Whether you’re designing a new logo, a new website, a new look for your business, or a new product, clean and effective design is essential. The finished product might be associated with your company for years to come, so you want it to send the right message and support your operations as accurately as possible.
Coming up with an efficient design can be a challenge, though. A lot that goes into the process, and it can pose a substantial learning curve for the many designers.
If your priority is to devise stronger, more effective designs every time you tackle the mission, here are five solid ideas that might guide your way.
1. Use All Available Resources
You’re surrounded by hundreds of resources, both priced and free, that can make designing in any capacity a piece of cake. There are books, libraries, consulting firms, software tools, magazines, video tutorials, and so much more.
An architect, for example, invests in the best tools for producing and visualizing great concepts that will maximize efficiency without inhibiting creative freedom. He or she will use high-tech design software that helps to deliver an excellent product. Without it, an architect’s work would fall below the standard expected of structural designers today.
So the first thing is to draw up a list of resources that can help you maximize your design ideas and effectiveness. The list may vary depending on the project you’re working on at any particular time, but it will help you organize the tools that will result in great design work, no matter what the project might be.
2. Monitor Tasks
If you don’t already have a system for monitoring task production, now’s the time to start. Even if you’re the only one on the project, a monitoring system will make the process easier and more accurate.
It will help you spread the various details over a practical time frame and meet your deadlines, even during your busiest weeks. Monitoring of tasks is best accomplished with the proper software tools.
You can employ apps such as Evernote to save all your documents and notes in one place or Super Notes to record audio commentaries on your progress. A good task management tool will also help you stay on track with the project, especially if you’re working with a team.
Such a system can enable you to allocate tasks among the various individuals, as well as deadlines, time tracking, and messaging to keep everyone on the same page. Try Asana or Trello; both are popular tools that have been helping designers and firms of all skill sets to stay on course.
3. Minimize Distractions
It can be difficult to reach your potential if you don’t allow yourself the necessary time to perfect your skillset and focus your attention. Distractions like social media, your mobile phone, computer games, friendly coworkers, nosy family members, and anything else that may interrupt your work should be minimized.
If you have the flexibility to remove yourself from your customary workspace, give that a try. Going to a coffee shop, working outdoors if the weather permits, or finding another indoor space with fewer distractions may significantly improve your creativity and design process.
If these are not possible, find ways to limit those distractions. You might block certain websites during work hours, such as Facebook and Netflix. You could also let your coworkers know in advance when you need to work without interruption.
Any way you can minimize distractions, you’ll get a lot more out of each design session.
4. Maintain a Tidy Environment
Some designers report they prefer to work in a messy environment, but most creative workers probably do better when the workspace around them is not chaotic. Taking some time to clean up your office may help your creative juices flow by reducing potential sources of stress around you.
On the other hand, you may not want to make it too perfect. According to a study on the tidiness of one’s environment with relation to creativity, a slight amount of clutter can expand your vision. The findings also confirmed, however, that too much mess yielded a negative output.
5. Develop a Project Workflow
There’s nothing worse than those occasions when the scope of a design project becomes so broad that you can no longer complete it in the allotted timeframe or within the projected budget. Experienced designers know this can happen all too readily when a project’s workflow lacks clarity and drive.
Your workflow can be designed according to your needs. A typical workflow includes an orientation meeting, research, multiple drafts, multiple revisions, and the final product.
Communicate that course of that workflow with your clients so they’ll have some advance warning when a project may go beyond the initial parameters, and you might have to bill for the extra time and/or materials.
If you envy designers that seem to maintain a good work-life balance, experience less stress, and repeatedly demonstrate excellent project management skills, the tips for greater efficiency above could be exactly what you need to join their number.