If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a digital agency designer, it’s that your digital strategy is useless without the design. Of course, I would say that, but a content strategy without design is simply half-done – incomplete. It’s all feel, no look. And guess what – your look is what your customers see.
Design makes an impact
Design has been a big part of my life since 1999. I’ve worked in different fields from publication companies to web design start-ups to internal comms agencies to where I am now with Southerly, a digital marketing agency. In other words I’ve pretty much run the gamut, I’ve travelled, been inspired, breathed and lived design.
Working for the Southerly Studio is very exciting, but I can tell you one thing, a day in a life of a designer (any kind of designer) doesn’t change much wherever you work. You wake up, you look for inspiration everywhere around you, and you try to be creative. Even if you’re not very inspired you keep trying to find ways to achieve it. Some days are easier than others. That’s the life of a designer – the creative emotional frustrations of not getting ‘there’ instantly, trying over and over again, thinking you got ‘there’ just to get a big fat NO from the client, and finally to have this amazing feeling of accomplishment when your designs make an impact: to a company, or to someone personally.
We all need a bit of inspiration, In fact I think content managers generally can apply these various techniques that a designer uses to help the creativity flow and basically make his or her life a little bit easier!
How to find your creative inspiration
There are limitless open sources and inspiration you can find on the web these days. Look for blogs, social media, big, bold infographics, or websites that just ‘float your boat’.
Less is more:
Research can lead you into an endless maze of overstimulation. I have spent hours just ‘looking around’, before I realised I’ve achieved nothing. It’s easy to get lost and sidetracked from your original goal. Less is more; allocate a specific time for your research and stick to the main blogs or sources of inspiration that work for you.
When you like something, and you think it will work for your design (or your content) trust your judgment! Stop the ‘what ifs’ in your head. What if I find something better, what if that doesn’t work for what I’m trying to do? Just find an idea you like, trust your instinct and stick with it!
Designers tend to work alone. They love getting lost in their zones and often their ‘design-ego’ doesn’t allow them to ask for help. But we’ve have all been there – stuck, frustrated, uninspired, and lost. Just ask for help! Brainstorming is the best thing ever and you can brainstorm everywhere, it doesn’t even have to be with other designers! Use different colleagues, or even your friends over drinks. You would be surprised where the most innovative, original or just perfect idea can come from.
You see, we designers are creative souls. Many people don’t get us, but design has this extreme emotional power. It makes you happy, sad, frustrated, irritated, and in love. But we’re just normal human beings, look at my standard day…
6:50 Alarm goes off (ignore)
7:30 Decide I need to get out of bed (successfully complete task)
7:33 First cup of coffee (successfully complete task)
8:35 Shower, feed, dress (brain still in sleep mode)
9:00 Arrive at work, make second cup of coffee (brain exiting sleep mode)
9:05 Turn on my Mac, check emails and calendar
9:35 Meet with the Studio to go through workload and what everyone is doing (now supposedly fully awake)
10:30 Third coffee. Work on client projects internal campaigns, videos, brochures, newsletters, blogs, and at the same time manage the studio, oversee the projects, sign-offs, write briefs, and hold brainstorming sessions
13:30 Now starving – lunch (successfully complete task)
14:00 Management and other assorted meetings
15:00 Fourth coffee. Client meeting or new project briefing from the Account Team
16:00 Wrap up project of the day and make sure my team is on track
17:30 Fill in timesheets (yup, creatives do this)
18:00 Check social media, latest design events, my favourite blogs – what’s happening out there?
18:30 Catch the train home (successfully complete task, occassionally)
18:35 Check all creative blogs on the train
19:30 Get home (successfully complete task)
20:30 Check work emails, manage loose ends, write this blog (successfully complete task)
21:30 Absorb The Island, Tribe, Hell’s Kitchen or other brainless thing on TV
23:00 Bed (successfully complete task, always)
Designers might be these weird creative creatures but at the end of the day our job is to make your world beautiful. We communicate your messages in a clear way, we make it interactive, user-friendly and responsive, and most importantly we make an impact.
All in all, it’s a pretty awesome job being a designer!