5 creativity exercises to advance your design skills and career

Find out exercises that never get old as well as potential use cases

readymag blog_5 creativity exercises to advance your design skills and career

High-growth brands see creative thinking as vital, but only a quarter of people think they're really nailing their creative potential. So what's the solution? Let's dive into five exercises that can ignite your creative spark, sharpen your design skills, and even give your design career a little jumpstart.

Five exercises to boost your creativity

Daily doodle challenge

Set aside 10 minutes each day to doodle whatever pops into your mind. This exercise helps unlock your creative thinking and can lead to unexpected design solutions.

Use case scenario: Imagine you're a graphic designer facing challenges in creating original logos. By dedicating 10 minutes each day to random doodling, you might find that these sketches ignite new, creative ideas. For instance, a simple leaf pattern could unexpectedly inspire an innovative logo for an eco-friendly brand. This daily practice could be the key to overcoming creative blocks.

Dive into “Expand your color spectrum: 4 exercises from design teachers + suggested films” for creative color exercises used by expert design teachers, along with film recommendations for extra inspiration.

Restriction design

Сhallenge yourself to create a design with limited resources or guidelines, such as using only two colors or a single font. This constraint is not a hurdle but a springboard for innovative thinking and versatility.

Use case scenario: If you're a web designer who usually uses many colors and fonts, try limiting yourself to just two colors for a website project. This challenge might seem restrictive at first, but it can push you to find new ways of using space and contrast. The end result could be a sleek, modern design that highlights content and usability, showing the importance of simplicity and focusing on the user.

Curious about more ways to spark creativity? Learn how to easily come up with fresh concepts in our article “Unlocking ideas: 6 frameworks for design brainstorming”.

Reverse engineering

Pick a design you admire and try to recreate it from scratch. It's a way to get inside other heads and boost your design skill set. 

Use case scenario: Consider a situation where you, as a graphic designer, choose a famous movie poster you admire and attempt to recreate it. Concentrate on understanding the original layout, typography, and color choices. This process can lead you to discover new design techniques and understand the rationale behind certain design decisions.

AI as your design partner

Start with a project and apply AI tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, or built-in plugins to rethink elements, from color schemes to layout composition. These tools help you see firsthand why web design skills benefit you in the workforce, offering fresh approaches you might not have considered before.

Use case scenario: Imagine you're a designer working on a startup's website. Try using an AI tool to create new color schemes and layout templates from your ideas. The AI could suggest unique combinations you hadn't considered, resulting in a better design. This exercise not only improves your current project but also gives you new ideas for using color and layout in future work, showing how AI can really change the game in design.

Collaborative creativity

Join forces with other creatives and watch how this exercise brings a burst of new ideas and perspectives to your design career.

Use case scenario: Let's say you're a UX designer working with a graphic designer and a content strategist on rebranding. Your role is user interaction, the graphic designer takes care of visuals, and the strategist works on messaging. Working together not only creates a comprehensive product but also expands your design perspective, highlighting the strength of collaborative creativity.

Check out “8 productivity tips for creatives and designers” for simple strategies to stay on top of your career without burning out.

In the fast-paced design world, you're always on a learning curve. Especially when it's about beefing up your graphic design skills for a resume or shining in the workforce. So give these exercises a whirl, and let them inject a bit more creativity into your work, making you an even more valuable asset as a designer.