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Trade secrets are hard to find out. Designers try to keep them as secret as they can, but to no success. Well, they won’t get any help from us. We are here to share some of these secrets, so every creative professional’s dream comes to reality. That’s why we’ve rounded up six things all good designers keep secret.
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Take these secrets as they are – they won’t make you a better designer nor they will help you win awards. They are just useful tips and tricks that will probably suit your needs. It all comes down to how you want to work. Scroll down below and see what all the fuss is about.
Secret #1: Steal stuff
Yup. Steal stuff, and make it your own. I don’t mean plagiarize other people’s stuff. I mean get inspired by their work, take their craft and make something of your own. Designers will never admit to this, but every successful creative professional has done this and will continue to do it.
Let’s put it this way – you have an idol in the creative business, he is an incredibly talented artist, and you want to become like him. First off, read what he reads, visit places that he visits. Be in the medium that he puts himself in constantly. See what inspires him and steal it for yourself. Make it your inspiration. Adapt it to your needs.
You will soon be on the way of stealing his clients if you are so passionate about the work you do. There is no shame in being better at the game than your peers. It’s a pity not playing it in the first place, regardless of the outcome.
Secret #2: Procrastinate as long as you can
Inspiration will hit when you least expect it, so why not do the things you love the most? Procrastinate until you can work, those are words that I live by. Explore different things and ideas. Read a good book, watch an awesome movie that you are postponing for such a long time.
Or you could do the most menial task there is like arranging your music collection backward, by age – what album is the closest to Michael Jacksons last album. By all means, go crazy.
We all know the fear of a deadline creeping, and how we fluster getting back to work. Eventually, you will have to get back to work and leave the art of procrastinating for another day.
Secret #3: Don’t overpromise
You will be inclined to overpromise a lot of stuff, just to snag that client under your fingers. The most important thing here is to realize how much time you have on your hands, and if you can finish the project that you promised.
You just promised your client that you will have three revisions, and a new layout for him till’ tomorrow, didn’t you? Keep doing that and you will lose them faster than saying – Deadline not met. Be sincere and realistic, so you have time to meet his expectations of quality and quantity.
Secret #4: Pretty doesn’t count
Don’t just make your project eye-candy, make it also fully responsive. Prioritize on the functionality and how will it make it get viral, rather than just creating only a beautiful design. People will stare at the beauty, but they will come back if it is useful.
Pretty doesn’t count if you don’t bring anything else to the table, and pretty will fade soon in front of other mesmerizing things that will eventually appear. Think on the long-term, and how your project will stand the test of time. Will it be remembered? Or will it be forgotten?
Don’t get me wrong here, it is nothing bad in creating a beautiful design, but you need to address its utility for it to flourish and grow to its full capacity.
Secret #5: Don’t prioritize on being unique
John Oliver once said – “ I like to think of news and advertising as the separation of guacamole and Twizzlers. Separately, they are good. But if you mix them together, you make them both gross.”; if you prioritize on only creating unique projects, of only shocking your peers and the world, you will meet a dead end, filled only with frustration, and despair. You don’t have to be ashamed on creating designs that just fit the norm.
By doing so, you will have the opportunity of finding your niche, on being unique by exploring the standards and pushing boundaries to the limit. When you get past the limit that was set by your predecessors, you will not recognize it as being unique, you will just tell yourself that you are the norm. Others will do that for you, others will applaud and gawk at your designs, and call them unique.
Secret #6: Finish one before starting another
Working on different projects and expecting to get them all to be innovative has to be one of the silliest things I have heard in a while. Focus on each task appropriately, and indulge in the art form the proper way. If you get clustered with tons of projects, not only they will lack the quality that you and the client desire, but they will become a burden, and you will soon start hating the thing that you love the most – designing, creating art.
Inspiration will hit, but where to use it? How to use it? It will become a stressful situation that you don’t need in your life. This doesn’t mean that you should work on just one project at a time, you create your pace, but be careful how you multitask – it can lead to ruin.
Take into consideration these neat tips and tricks, these disclosed secrets and use them wisely. Do you have one that you would like to share with us? Feel free to post in the comments section below. We would just love to hear you out!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.