8 Productivity Tips for Graphic Designers

Productivity is essential to graphic designers. This is true whether you work as an in-house designer with tight deadlines or as a freelancer trying to balance multiple clients while you run a business. Improving your overall productivity won’t happen overnight; it requires a series of good habits and being self-aware about areas that require improvement on your part.

Here Are 8 Productivity Tips for Graphic Designers:

Use Photoshop (or Creative Cloud) Libraries To Organize Your Assets

One of the great power features of Adobe’s Creative Cloud vs. the older Creative Suites is the ability to use Libraries to organize assets without the need to use outside programs. This means that if you have branding assets for specific work that you’re doing (e.g. logos), you can organize these assets across various Adobe applications like Photoshop and InDesign.

Standardize Naming Conventions and Assign Tags

By standardizing your file names it will be easier to organize your assets and identify them at a glance. It also means that anyone else who you are collaborating with or providing files to will be able to easily understand and interpret your files. By tagging (using Finder in Mac, Explorer in Windows, or Adobe Bridge in either) you will have an easier time searching for them on your computer when needed.

Create or Purchase Templates for Frequent Project Types

Templates are something that many designers debate about. In-house designers in particular can benefit from templates as they are frequently in situations where productivity and practicality trump originality. Additionally you can create your own templates for internal use when you know that there are assets you need to frequently generate. For example, creating your own template system with sizes for all of the social media platforms you use can be a huge time saver. The same is true if you produce Google banner ads.

Use a Project Management System When Working With Clients

When working with clients or even within a company, a project management system can help you to keep everyone accountable and ensure that everything is documented. This can help make communication clear and keep the assets for the project organized in one place. Basecamp is one of the more common project management systems used among creative services professionals.

Set Strict Time Constraints for Meetings and Phone Calls

While this may seem counterintuitive, giving strict time constraints is essential. People tend to fill the time they are allotted. If you set a time constraint for a client call to 15 minutes, they will likely communicate everything they need to in that time. You can leverage these time savings to execute on projects and ensure you’re meeting your deadlines.

Avoid Distractions When Working on Deadlines

Distractions are a reality that you will need to address, particularly when on a deadline. If you are not working on a web design project, consider disabling the WiFi on your computer to avoid being distracted by the internet and notifications. Placing your other devices such as your smartphone and tablet on the other side of the room can also help you focus while allowing you to still have access to them if needed.

Customize Your Workspace for Speed

By customizing your workspace within your applications and being aware of your shortcuts you can increase your productivity dramatically. This can allow you to have the tools you rely on immediately at your disposal and avoid wasting precious seconds hunting for them. In the Adobe applications there are preset workspaces that can be very useful, but customizing these to suit your everyday needs can be even more efficient.

Create Standard Practices for Your Design Work

Setting a standard for how you approach your work is important. When you know the rhythm of how you work develop consistency you can avoid mistakes and maintain a higher standard of quality across your projects. As you continue this pattern you will also see incremental gains in speed as you develop productive working habits.

Posted on: December 4, 2015

Roberto Blake

Roberto Blake is a Graphic Designer helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses improve their branding and presentations. Roberto also teaches Graphic Design and Adobe Tutorials through his YouTube channel and community. Roberto's Photoshop artwork has been featured in publications such as Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative Magazine. See robertoblake.com

1 Comment on 8 Productivity Tips for Graphic Designers

  1. Good stuff man!

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