Time isn’t everyone’s friend. Design projects, especially if you’re juggling multiple ones at once, can take more time than initially desired, so being able to utilize your time wisely is incredibly important. Whether you’re new to graphic design or not, time saving tips are important to remember because nobody wants to find themselves rushing. Take note of these tricks so that you don’t find yourself caught in a time crunch.
Don’t get caught in a time crunch again. Try these graphicdesign tricks to improve work efficiency.
1. Create a checklist.
First things first, get your priorities in line. Make a mental map of the stages you’ll have to go through when creating this design, and how much time you may be spending completing each one. Make a list of important pieces that you’ll need to see completed, and check them off as such. Perhaps start with research, follow through with crucial design steps and end with revision. Make a goal to complete a certain number of checkpoints every day until the design due date.
2. Sketch it out first.
Sometimes, it’s much easier to have everything out in front of you before you dive into the big stuff. Sketching a template or rough draft of what you want to put on screen can save you a lot of revisions and is generally faster than just jumping in and editing as you go. Most importantly, you’ll have a solid idea and image of what you want to create before you are in too deep and have to backtrack.
Need a healthy dose of inspiration first? Try taking a peek at design blogs, or even checking micro-blogging websites like Pinterest to get your creative juices flowing.
3. On Photoshop, create adjustment layers to prevent mistakes.
Creating a sufficient amount of layers is a no-brainer for many designers. However, what if you’re testing the waters on a new addition to the design? This is where adjustment layers come in. Adjustment layers allow you more control over the appearance of the layer and it prevents you from having to adjust everything if you decide to scrap this particular idea. To create an adjustment layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > and select the desired adjustment. The layer is applied as a mask over the original, so you can see your edits without actually doing any changes to the original. Nice!
4. On InDesign, create your own custom color swatch library.
This trick can be especially useful if you’re creating designs for the same business and want to maintain consistency. To make your own swatches, start by opening your swatches panel (Window > Swatches). Select multiple at once by holding Command (Mac) or Control (Windows) and selecting the swatches you want grouped together. After the swatches are selected, click on the New color group button at the bottom of the panel. Once your swatches are arranged, click on the swatch panel options button, and save the swatch library. Viola! You can now go back to use particular swatch groups by clicking by clicking the swatch panel options button again and clicking open swatch library.
5. Utilize keyboard shortcuts.
If you’re trying to up your design speed, perhaps its time you started using those keyboard shortcuts. Depending on the computer you’re using, keyboard shortcuts vary, but can be easily found next to certain commands on Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Write a short “cheat sheet” to keep by your desk while you’re working on a design using shortcuts for commands that you use the most often. Every designer’s best friend is the shortcut for “undo,” which can be easily executed by holding Command + Z (Mac) or Control + Z (Windows). You can even create your own keyboard shortcuts. To do this, simply click Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Program Name (ex. Photoshop) > Keyboard Shortcuts (Mac). Become more efficient with your designing by memorizing a good handful of keyboard shortcuts, your future self will thank you.
6. Use stock images.
If you’re not a photographer, or don’t have the time to hire a photographer or do it yourself, you can’t go wrong with stock images. Stock images, like the ones found on Creative Outlet, allow you to pick and choose the right photograph, illustration or graphic for your design needs. Browse thousands of photos at your fingertips until you locate the perfect image for your design. They’re high-quality, versatile and can help cut some time off of your project if you planned to do the photographing yourself.
Slow and steady may win the race, but being utilizing shortcuts and avoiding future mistakes can prevent you from spending all of your time revising. Try incorporating these graphic design hacks into your work, you may find that you are working more efficiently!