, bouncing ideas off of another person can help you see your work from a different angle and refine your designs.

Re-ignite your Portfolio with Concept Work

Sometimes, the answer is staring us right in the face. Bored of your portfolio? Plot twist… your portfolio doesn’t need to be filled with real client projects.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But I don’t have time for that!”, “I have bills to pay!”, “I have a family to take care of!” – believe me, I get it. But hear me out…

By breaking out of your usual routine and comfort zone, you’re showing potential clients and employers that you’re not just a one-trick pony. You have the ability to adapt and think outside of the box and attract clients and projects that light that fire in you again.

So, why not set aside a few hours each week to work on something that excites you?

If you’re ready to break the monotony and get creative with your portfolio, I invite you to join me in my 6 week Portfolio Challenge! Say hello to Portfolio Playhouse – the ultimate destination for designers longing to spruce up their portfolio game (or if you’re an aspiring or new designer, to get a portfolio off the ground to begin with!)

What’s included when you take part?

  • 6 diverse and exciting concept briefs (to push your design abilities and stretch those creative muscles)
  • One project each week, end-to-end, then on to the next (to keep the momentum high and the deadline dopamine higher)
  • A live challenge Heartbeat community (to share ideas, inspiration and outcomes and most importantly, hold you accountable)
  • 3x drop-in co-working zoom sessions each week to dedicate time to working on the briefs (to make your self-development a non-negotiable calendar commitment!)
  • A breakdown at the end of each week sharing how I approached, analysed and executed the brief (I always love to see other designers’ processes and how we interpret briefs differently!)
  • 6 new portfolio pieces by the end of the challenge, ready to show off and expand your enquiries! (creative slump, be gone!)

Get ready to mingle with like-minded designers and create a fresh-from-the-oven portfolio in just 6 weeks. We are starting on May 1st and I just can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with! So, come on board and let’s shake things up a bit. See you at Portfolio Playhouse!

So, there you have it. If you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to feel bored with the same old routine even if you are appreciative of the clients you have, but don’t let that stop you from pushing yourself and trying new things. Give yourself a challenge and see what kind of amazing ideas you can come up with!

Will you take on the challenge? I hope to see you there!

Branding Tips, Creative Business, Portfolio




4 Steps to Breaking Free from a Creative Rut

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