The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Workflow 3

You might be familiar with accidents turning out to be a major benefit of your design. If you know this, why not extend your options? In the realm of creative freedom, you can stumble over most interesting approaches by simply playing around. Sure you know your stuff, but you can do so much better.

Experiment! Color Dodge instead of Color Burn! Make the dashed line 1 mm instead of 1 px! Make that gradient radial! Use another brush! Add a third layer mask! Make it different! Play around! You may come to interesting results by simply using what you left behind as you grew older: your play instinct.

4. If you are not a perfectionist, you are not a designer

Tell me: in Photoshop and Illustrator, how much time do you spend at 6400% magnification? How often do you hit Ctrl+Z because you think a line is placed half a millimeter too low? How extensive is your changelog for an average composition?

Because we know that even the most minor change of an element’s attribute can make the difference between Hillary and Britney, we blatantly take the word perfectionist as a compliment.

It comes with the job and a certain amount of self-respect. You have no other choice than to identify yourself with your work – because on the reverse side, your work will always identify with you, that is why you should always, always, always quintuple check your design before calling it a final. Then again, we have one rule left:

5. There is no such thing as the final version

This, our final rule of workflow in design and advertising, is a vital one. With possibilities given and creative juices flowing, you will usually have a hard time deciding that this is it. Instead, you go on and on, changing this, tweaking that, adding and deleting, sharpening and softening, enhancing and simplifying. And again, it is in the nature of our profession. Because there is not a single way to do it, but at least a couple, if not a thousand possible avenues, we have to possess the integrity and self-confidence to set an end to a design.

The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Personal Matter

  • Be generous with your time estimates. When your client asks how long you will need to deliver, always add at least 50% of the time you think you are gonna need to the estimate. In fact, better double it. You think you need five days to design the website? Say you need 10! You estimate a total of two months for the campaign plan? Name three. do not hesitate to be liberal with your time estimates. you will bite your butt if you can’t deliver on time and need to call for an extension – that only makes you look unprofessional. The second benefit is that if you are able to do it in half the time you estimated, you will make a terrific impression. This can be most important for your success – paired with our fifth and final rule of personal matter:

5. do not try to be a ticket of ten

Especially when you start off as a freelancer, you will want to take every job that is available. You most likely do not have a solid client basis yet – but you need one, and you have to start somewhere, right? Well, not quite. You shouldn’t start somewhere – you need to start in your niche. As a designer, you are supposed to create identities. Why be inconsistent when it comes to yourself?

If you are a topnotch web designer, and you want to be a shining star in that field, you should focus on web design and not necessarily do flyers, posters and calendars. Many freelancers tend to spread their field too widely, often into areas they are not so good in, only to deliver bad work. That results in bad reputation. Remember our happy clients? They want solid work, and only if you can deliver that, you will be hired again – either by them or by the ones they recommended you to – because you made them happy!

So, instead of being a mediocre all-rounder, focus on your profession and find people to network with. If you know a killer identity guy, call him up and form a relationship! Send him the identity you get, and let him send you the web development jobs he runs into. Networking is key: Not only will it give you more jobs in your field, a better reputation and more awareness, but it will also make your clients happier because you can provide them with more options and resources. Plus, it will give you what you want and need: it will make you happy, simply because you are doing what you love to do. Tell me, how important is being happy to you?