Apply These 17 Secret Techniques To Improve Graphic Designers (To-Do List )
Commit to driving your graphic design business forward and excelling it, whether you are a beginner, working for a creative company, wanting to start a business, or being a seasoned professional. Using this as a skills checklist that you need to learn or develop in 2020.
Plan your time–
I’ve harped on this many times but you’ll be swimming against the current without a time-planning (management) program. Use any system that works for you, such as a Franklin-Covey system, a PDA, a software solution, or a spiral notebook, but always use it.
Organize Your Design Files–
Trying to find your digital assets will waste a considerable amount of time. Commit to seeking a solution such as Portfolio Extensis, MediaBeacon, Canto Cumulus. If you don’t have a system in place it WILL take some effort up front (organizing, creating keyword definitions for and file, etc.) but save you loads of time and aggravation trying to locate files.
Update your Portfolio and website–
If your online portfolio (you have one, right?) hasn’t recently had a facelift, it’s time to schedule this vital mission. Nothing is more important than the work that you are producing and how this work is presented. First, do some research to see how your portfolio stacks up to others and use your research to get additional ideas for the layout.
Delete your old weird named email address–
start using a valid email return address that includes your name and the name of your website. Avoid using yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and other free email services that inform the user that you’re an “amateur” designer
Upgrade your Computer with a better model–
Do not be hobbled by an obsolete program. If your machine is over 3 years old, you don’t have Firewire ports or have less than 1 gig of RAM, it’s time to update. With a quicker, more powerful computer, you will get more accomplishments.
Invest in a good and comfortable chair for your work area–
A poor chair in more ways than one can wreak havoc on your body. Check a lot of them, and spend as much as possible. You won’t believe a good chair will make any difference in your life.
Back up all your design files–
your life is your files so please take time to back up your files. Horror story after horror story abounds with those who have lost their data for the better. In my experience to focus on implementing a backup program is nice to take a full day-no matter, just do it!
Use SuperDuper ($27.95), SilverKeeper (free), iBackup or something like that. Mac to backup your files to an external drive, then use Mozy, Crashplan or MediaMax to back up your devices remotely in the event of a catastrophic loss. Many of these online plans hover about $5 a month (which is a great value for your data being stored remotely)
Attend at least one one ar two professional training conferences or courses this year–
You allow yourself the time and space to learn the content by attending a training conference in person. Whether it’s a Photoshop class, a management training or something else gives you the “total immersion” learning experience (with the very important networking bonus)
Attend at least two trade shows–
take the opportunity to skip the workplace to visit several trade fairs. They can be MacWorld stuff, printing shows, paper shows or others. You can find goods, equipment or services that you can use in your company when visiting the trade shows.
Inventory all of your business forms–
take time to check the documents and ensure that they are up to date. These include forms such as a creative brief, terms and conditions, pricing, invoices, agreements with freelancers etc.
Make a system for ordering and capturing names–
I wish this had been done from the start so don’t make that mistake. Start some kind of program to gather information about your clients and potential customers. You can start with anything-a Rolodex, a notebook or an all-out program like Filemaker or Daylite but get into the habit of documenting the address of the name, the telephone etc. That’s the most valuable commodity for your businesses.
Study one “other software” you’re not familiar with outside of your primary discipline–
whether you’re a print designer learning how to use flash or Final Cut or Adobe Premier and if you’re a graphics motions professional studying In Design or Illustrator! You get the picture. It will open you up to whole new worlds-several that you will want to explore further.
Maintain a proper list of project ideas–
start writing down your ideas for design, product ideas, commercial ideas, ideas for websites, etc. Those ideas will turn into your Goldmine. Whether you are using a sketchbook or a computer or a PDA or a voice recorder, start trusting and recording your ideas and hunches (do not think too much). And think about how by designing projects you can bring those ideas to life.
Connect with others –
Yeah, that means you get out of your office and mingle. The most important thing about networking is that it has to be carefully prepared and thought about. By clearly identifying your target targets you will scan for ONLY those appropriate events. Get to know the main decision-makers and discover what kind of activities THEY attend. Also, make it a point to plan this way when you make an appointment with yourself it is mentally more difficult to cancel.
Manage your font collection –
Could get sticky. But any standard font utility system will do like SuitCase or Font Agent Pro through other solutions such as the Font Book of Mac OS X, or free solutions such as the excellent Linotype FontExplorer X, Font Safari or Font Sampler. Keep an eye out in upcoming posts and screencasts as the Designer’s inner circle will discuss Font Management.
Maintain creative capital–
To maintains the flow of creative juices provides an environment in which you can succeed. I know it’s not always that easy (especially when working for a company) but surrounding yourself with creative “triggers” like the music of all kinds, Your favourite books of design, fascinating objects, visual imagery and other 2D visual concepts, inspirational quotes and other personal memories that activate states of mind that you want to access regularly.
Develop better communication skills–
This is one quality that I wish I had worked much earlier on. Communication skills may or may not appear to weigh very high on the list of skills, but let me tell you-they ‘re WAY up there. If I had my way I would pull people to a Toastmasters class, yelling. This is (by far) one of the best things I’ve ever done and I can’t highly recommend it. Your ability to confide and connect would improve by leaps and bounds (and I expect a related increase in business)
These are a graphic designers to-do list for in 2020 that I think is pretty basic and everyone should follow. So whats your To-Do list for 2020?
Share your comments in the comments section below.