I am a free-bird. I am a web designer. I create designs I like. I have the power of expressing my thoughts and ideas. I meet people from different backgrounds, some good some not so good. What drives me to work is the kick I get when others appreciate my designs and keep coming for more.
Like every other thing my vocation has a flip side to it too. I miss deadlines. My designs are subject to extended interrogation before they are finally approved. My clients think that designing is as easy as having an ice-cream! That’s really not true. Besides, its hard to maintain a work-life balance.
If you could read between the lines you would know by now what I am missing. Well, I want to stay a free-bird but not at the cost of others time and money. I recently stumbled upon an article – Death to Design by Committee. It forced me to re-access my goals and my company’s. It made me write down my ambitions and carefully start planning for them. So, if you find yourself sailing the same boat I left, here’s some really great tips to help you steer through:
- No matter what, have a careful, detailed one-to-one discussion with your client before you start to plan
- Never say Never – don’t try to teach designing to your client. Trust me. They are bad learners. Instead give them options
- Brainstorm ideas with your client
- If possible, meet your client as many times as possible for clearer and better understanding
- Build a precise design-map and take up each aspect as it arrives
Remember, your client may not know what they want. All they know is that they need a good-to-go design in their budget. Do not sacrifice quality with quantity, deadline or any other barrier that may overshadow your efforts. You must be thinking this is too much advice. Believe me, I have been through all this and so here are few short-cuts that will save your time and energy:
- Create files specifying which client or brand you will be designing for
- Maintain separate files for logos, typography, colors, other design elements. This will help you to modify your design using several combinations
- Brush up or update your design skills as per industry standards so you can project your client’s business in the best of way(s)
- Keep the communication with the team and client flowing
- When working on several design projects build a work priority sheet
I was throat-deep in work yet I managed to develop a skill which serves more like an inspiration today – Photography. You don’t have to be a professional photographer. Just find your ‘I’ time and start clicking. I bet, it will make you more conscious of design compositions. For me, it has done wonders. It has made me clearly view my designs under different states and combinations. It has made me my own critic and off-course enhance my skills without even my realizing it. Actually, I have kind of divided my career as pre-photography and post-photography to get a broader perspective on my work.
As you may agree that as a creative website designer you must be constantly involved in learning(s). What we need is that one speck of inspiration to come up for not only commercial satisfying designs but for ones done with immense art and craft. Till we meet next, keep exploring, keep designing.