Graphic design is replete with all the health risks and ergonomic requirements that go with any computer-intensive occupation. You have to balance client demands and your own abilities with the physical and mental restrictions of your line of work. Listed here are 7 graphic design tips that will boost your productivity while avoiding some of the occupational hazards that come from being a graphic designer.
1. Sketch Before You Design: In order to spend less time staring at a screen that stares blankly back, get your ideas down on paper first. This will lower your risk of eye strain while concurrently saving time with the software. You never have to undo a bad design or fix a flawed one if you are starting off with a great one.
2. Find Your Niche: It can be tempting to market yourself as a do-it-all graphic designer, but your best tactic is to set yourself up as an expert in a few areas. In this way, you can spend both your work and your research time focusing on those parts of the design world that you are passionate about, allowing you to enjoy every project you take on and establish yourself as a professional in your subfield.
3. Control Your Reputation: You want to be seen as a good communicator who never misses deadlines and delivers consistently high-quality results. This means pacing and organizing yourself. Taking on too many jobs at once will lower your overall quality, while forgetting to set aside time for well-written emails or in-depth Skype conversations can make you seem inaccessible to your client. Set up a task list to keep track of the details not directly related to the actual design part of your job.
4. Get Enough Sleep: Studies have proven time and time again that sleep deprivation causes behaviour normally seen in drunk people. You wouldn’t show up to work drunk and expect to come up with your best work. In the same vein, you will actually be more productive and effective if you get the required amount of sleep, and work fewer – but enhanced – hours.
5. Use Keyboard Shortcuts: Since the majority of your computer work will be done with a mouse or stylus, keyboard shortcuts give specific muscles occasional breaks. They will also cut down on the amount of time it takes to perform a command, since you can click the keys and move the mouse to its next location at the same time. You can even shorten your work day by half an hour or more by using this simple technique.
6. Use Professional Fonts: While free fonts are like candy to graphic designers, many of them are poorly put together. This is not to say that they should be avoided entirely, but it is a good idea to explore and experiment with any new font to make sure that it will perform the way you want it to in a variety of situations.
7. Find the Right Clients for the Right Price: Cost is always a big question among graphic designers and it is a common mistake to charge too little. The best approach to setting up a clientele is to establish yourself as an expert and a professional (see 2 and 3). At this point, you can collect a handful of compatible clients with enjoyable, suitable projects for you personally. They know that you provide the quality and services they need, which means that you can charge them a fair price, keeping your workload manageable and your reputation glowing.