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Speed up production with these design hacks.

If you spend a long time in the design profession, you tend to pick up a few tricks here and there. Methods that help make your job easier. Design hacks to increase productivity.

Here are some design hacks I’ve learnt over the years. Perhaps you can put some of them to use and become a more productive designer. Be sure to listen to the podcast episode where I share stories on how you can put these design hacks to use.

Design Hack #1: Get the files you require.

Clients are often confused as to what files you require in order to work on their projects. Stop wasting time explaining filetypes and resolutions to them. Instead, contact their head office and ask to speak to the marketing department. Chances are the people there will understand and be able to provide what you need.

If your client doesn't have a head office, you can try acquiring the assets you need by extracting them from PDF files the client already has. This is an excellent design hack for finding good quality vector files for logos and graphics.

Design Hack #2: Search websites for PDF files.

The easiest way of finding PDF files (other than your client supplying them) is to find them on your client's website. To find PDF files (or any file for that matter), you can use this search query. In the Google search bar type:

site:nameofsite.com filetype:pdf 

The search results will only display the PDF files found on the domain you entered.

NOTE: You can search for other file types as well, such as jpg, png, doc, etc.

Design Hack #3: Remove unwanted formatting from text.

Copying text from word processing software such as Microsoft Word for use on websites can sometimes produce unwanted results. The reason being, the formatting the text received in the word processing software can often remain.

There are many tools to eliminate unwanted text formatting, but a quick and easy method is to create a new blank email message and convert the message to “Plain Text.” Now, all text pasted into that email message will be stripped of all formatting. You can then copy it back again for use on a website.

Design Hack #4: Creating autoflow documents for print.

Autoflow documents are an easy way to add sequential numbering to tickets or names to certificates. After setting up your master page, all you do is take your list of numbers or names and paste them into the first ticket or certificate. The software will automatically create additional pages until the list runs out.

Here's an example of how to do this in InDesign.

Design Hack #5: Use Find and Replace to remove poor formatting.

If a client ever gives you poorly formatted text for a design job, you can use Find and Replace to remove the poor formatting.

Easily remove cases of tab, tab, tab, tab, or worse space, space, space, space, space, by searching for the multiple infringements and replacing them with your desired results.

For example: Find all cases of “tab, tab” and replace them with a single tab. Keep running the search until there are no more double tabs.

Do the same for double spaces, excessive carriage returns or any other formatting you want to fix.

Design Hack #6: Find inspirations from a colour palette.

An easy way to find ideas and inspiration for a project is by uploading the project's colour palette to a Google Reverse Image Search. In the search results, click on the “Visually similar images” link and see hundreds of ideas that use the same colour palette you uploaded.

Design Hack #7: Find the flaws in your designs.

One of the easiest ways to find any flaws in your design is to look at them upsidedown. By changing the perspective, your eye stops focusing on familiar things such as photos and text copy and instead sees the overall design. This allows you to spot inconsistencies or areas of your project that need attention.

Looking at large bodies of text upside down can help you spot typography faux-pas such as rivers in the text.

What design hacks do you use?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Clockify

Clockify is a free tool for creating timesheets and tracking the time you spend on projects and tasks. Clockify allows you to create separate timers for every part of your work. Track your time with a handy timer, log your time in a timesheet, categorize your time by project and mark your time as billable or not.

Clockify also allows you to create shareable reports breaking down your time.

Clockify works across all devices, both destop and mobile so you can track your time from anywhere, and it's all synced online.

Did I mention that it's FREE? Visit clockify.me to learn more.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com