This happens to everyone in the field of creative or designer jobs from time to time. So how do you get out of the rut? Keep these 12 essential books on the shelf in your personal reference library. Read and refer to them as necessary to get your inspiration going and your creative juices flowing again.
1. The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type by Alexander W. White.
One of the causes of your burnout may be that you're trying to put too much into the space you've been given in which to design. Is it all getting too cluttered? Learn how to step back and create using negative space (or white space) in your design jobs. Remember the saying, ''Less is more.''
2. Graphic Design Cookbook by Leonard Koren and R. Wippo Meckler
This book is 100 percent visual and provides thousands of examples you can use to create designer jobs with style by suggesting you take some of the examples you see and mixing and matching them to create fast, but effective layouts.
3. Before & After Page Design by John McWade
This book puts design principles into action, showing you an existing layout and then showing you how to recreate a better layout using that design principle. It's enlightening, educational, and a great way to generate quick and effective ideas.
4. Quick Solutions to Great Layouts by Graham Davis
Tips, techniques, and examples combine to help you get refocused on the design job at hand and create an effective graphic design layout.
5. LogoLounge 3: 2,000 International Identities by Leading Designers
If you're working on lots of logo design jobs and just starting to draw a blank, this book showing 2,000 different logos will give you the inspiration you need. (Also, check out versions 1 and 2 of this book.)
6. How to Think Like a Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
Sometimes it's not just a brain block, it's more than that. It's getting frustrated overall and wondering if you will ever achieve your goals. This book has interviews with other successful graphic designers and describes the obstacles they've overcome in their careers to achieve success. You'll find inspiration and motivation here.
7. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Michael Perry
Ever thought of designing your own fonts instead of utilizing traditional typography? Meet 50 typographers who all do exactly that and you may be inspired to do the same.
8. Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design by Jill Butler, Kritina Holden, and Will Lidwell
The title to this book pretty much says it all. It's inclusive, educational, and motivational.
9. The Designer's Toolkit: 500 Grids and Style Sheets by Graham Davis
You may think you already know how to work with a grid, but this book will challenge you and teach you a thing or two. And it's a workbook you can actually work in.
10. Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Dan Cederholm
Sometimes the frustration comes because you just can't get something on a web site to work right. Learn how to debug your sites for maximum accessibility from all users.
11. Graphic Design as a Second Language by Bob Gill
Bob Gill has written a number of very good books graphic designers can learn from and appreciate. This book is packed full of illustrations, ideas, and examples you can use.
12. Computer Arts Magazine
Though technically not a book, a current subscription to Computer Arts Magazine should be an essential part of every graphic designer's reference library. And keep the old copies. You never know when you'll want to refer back to one of them.