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7 Habits of Highly Efficient Designers

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.

How can you turn out the best results, in the shortest amount of time? It’s a question most commercial designers ask themselves again and again. Because, as we all know (if you’re a professional designer it will be ingrained in your brain), time is money. In business, we aim to stick to a specific time frame and meet a particular budget.

Our three senior designers have this tenuous tight-rope positively nailed. Read on for their top time-saving tips.

1. Have a rough plan before you start

“Try to limit the number of elements you draw or paint,” Kat says. ” If you can create a rough plan for your final design before your start, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need upfront and avoid spending time on pieces you don’t use.”

2. Scan your drawings or paintings at different stages

Maximise the number of elements you can get out of one drawing. “Scan your work when it’s just an outline, then again when it’s been rendered,” she suggests.

3. Manipulate your element

Manipulate your elements in Photoshop to create maximum visual variety.” For instance, experiment with filters, brushes, inverting, and warping. There are so many different ways to make an element look different!

4.  Draw your flower motifs separately (leaves, hero flowers, and ditties)

If you draw individual leaves, a hero flower, and ditties, it will give you more flexibility. “It will help you to move them around in Photoshop and create a whole variety of bunches,” Jo says.

5. Draw half of your ethnic motifs

For ethnics and tribal prints, only draw half of your motifs. “Remember that you can always flip and mirror layers in Photoshop,” he says.


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6. Get all job info upfront

For commission work, make sure you get a fully completed brief from the client before you start.  Send a list of standard questions (do you need it in repeat? to what scale? etc) to ensure you both have a clear idea of the project from the get-go. It will avoid a lot of back and forth and even a redesign if the rules are pre-set.

7. Ask for photo reference

What specifically inspired the client to commission this piece of work? “If you can obtain an image and Pantone references this will save you having to potentially recolour the finished work,” Becky says. The more information upfront, the better!


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