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8 Tips to Avoid Graphic Design Burnout

by | Jan 7, 2015 | Articles, Graphic Design, Tutorials | 2 comments

graphic design burnout

8 Tips To Avoid Graphic Design Burnout

It can be tough owning your own business, and for designers it can be especially tough when you become burned out. Being overwhelmed or burnt out can really stifle your creativity. It becomes harder for you to focus and it can really have a negative affect on your productivity. You will actually get less accomplished when you are feeling burnt out. Here are some tips to help you avoid graphic design burnout.

1. Pace yourself.

I know this sounds like one of those “Well no kidding!” type of tips, but some designers go full blast all day every day, giving each and every day all they’ve got, pulling 14-16 hour days in front of the computer, designing, researching, etc. This might last for a while, maybe even a few months, but eventually it will catch up to you.

2. Learn when to say no.

Turning down a new project can be scary, because some of us live from project to project, but you have to have boundaries. Taking on another project when you are already stressed is only going to make things worse, and you run the risk of not finishing on time. Graphic design burnout is inevitable when you have spread yourself too thin. A missed deadline is a lost client, and if you rely heavily on referrals, then it is more like 2 or 3 lost clients. Keep your workload manageable to avoid graphic design burnout.

3. Hire some help.

If you can’t afford to pay for help with your business, then you might consider offering an internship to local college students. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get some great help. There are several benefits to hiring an intern. One is that they get a great mentor, and you give back to the design community. You will have a lighter workload, and a fresh take on your projects. It is always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Just make sure that you bring in someone who is competent enough to help you with projects, and not someone that you will have to baby sit every step of the way.

4. Take regular breaks.

Sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day, every day can really take its toll on you. You should take a break every 2 hours or so. You should also stretch and walk around a bit. If you don’t, you will experience fatigue, sore muscles, stiffness, and it will be harder to concentrate.

6. Do something fun!

If you’ve ever seen Stephen King’s “The Shining” you know that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” You have to do some things that you want to do. You simply cannot spend day in and day out working, without having some enjoyment. After all, this is the point of owning your own business. You are supposed to work and build your business to the point where you are getting steady work, getting paid what you deserve, and you can set your own schedule. Catch a new movie, take a weekend vacation, create some of your own personal artwork, but the bottom line is enjoy yourself after all of your hard work.

7. Get plenty of rest.

If you work all day and are up all night, chances are good that you are going to wear yourself ragged. If your mind doesn’t get a chance to reboot, then it will never have a chance to form fresh ideas, which is a one way ticket to graphic design burnout. It would be like running a car each day without ever changing the oil. The engine will lock up eventually, and you are going nowhere.

8. Look at other work.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, including traditional artwork such as paintings, sculptures, sketches, as well as product design, fashion, nature, photography and more. Take a look around, stop and observe the world around you, and most importantly, don’t box yourself in mentally.


How do you deal with graphic design burnout? it can be an overwhelming feeling. It can hinder your work and make you dread showing up to work. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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