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Wall of Love

20 Habits & Ideas to Help Any Designer Be More Creative

Key points


  • Keep an inspiration stash using a tool like MyMind. Reach for it when you need inspiration
  • Modify and combine things that inspire you to produce “original” work
  • Keep everything you’ve ever created in one place. Use this to track progress and easily show off your work
  • Write down a design process that you continually build upon. You won’t have to worry about remembering steps
  • Never get attached to anything you create so you can more quickly and easily improve based on feedback
  • Read UX studies to balance out your creative thinking with logical evidence-based knowledge
  • Share any newfound knowledge and creations with the world. This will help you better remember the things you learn

Creative work doesn't just pop up out of thin air. Some simple habits and processes are more than enough to help spark creative ideas. Today we're going over 20 impactful habits you can adopt to be more creative.

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Designers, it's time to face the music: raw talent is nonsense. Your creative mind is honed, not inherent. You simply need to make sure you have a creative process and know how to find & use inspiration to create something original. Everything is just undetected plagiarism after all (shoutout to William Inge for that beautiful one-liner). With that said, it's time to get down to business and start developing the habits that will help you become more creative! In this blog post, we'll list 22 actionable habits that will help any designer hone their creative mind.

These are the secrets of creative people. Let’s go!

Start an inspiration stash. See something you like? Screenshot it and add it to your stash. MyMind & Figma are good for this.

Having an inspiration stash is one of the most important habits for any designer looking to be more creative. By having a designated space for all of the things that inspire you, it becomes much easier to find inspiration when you need it. This can be anything from screenshots of designs you like, to photos of nature, to quotes that resonate with you. The more eclectic your inspiration stash is, the better.

Remember: Nothing is new. Everything is a remix or mashup of things that already exist. So, having a place where you keep everything that you want to someday reference, emulate or model can be super useful.

Screenshot of MyMind app
Via MyMind

Copy things you like

By replicating the work of others, you not only get a better understanding of how they achieved their results, but you also learn what works and what doesn't. This allows you to develop your own unique style over time.

So next time you find yourself drawn to a particular design or piece of art, don't be afraid to replicate it. Then, see how you can put your own spin on it (more on that in the next few habits). This is the best way to learn and improve your own creative skills.

Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest form of learning - George Bernard Shaw
Via azquotes

Modify things you like

Come across a layout you love? Copy the layout but change the typography and color palette. Bam! Just like that you've created something original. Even in just making those typographic and color-related changes you'll end up slightly modifying the layout itself. This is the exact process by which we progress and create new things as humans. Modifying and building upon what's already out there. Master this skill to become more creative.

Take the best of what's already been done and make it your own. Remix it.

Modify already existing designs to create something original
Orange layout by TwoByEight on Dribbble

Combine things you like

This one's similar to the above but instead of simply modifying one piece of work, you find a bunch of different references you love, identify what you find particularly great about each reference, and combine it all to create a crazy mashup of originality. Check out the example below to see this process in action.

We took Zhenya’s layout and combined it with Beans Agency’s color palette. We then changed Beans Agency’s color hue to green and just like that we’ve created something unique.

Combine already existing design to create something original
Via Zhenya Rynzhuk and Beans Agency

Keep everything you’ve ever created in one place

By keeping all of your work in one place, you can track your progress over time and see how far you've come. It’s like a bodybuilder taking weekly progress pictures of their physique.

How else are you going to know whether you’re progressing or not if you don’t keep track of your output over time? Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.”, and I couldn’t agree more.

This exercise is a great way to stay motivated and inspired. Plus, it's always fun to look back on your old work and see how much you've grown.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can create a folder on your computer and save everything there, or you can use a cloud-based storage system like Dropbox or Google Drive. I like to save everything in a folder AND have it all laid out on a canvas (using a tool like Figma or Milanote) so I can more easily scan everything–I like the museum-esque experience of seeing everything side-by-side.

Whichever method you choose, just make sure you're consistent with it.

Figma file with my creations
My creations Figma file

Create a design process that you always follow and continually build upon

Your design process is the foundation of your creative work. By having a solid process that you always follow, you can be sure that your work is consistent, always of the highest quality, and best of all you don't have to worry about remembering it because it's all written down. Peace of mind and consistency–both critical drivers for success.

Plus, as you continue to work on projects, you can continually build upon and improve your process, making it even more effective.

Write down your process! Seriously, try not to be lazy about this. You really don’t want to have to worry about remembering every single step. Give yourself that confidence and peace of mind that you’re not leaving anything on the table by forgetting steps.

My web design process on Notion
Via Deprocrastination

Never get attached to anything you create

This one is hard for a lot of people, myself included. Especially when you’re working on an exciting project and you’re truly proud of your masterpiece. It becomes all that you can think about. It even becomes a big part of the reason you get up in the morning.

But it's so important that you’re able to easily let it go. To be more creative, you need to be more malleable. More flexible.

If you're constantly getting attached to your work, you're never going to be able to improve it. You have to be willing to let go of what you've created in order to make it better.

Be attached and excited about the possibilities.

So next time you're feeling attached to a particular design, take a step back and:

  1. Remind yourself that changing this piece of work is not the end of the world
  2. Now, try to objectively ask yourself if this piece of work can be improved
Dog tied to pole
Photo by Barthelemy de Mazenod

Get feedback on your work

This is another tough one, but it's so important to get feedback on your work from people you trust. This could be a colleague, a friend, or even a family member. The key is to find someone whose opinion you trust and who will give you honest feedback (friends and family love you so it'll be hard for them to be fully impartial. Keep this in mind when reaching out)

It's critical here that your ask is specific. Reaching out to a peer and asking "Thoughts on this layout?" isn't of much utility to both you and the person from whom you're requesting feedback. Instead, you could say something like “Does this web page clearly communicate what the page is about?” or “Does this web page clearly communicate where the user should go next?”

Be specific.

Great feedback on your design work leads to better design work
Via UX Planet

Don’t get offended at feedback

This ties into "Never get attached to anything you create" from earlier. Getting feedback can be challenging for the ego, but it's so important to grow as a creative.

It's always challenging to hear someone say that your work could be improved, but it's so important to take that feedback and learn from it.

If you get offended every time someone offers feedback, then you'll never grow as a designer. You have to be able to take criticism constructively and learn from it. Otherwise, you'll stagnate and your work will never improve.

Keep this in mind: You are not your work. You’re just you.

Woman with annoyed facial expression
Photo by OSPAN ALI

Revisit your old work to see your growth over time. This will grow your confidence.

Looking back at your old work is a great way to see how far you've come. It's a huge confidence booster to see the progress you've made over time and how your consistency and hard work have paid off.

If we’re not engaging in continual growth and progress in life then what are we doing really?

An improved print layout

Remember that nobody knows all the design theory by heart just like how the best programmers still Google things after every few lines of code.

Design theory can be daunting. There's so much to learn and remember, and it can feel like you'll never know it all. But that's okay. You don't have to know everything. Nobody has all the design theory memorized.

Unsure of something? Google it. Use your newfound knowledge and keep it going.

Having to Google a concept (whether simple or complex) doesn’t mean you’re incompetent. If anything, it means you’re resourceful and curious – both incredibly valuable traits to have for any field.

Find out the “why” behind design principles. Be curious.

By understanding why these principles exist in the first place, you can more effectively apply them to your own work. When you know the reasoning behind a design principle, you can use that knowledge to make better decisions about your work and create even better designs.

Furthermore, when you understand the "why" behind design principles, you can also start to develop your own principles. This is an important step in becoming a more creative designer. By creating your own principles, you're setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack and showing that you truly understand design.

Balance out your creative thinking logical, evidence-based knowledge.

Read UX studies (nngroup & Baymard Institute are my favorites)

Designers can benefit a lot from reading UX studies from websites like and These studies offer a lot of great insights into how users interact with designs, and they can thus help designers create better experiences for their audiences.

As was mentioned under the previous heading, as a creator, you should always strive to maintain a balance between your creative thinking and logical, evidence-based thinking.

Screenshot of the nngroup website
Via Nngroup

Share your creations with the world (Social media is good for this).

Simply intaking knowledge never leads to retention. Retention is what we’re after. You want to be able to apply anything you learn to any future endeavour. Otherwise, you wasted time learning it in the first place. Time that you could’ve used to do or experience something else.

Sharing your work with the world is the best way of retaining what you learn. One must apply themselves to truly process and hold onto knowledge. When you share your work, you're putting it out there for people to see and judge. This can be a tough experience, but it's the tough experiences that make things stick. This is why sharing your work publicly is a great way to learn.

Try to make it a habit to take the things you learn and put them into practice. Doing this will embed that knowledge in your brain. The more you do this, the better your output and creativity. So go out there and share your work with the world!

Instagram account of Rachel from Moka Brand Studio
Rachel from Moka Brand Studio does this very well

Give yourself less time. Set a deadline for sharing what you’ve just learned.

When you have a deadline looming, you'll be forced to come up with creating and applying your knowledge quickly. You'll be less likely to procrastinate. We all know just how detrimental procrastination is to growth.

Make setting a deadline for sharing new knowledge a part of your learning process.

In fact, if you can make everything in your learning process measurable (tracking your progress) and time-bound (setting deadlines), you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

Deadlines aren't bad. They help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. They make you get going when you may not feel like it.
Via azquotes

Never give yourself enough time to sit there and second guess yourself.


A woman pondering and thinking
Photo by kevin turcios

It’s all about having the right systems and processes in place. Find someone with good credentials and steal their systems.

You never want to have to worry about remembering the steps to do anything. Have a protocol for everything. Better yet, steal someone else's (someone with skin in the game preferably) and make it your own over time. Individualize someone else’s process.

Having a process makes it so much easier to get to work (since you know you can just "blindly" follow steps) and you'll move faster since you won't have to worry about pausing and trying to recall steps in your process.

Create templates, checklists and processes with your learnings. You’ll be so glad you did.

Font sizes template for typography in web design
Build your own checklists, templates, and frameworks

Subscribe to inspiring newsletters (ProductHunt, Creatorfuel, DESK Magazine)

I'm subscribed to a multitude of inspiring newsletters, but my top 3 are ProductHunt, DESK Magazine by Tobias Van Schneider, and Creatorfuel (by yours truly).

I spend 5-10 mins every morning skimming through all of my newsletter subscriptions and always end up finding a handful of things to save to my inspiration stash.

Screenshot of Tobias Van Schneider's newsletter landing page
Via Tobias Van Schneider

Remember that everything is just undetected plagiarism (via William Inge)

This beautiful quote by Austin Kleon is simply a reminder that unique work and creative minds don't just pop up out of thin air. They're mere iterations or combinations of things that are already out there. Let this reassure you. Let the process of finding and using inspiration be an integral one in your creative procedures.

Instagram post by Dan Romero showing you how to use inspiration
Full post by Dan Romero here

Learn how to take from something completely unrelated. Always be on the lookout for cool inspo.

A reminder to keep your head on a swivel even when you're away from your laptop.

Anything and everything can provide inspiration

I'm starting to sound like a broken record here but once again: Creativity is all about taking disparate ideas and fusing them together to create something new. This can be done by looking at things from a different perspective, or by combining elements that wouldn't normally go together.

The important thing is to keep an open mind, and to always be on the lookout for inspiration. It can come from anywhere, so never stop exploring!

The Netflix website's colors are inspired by typical movie theatre colors
Instagram post by Ismail Elazizi

By having a creative process that includes finding and using inspiration, sharing their work with the world, and doing so under pressure, designers can hone their skills and create unique experiences for their audiences. With a bit of effort, any designer can become more creative and produce original work.

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I share tips & tools every creator should know.
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“I'm floored by how much content you deliver in these emails. Again, thank you!” -Lindsey O.
weekly redesigns
Learn design through redesigns
Every Tuesday, I redesign something you send me and explain my exact thought process
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
“I'm floored by how much content you deliver in these emails. Again, thank you!” -Lindsey O.

Fresh Youtube videos



Have you forgotten about the fundamentals?

I’ve learned that no amount of coaching, fancy apps, “creativity hacks & tips” etc, will make up for:

  • Subpar sleep
  • Low vitamin D3 (lack of direct sunlight exposure)
  • Lack of movement (sports, resistance training, cardio)
  • Poor diet (macro and micronutrients)
  • Nonexistent stress management

Get these right first.

They are the highest impact things you can do.

Ignoring these is like a student ignoring the fundamental concepts needed to ace an exam and instead focusing on color-coding their notes, using fancy study apps, and organizing their study space with intricate decorations.

Master the basics. Everything else falls into place. full post
Aug 15, 2023

Nonfiction books are too long

Most nonfiction books should've been 1000-word articles.

I find myself abandoning a lot of books right around the 25-30% mark.

Not because they're bad, but because I fully get the gist by that point and it's right around when the repetition of examples and ideas begins.

I'm okay with abandoning a book midway now. Just a couple years ago, I would power through the whole thing in fear of missing out on some crucial ideas in the later chapters.

Now, I just have fun with it. If it piques my interest, great – I'll buy it, read the chapters that seem interesting, get what I came for and move onto the next one.

I think a lot of these authors are just trying to meet some sort of quota. I dunno.

There's elegance in brevity. full post
Aug 14, 2023

A note on this weird cold plunge trend

So many of these "gurus" telling us to take cold showers and cold plunges 😂 😂

If you’re tired all the time:

  • Go get your bloodwork done and see what you’re deficient in
  • Get outside. Get some damn sun
  • Sleep well
  • Use your mind to build something – It'll energize you

Stick to high-impact basics. These little micro-optimizations aren't going to change anything.

Enjoy your hot showers 🔥🚿 full post
Jul 21, 2023