“Time” is a graphic designers and web designers most influential tool.
It has the power to destroy a creative project or make it a success.
The problem is that we don’t control the tool of time, it controls us so you never really know when it’s being helpful or damaging to our work, or do we?
Here’s several notable occasions where time has affected my design work for good or worse.
1. Logo Designing – Relooking at concepts
A little while ago I started a logo design project and like always, a flurry of excitement lead me to start working on concepts immediately. I played with ideas and created primitive sketches to get my thoughts down on paper. I roughly worked them up and had a good idea as to how each of the final logos would look.
This job was immediately put on pause by the client so I halted work and didn’t give it a second thought. When the project restarted again I looked back on my concepts and found that my views on each logo had completely changed.
My vision on the final designs had changed and likewise so had my opinions on which was best. It seemed as though time had intervened and changed my whole thinking behind the logo and identity design for this project and I’m glad to say that this interruption by time had made the project a success.
Was it time or clear thinking that helped on this occasion?
2. Logo Design – Reworking concepts
When digitising logo designs I tweak, tweak and re-tweak ideas until I feel perfection.
In this situation it’s essential that I have the time to do my work but once again I have to ask… Is it time that lets me perfect a design or the clear thinking provided by it?
3. Identity Design – Extending imagery
I create complete identity systems for clients and more often than not I do get stuck when it comes to extending the theme with patterns and textures but this problem seems to disappear with time.
After the final logo is chosen and I’m working on the web design or print collateral, the context of the identity system changes and I naturally come up with additional identity design elements fairly easily.
Is this down to time or clear thinking?
4. Web Design – Over run projects
Sometimes a project, usually web design, will over run by months as we wait for content from the client. During this gap in time I find myself not working on the project and the flow, speed, rhythm and most importantly the direction of the project is lost.
Is that a case of time turning on you or just a lack of productivity that ruins the job?
5. Graphic Design – A quick turnaround
As much as I like to take my time with design and work something up to the best of my ability I’ve found that some of my quickest work is also some of my best. Having contracts with clients who need work turned around quickly means that I have to take the initiative and produce something without the luxury of time on my side.
In this case it seems that time leads me to use my knowledge more effectively and produce great work without thinking too much about it. It comes naturally.
Like most designers I’m never fully happy with any piece of work that I’ve created. With a little more time, clear thinking or a different perspective I could have done something else to make the work better.
That’s how I feel most of the time at the end of a project but I’ve learnt that I might be being a little too harsh on myself. Have you ever looked back at old work and thought to yourself “what was I thinking?” Time makes us better designers and in the long run we grow as designers. We always judge our own work critically but on the flipside because of time and growth, I look back at most of my old work and say “Wow! That was a good piece of work, maybe one of my best.”
Sometimes you’re so caught up in a design project and the finer details that you don’t realise how well it came out. Looking back at your own experiences (and mine above) you can ask was it actually time that helped you as a designer or was it clear thinking or perspective that influenced each of these jobs to make you a better designer.
For me, I think that clear thinking and perspective is what has made me make better decisions as a designer but neither exist without at least a little time.
Become a great designer by using time to your own will.