My journey as a work-from-home mom started 4.5 years ago after my first son was born. Like most other mothers in the United States I did not have the privilege of taking a proper maternity leave since my family could not afford for me to be out of work for long. So after a month I found myself learning how to balance being a wife, new mother and now learning how to work from home.
At the time I started working from home I was a full time web designer, designing websites for art galleries located around the world. I loved my job but one of my biggest struggles was adjusting to not being around other creative people. I did not have the luxury of hiring a sitter so I could go into the office once a week or even every two weeks so I had to learn other ways to find inspiration.
Staying Trendy As A Solo Creative
- Looking for inspiration online is important regardless if you are flying solo or working in a team. This is the first thing I do every time I start a new project. It’s important to keep up with current trends as well as see emerging trends to help make sure the brand you are working on is staying current or getting a modern take on a classic design. There are countless websites out there for inspiration such as Dribble, Behance, Creative Market, Google searches, etc.
- If I’m working on a web project I will look at websites that were submitted on siteInspire, Awwards, The Best Designs, and you get the idea. These are great sites because you can see everything from huge brands like Nike to small businesses.
- I think two underrated websites for inspiration are Pinterest and Etsy. I use these sites mainly for my print projects but I have been known to use them for web inspiration as well. I generally use them to check for all my invitations and holiday card designs. I like to see what other people have designed but I also like to check to make sure my idea is a little different then what someone else has already done because let’s be honest there are some great invitations and holiday card designs out there.
- While I was in college at Full Sail University I was taught to begin every project brainstorming. I can’t remember if this has a name or not but basically you take a piece of paper and a pen/pencil and do do quick design overviews. Each thumbnail should take minutes to put together because you can quickly see where you want to go without worrying about all the little details. This is a great method that I still find helpful today.
- I used this method a lot when I was in college but it’s still a great idea today, go to a local book store and look through design books and industry magazines. It’s a great way to get out of the house and get inspired at the same time.
- Sometimes when I hit a design block that I can’t seem to figure out, I will do something creative with my boys like color a page in their coloring book, paint, bake, etc and it generally helps to free up my mind so that when I sit back down to work I am newly inspired.
- There are times when nothing seems to work and when this happens I will take sometime and look at other mediums such as cake designs, art, architecture, travel photos or anything that someone else designed or photographed to try to find inspiration in their project for my project.
- Lastly I like to send my work to old design friends who I know will give me a honest critique that always make my designs better. I don’t do this for every project because I know they have projects of their own but it’s helpful when it’s a big project or I’m just stuck and need some suggestions.
This is my method to staying current and as much as I miss working day-to-day with other creative people I wouldn’t trade what I have for the world. I might work a little harder to stay fresh but these methods work for me. What are some ways you use to stay creative?