What Every Designer Should Do Right Now

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Former editor in chief of Designinformer. More about Jad ↬

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While trying to balance the different areas of our life, there are things that we often forget and neglect to do. With today’s fast-paced society and the busyness of our every day, we tend to overlook some important things. I would like to remind every designer today about some of these tasks that we often put-off but are so important and necessary to get done.

While trying to balance the different areas of our life, there are things that we often forget and neglect to do. With today’s fast-paced society and the busyness of our every day, we tend to overlook some important things. I would like to remind every designer today about some of these tasks that we often put-off but are so important and necessary to get done.

You may also be interested in the following articles we published earlier:

1. Back Up All Your Files Now

"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." - Napoleon Hill

Back Up

I’m sure that you’ve heard this over and over again but how many of you have actually taken the time to actually do it? Just a few days ago, I read about a designer on Twitter who lost some of his files due to some of his hardware malfunctioning. That is such a bummer. Let’s learn from his experience and let’s backup our files right away. How sad would that be to lose all your important photos, projects, documents and sensitive and irreplaceable data. I am guilty of this myself. I don’t even remember the last time I backed up my data. (Currently 483 GB of files) As I am writing this article, I am already buying an external hard drive to back up my files.

Another good idea is to not only backup your local files but to backup your website files as well. If you have a WordPress blog, make sure to backup your database as well. A few months ago, my blog was hacked but thankfully, I had a backup of all my files so fixing it wasn’t too much of a hassle.

By the way, if you only want to backup your important files and not your entire hard drive, then you can try using Dropbox as well. It’s one of the best apps that I’ve used recently.

Backup Articles and Resources:

2. Get Your Online Portfolio Up or Updated Now

"There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back." -Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Show Off Your Portfolio

If there is one thing that a designer needs today, it is an online portfolio. No longer is just a physical portfolio enough, but with the internet, every designer needs a good looking online portfolio.

I have met so many designers who either have a portfolio that was updated years ago and full of old projects, as well as designers who don’t even have an online portfolio. When I’m reading through comments on different blogs and on this blog, I usually click on some of the author’s names to check out their site. A lot of the names that I click on take me to a page where it says, “Coming Soon” or “Under Construction.” There is no excuse to not having an online portfolio. I know that we all suffer with the disease of never thinking our design is good enough, but we need to get over that and just get our portfolio up. (Believe me, it took me months to finally be pleased with my site and put it online.) Some graphic designers give the excuse that their web design skills just aren’t up to par but that is simply no excuse. Use the different sites out there where you don’t need to have web design knowledge in order for you to showcase your work.

List of Online Portfolio Sites:

3. Finish That Project Right Now

"What may be done at any time will be done at no time." - Scottish Proverb

Show Off Your Portfolio

We all have projects on the back burner. Maybe it’s a blog that you have been wanting to start. For some, it could be a client design that they are not particularly thrilled about doing. Whatever it is, you need to do it now. Sometimes, it would be helpful if we can just tune out the distractions around us and just find a way to finish that project now. Many designers are guilty of not getting their projects in on time. A survey on CSS-Tricks shows that 38% of the designers usually get their projects turned in late and they fail to meet the deadlines that were originally agreed on. This is a big deal. You can hurt your business by not getting your projects done and you can even lose your clients. So what are you waiting for? Finish reading this article and get started on that project.

4. Clean Your Desk and Organize Your Files Now

"Someday is not a day of the week."

Messy Desk

If you are like the average designer, there are times that you get very busy. In all that activity, everything that you do seem to revolve around your computer desk. It’s not uncommon to find scratch paper, pens, doodles, notepads, stickies, food wrappers, sodas, empty cups and other paraphernalia on your desk after working on it for 10 straight hours. A simple thing that you can do is before you stop working every day, take the last five minutes and just tidy up your desk and get it ready for the next day. This will greatly increase your productivity the next day when you start work on a clean and neat desk.

What kind of desktop wallpaper do you have? Oh what’s that? You can’t even see it. When we get busy, we tend to just drop files on our desktop and we neglect to put them in their rightful place. A messy desktop leads to an unproductive day because instead of knowing where everything is, you have to sit there and search for the file you are looking for. Here are some tips that I use to organize my desktop.

  • Simplify everything us much as possible.
  • Use folders.
  • Customize your icons.
  • Come up with a file naming convention that works for you.
  • Have a folder called “Sort Out” where you just put files that you just don’t have time to sort out yet. Then once a week, go through that folder and arrange it and put everything where it belongs.

5. Gather and Collect Design Resources Now

"Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible." - George Claude Lorimer

Design Resources

Every designer needs a good resource collection. I personally have collected tons of files and other stuff online and have organized an awesome resource collection that I use every day. If you take this advice and run with it, I guarantee that it will definitely save you time, money, effort, and headaches. Do it today! By the way, there are multitudes of websites online that offer up great resources for FREE! Just a quick Google search should solve that problem.

While browsing the web, you should always be searching for free resources, tips, tricks and other files that are available. The work that you spend to find new resources and inspiration will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Here’s a small list of resources that you should be collecting now. Whether you’re already a professional graphic designer or you’re just getting started, gathering these resources for your future use is definitely something that you can’t put off.

  • Actions for Photoshop
  • Brushes
  • Fonts
  • Icons
  • Ideas and Inspiration
  • Layer Styles
  • PSD Files
  • Stock Photos
  • Textures
  • Vector Graphics

What resources have you found helpful? I am always looking to add to my resources as well so please share your favorites in the comments section. Here are a list of articles that I found online that deal about resources in a greater and more in-depth way.

While these points all seem like they are very easy to do, you will be surprised at the amount of designers who haven’t done these things at all. I do suggest that you take a look at the list one more time and see if you need to do some of these things. By the way, I’m sure there are a lot of other things that could have been added to this list. What are your suggestions? What are some other things that designers should be doing today? Please leave your thoughts and ideas below. Thank you!