No one wants to reinvent the wheel, or worse, spend hours and hours on something only to find out no one plans on using it. As such, any time-saving tips or design hacks to help the beleaguered, overworked creative would be welcomed.
There are simply too many design requests made by too many different departments for too many campaigns on too many channels. Adding more designers to the team will not necessarily ensure that more work gets done, but these efficiency hacks go a long way.
The need to develop and deliver creative that must sync across different platforms, devices, and endpoints also means that the technical aspects must be considered each and every time. This includes considerations for resolution, dimensions, colors/fonts, and other factors. Keeping these saved and stored somewhere, to be used repeatedly for different creative assets, is one “hack” or way to know that assets will always be compatible, thereby speeding delivery.
Let’s have a look at a few hacks you and your team can put in place today to save time and frustration.
1. Develop PDFs as Slideshows first
Build your PDFs as a Slideshow first if you anticipate that non-designers are going to be providing edits and feedback early on in the process. It’s easier to edit as a team and to edit information that might need to be updated in the future.
2. Build libraries
Build and use asset libraries as a repository for future creative needs. Create one for your team in Adobe Creative Cloud so you can use the same assets across the board. Other platforms have their own asset library functions. For example, for Google Slides, download the add-on for icons.
3. Reusable templates
This has become one of the most popular hacks for the Hawke Media design team. Create reusable templates so you don’t have to start creating emails, social posts, landing pages, webinar registration pages, and other content from scratch. You might create the “source” template, from which different versions with different dimensions can also be generated and stored for later re-use.
4. Data merge and batching
InDesign’s data merge and Photoshop’s batch feature are used in situations where you have the same design but with different names, so you can import an Excel spreadsheet and the program will export each data set, or if you need hundreds of photos to be cropped to the same, specific dimension.
5. Subject selection tool
Photoshop’s subject selection tool removes backgrounds in one click, which is good for cutting out headshots.
6. Browser extensions rather than code
Sometimes you are browsing multiple sites for design ideas and you don’t feel like opening up the Developer Tools to inspect the elements in order to capture the color codes and font names. Use a browser extension like CSS Peeper or CSS Scan to inspect any items on a website without having to look through code.
From saving time to saving your sanity, these design hacks will help you deliver better creative. You might not be a machine but you can lean on them — or rather, apps and tools — to help you do your job better.