If you ever wondered what you can do to become more efficient in your design work, I have 10 steps that will help you achieve just that. Every designer’s dream is to run an effective, well-organized business with plenty of satisfied clients and customers. However, that takes a lot of effort and while I believe that each of us has our own way of doing things, there are some things worth considering.
1. GET INSPIRED
Inspiration is often taken for granted. It is expected that a designer should always be ready to start working on a new, exciting project with joy and enthusiasm. Of course, things are a little bit different in real life. I find that being inspired is one of the most important parts of being a successful designer. In my experience, it is a driving force to my creativity. Without inspiration, there cannot be motivated and we all need to be motivated to continue doing what we do.
What Inspires You?
The most important question to ask yourself is what inspires you. I often get inspired by browsing through sites like Dribbble and Behance, just looking at the immense talent of fellow designers makes me want to create. I also listen to podcasts which helps me get in a “work” mindset. If you love going through Instagram and Pinterest that is a perfect opportunity to get inspired. Just by following the accounts of your favorite artists can do wonders. Sometimes that is all you need to get your mind in a creative mood.
Maybe you are a more outdoorsy type of person, so let nature inspires you! Whatever it takes for you to feel better about your work, do it.
2. GET EDUCATED IN COLORS
Sounds simple enough, and somehow, it really isn`t. Colors are all around us and they affect us in more ways then we realize. No wonder that they also play a big part in our work. If you don`t have much experience with how colors work together, there are ways to help yourself. Use Moodboards to give you an idea of how to pair colors. The best case scenario would be if you would start creating your own moodboards. Try matching different photos with similar color tones and then extracting those colors from photos to create brand colors. It takes some practice but it is achievable. The reason I am such a big fan of moodboards is that you can have the first-hand experience by creating them. You could read a book about colors, but practice beats theory any day.
3. BE AN EXPERT IN FONT PAIRING
I know, easier said than done, right? I did my research on this one when I was looking for an online tool for font pairings, just to make my life a little easier. What I found was a bit disappointing. There are tools out there, but the pairings that I received from them were not that good. So, once again, you should strive to get better at this with practice. You can learn a lot by just looking at how other professionals pair their fonts. A good example would be these font pairings. If you really need a fast solution to this problem there are some gorgeous font duo`s on Creative Market that will certainly help you get the best possible result with the least effort.
4. KNOW HOW TO CREATE A GOOD COMPOSITION
Good composition is all about balance. Balance in colors, shapes, sizes etc. In design, the composition is very much important, it really doesn`t matter whether you are doing a web design, pattern design, posters, illustration or even if you work as an interior designer. All those creative fields rely heavily on proper compositions.
I am afraid there is no way around this one. In most cases, you will simply need to learn how to observe the art around you. See and feel the balance in architecture, in sculpture, in food on your plate when you go out to a fancy restaurant. Look at your favorite photographers and see what makes their photos so great. I am sure that composition has a lot to do with it. If you struggle with creating beautiful compositions in your social media posts there are some really awesome templates that can help you achieve great results.
5. WATCH OUT FOR TRENDS
I often hear people saying that trends come and go, that they shouldn`t be followed at all. However, if you are a designer, it’s your job to know what trends your industry is facing. Trends are nothing more than the changes that happen around us. We are all part of this world. We can choose to ignore what is happening, but that doesn`t mean that it will happen any less. I am not suggesting that you should follow the trends blindly, far from it. Not every trend needs to be followed, but it is for you to recognize that changes and act on them. Time doesn`t wait for anybody. If you completely ignore what is trending in your field you might lose a lot of clients because they will care about trends.
The meaning of the word trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing. If you think about this, it makes every sense to be informed about what awaits around the corner. It will make you a better designer. Maybe you are concerned that you will lose your signature if you jump on the bandwagon with everyone else but that is not the case. Your originality is at no risk at all. You can be original, unique and in trend.
If you see a trend on the horizon that would fit well with your style of work, don`t dismiss it. Play with it, try to create something new and different from it. This is how trends are made after all. With knowledge and creativity.
6. BECOME GREAT IN PRESENTING YOUR WORK
You are doing great design work but does anybody knows about it? Sometimes it is necessary to put yourself out there, yes, even if you are an introvert. It would be so nice if we could just do what we do best, without all the promotion hustle, but we can`t. At least I haven`t figured out how. As it seems, if you want to have lots of customers and clients you will need to be social and you will have to be ready to promote yourself. This was always the hardest part for me. I was raised thinking that being humble is a positive characteristic to have. Now that may be, but let me tell you, you will have to get over that one fast, cause you will have to speak loudly and proudly about what you do.
The best thing that you can do is build your own website, start a blog and use social media like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to connect with your audience. This is a must, even if you are selling your products on other marketplaces. Having your own site allows you the maximum freedom to create your dream business.
7. HAVE AN AWESOME CUSTOMER SUPPORT
This one is no brainer, things will go wrong now and then. The most important thing is that you fix whatever is wrong fast. Make sure that your customers and clients know how to reach you if they encounter any problems with your products or services. This will go a long way, it is much more enjoyable to work when you know that everyone and everything are taken care of.
8. BE FOCUSED
9. BE CONSISTENT
There is a Jim Rohn quote that sums it up the best “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” I am sure you already knew about this one. It`s one of those things we all know we need to do, but so few of us are really doing it. Nonetheless, consistency is our best friend when it comes to reaching our goals. I will quote Jim Rohn one more time “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” What more is there to say?
10. BE PATIENT
Be patient. Success doesn`t come overnight. It`s very much worth the wait though when it finally comes. By then, you might not even notice that is there. You will just feel good about yourself and about what you do and how your life turned out, that is when you will realize that you are in fact a successful designer.
Collection featured in this post is Her Workspace illustrated Instagram Pack.
Designer/ Illustrator. Creating graphic resources for designers who love to follow current trends and experiment with different design styles