All designers get stuck – especially in the beginning of their career. They may experience short bursts of inspiration, but transforming that success into steady work can be daunting.
This often happens when a designer hasn’t solidified their routine or fails to stick to it consistently. If you find yourself falling into this trap, try to improve your workflow with these 3 universal tips for becoming a better designer.
1. Consistency is key
We’re emotional beings and we behave like it. We’re angered when things don’t go our way and compensate our lack of discipline with quick “design sprees”. We’ll knock out five websites in a day, work without breaks, and disregard our well-being because surely that will compensate for the week we didn’t work at all, right? Of course not!
Above all, every designer should focus on consistency. It’s when we put the work in, day in and day out, that we see real results. Think of design like going to the gym – if you only go once in a while, you won’t see results and will get tired quick.
2. Find a winning routine
We’ve talked about consistency, but without a good game plan you can’t take action. A winning routine means developing a series of useful, well-thought-out habits that will increase your chances of winning clients and design contests.
What routines should I integrate to improve my workflow?
There’s no clear list here, but if you do a little research you’ll quickly find interviews with successful designers discussing their habits. As you can imagine, a lot of designers have similar routines, including:
- Taking care of their body: Running, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, etc.
- “Decoding” design briefs to interpret what the client actually wants
- Allocating at least a few hours per week to learn new techniques and study the latest design trends
- Exchanging ideas with other designers
- Improving their communication skills
- Looking for great sources of inspiration
- Organizing their desk, workspace and projects
- Choosing the most appropriate briefs/projects for their particular skill set
The trick is to find the habits that work for you. Make a list of steps that you believe will strongly improve your work. Then act on it consistently on it.
3. Expand your creative mind
Get out of your comfort zone and experience a different way of thinking. We’re not saying you should go on a Vision Quest to come up with a new color scheme for your corporate website, but all designers should actively push their creative boundaries.
One of the most important ways to grow as a creative person is to explore different branches of the design industry. Peruse galleries and design portfolios that highlight concepts and skills outside of your particular field. This will refresh your imagination and spark ideas that you can incorporate into your next project – and it’s the key to building your “Design Vocabulary”.
The process is simple: train yourself to keep an eye out for interesting color choices, typography and layouts that resonate with you. You’ll grow your knowledge of design, making it easier to come up with creative ideas for future projects. If you have a real passion for design, these will stay in the back of your mind for years to come.
To grow into a better designer you need to keep your routine consistent and reassess yourself regularly to ensure you’re on the right path – the results will surely follow. When it’s time to take it to the next level, escape your comfort zone by exploring work within the design industry that falls outside your particular field.