5 Graphic design tips to shave hours off your work week

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If you work in graphic design, you’re probably only too well aware of the value of good time management.

Graphic designers are required to work tight deadlines and navigate around very busy schedules to get projects completed. Shaving even a couple of minutes off design time here and there can benefit your ability to apply yourself fully to a project.

What if we were to tell you that there are ways of shaving a couple of hours off your busy schedule every week?

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We’ve got five great graphic design tips that could end up saving you hours – take a look!

Photoshop Batch Editing function

If you’re not already using the wondrous batch editing function in Photoshop, you need to start doing so right now!

This functionality is the ultimate time-saver for graphic designers, but many of us completely underutilise it.

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If you have a bunch of images to edit in the same way, doing so image by image can prove to be a long and time-consuming task (not to mention boring!). The Photoshop Batch Editing tool allows you to apply the same edit/action to an entire batch of open files.

Depending on the amount of images you’re dealing with, batch editing can save you hours of time.

Use InDesign style sheets for quicker formatting

Formatting can prove a bit of a drain on time for graphic designers.

You probably know how CSS style sheets can save you a lot of time on formatting – well, InDesign style sheets can too.

Save popular/commonly used character styles, paragraph styles, table styles and object styles to style panels where they can be quickly accessed and applied to any future text/object that requires formatting.

Create custom keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop and InDesign are a great time-saver for auctioning regular design tasks.

Don’t just stick to the standard keyboard shortcuts – create your own!

The most frequent design applications used vary from designer to designer, so ensure that keyboard shortcuts are set up for the applications/tasks you action most frequently. If you repeat a task at least 3 or 4 times per day, you should create a keyboard shortcut.

Doing so will save you a mega amount of time!

Create a common graphics/logos document

Undoubtedly as a graphic designer you’ve got unused logos or icons that can be saved for a future design.

To save you time rummaging through your desktop looking for one of these previously-used graphics, create an InDesign or Photoshop (whichever platform you use most) document containing all logos, icons and graphics most viable for repurposing.

(Read this post to learn how to generate passive income off those unused designs.)

Set up a home network

As a graphic designer, you may need to work from different computers from time to time:

  • your laptop may be in for repair/maintenance
  • you may prefer to conduct some work on a desktop
  • you need to access client files urgently on the go
  • you might just need a change of scenery

(The reasons are endless.)

By setting up even a basic-level home network, you can save a lot of valuable hours with seamless file and program access from any of your devices.

Share your tips!

As with any job, it’s important to use your work-time to its maximum potential. Graphic designers who implement the five tips above are sure to fully optimise their time and save hours upon hours of unnecessary work…and tedium.

Do you have a can’t-live-without productivity tip? Share it with us in the comments!

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About Ivan Lavelle

Ivan Lavelle possesses 15 years management experience in the graphic arts/print sector and is the owner of Upper Case – a multi award-winning graphic design, digital marketing and direct mail agency based in Cork, Ireland.

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Comments

  1. Instead of creating a separate file, InDesign’s library feature is a nice alternative to save commonly used design elements. I even use it to save things like pre-made drop shadows, stylized boxes, etc. instead of creating these effects from scratch every time.

  2. Iv’e found the new cloud based Adobe libraries pretty handy, it allows you to create an asset library (graphics, images, fonts, colour swatches and css code) that can be seen on multiple devices and Adobe applications at the same time. Check out this awesome feature here. http://www.adobe.com/ca/creativecloud/libraries.html
    Enjoy

  3. Does anyone use Adobe’s Creative Bridge for assets? I never have, as from my understanding it’s no different than just looking files up in your file structure.

    Am I totally missing something awesome here, or is it just “meh”?

    Thanks!

    April

    • I’ve tried Bridge, but it just doesn’t do anything for me that I couldn’t do with the Finder. I ~want~ to like Bridge, I really do, but it just leaves me cold. It seems slow and the interface isn’t really helping me.

      Every time there is a new version of CS I open Bridge and poke around a bit. Then I say, “meh” and close it.

      What am I missing?

  4. Nice tips.

    The PS batch editing function is a real life saver. Often beginner designers are not aware of this function. It really comes in handy when you have created some pages of a site that needs same changes on all of them.

  5. Thanks for all the extra tips everyone, I appreciate the input…wish I had thought of them!

  6. Great post and Thanks for this post..

  7. Inspiring article. Thanks for sharing. However, these key point are really important for every web designer and web developer but the way you explain is really clear and easy to understand for everyone. I hope you will be adding more interesting articles in the future.

  8. I have always been really interested in graphic design. The only thing that has worried me is how long it takes, but now with these tips I’m sure that I can for sure save a lot of time! Thank you so much for the tips and advice!

  9. Thank you for this and for your design brain that never ceases to amaze me!!

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  1. […] You can read the rest of the list at my blog, Graphic Design Blender. […]

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