"Work smarter, not harder."
We've all seen it. It seems like it's everybody's motto when it comes to dealing with a boat load of work. Your church graphic design is likely a big chunk of the work that needs to be done on your team. You need banner graphics, website designs, newsletter images, bulletins, and everything else... there's a lot that needs to be done—all the time!
So how can you work "smarter" with your graphic design tasks? It comes down to recycling what you already have to cut down on time. Here's what we mean.
Use Smart Assets
When it comes to graphic design, you should always have reusable graphic elements on hand. Your designer just needs to create them one time and they can be used over and over again in many different projects. These reusable elements can also be fixed in specific proportions that easily get dropped into different areas. By designing your assets in a way that can easily be transformed, you will keep them available for use in different contexts. For instance, when creating a logo, make both a color version and a black & white one so you're ready for which ever version you need.
Reuse Your Graphics
Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it can’t be re-used! The graphics, bulletin, and Facebook promo that was used last Christmas or Easter can always be switched up a bit and reused again. This goes the same for other holidays or events that take place at your church. When making slides and graphics during the announcement part of your service, why not incorporate those same elements into your weekly bulletin? The slides can also be put right on the church website, saving you the hassle of having to create something twice using the very same information.
Repurpose Your Design Elements
Remember that awesome newsletter you designed a few months ago with those beautiful design elements? You can take it apart and repurpose some of it. You can even take the banner image from your newsletter or that pretty amazing event invitation and transform it into a beautiful Instagram photo, or move the words around and re-crop it to the right size. Or try transforming the image for the food drive into a form or "sign up here!" button. See if you can think of ways to get really creative!
Let Your Software Help
Most graphic artists use software such as Adobe InDesign or Photoshop. Most graphic design software comes with the ability to help you repurpose and reuse graphics and text built right in. By using these tools, you can save a lot of time and effort when making old graphics new again. For instance with Adobe InDesign, a feature called snippet allows you to reuse and position objects on a page. Another feature of InDesign is the object library which lets designers store objects that they use repeatedly into an automatic library to make them easier to find.
If you use Photoshop to design your church website, a feature called Smart Objects can help you save time and let you manipulate images without worrying about ruining the original. There are other reasons to use professional design software, and it can really help your church design really jump to the next level.
While it may take a lot of time to learn how to use these features, using them will enable you to save a lot of time down the road. No matter what type of software you use, chances are you can learn ways to keep your design time down to a minimum.
Make Use of Shortcuts
Most software has keyboard shortcuts you can use to help you save time. Computer users are familiar with the commands Control C to copy highlighted text and then Control V to paste it somewhere else, but there are a myriad of other great shortcuts that can be used for design purposes. Some of the more popular shortcuts include:
- Control/Command Z - If you've done something wrong and you realize it right away, this shortcut will undo the most recent thing you did
- Control/Command S - allows you to save your work which is good to do on a regular basis of course :)
- Control/Command A - lets you copy all of the text in a certain window or block of text
- Control/Command N - lets you open a new window or create a new document
There are many other shortcuts that are specific to the type of software you use. For example, in Photoshop there are keyboard shortcuts that allow you to send a layer to the back or bring it forward, create a new layer, and select all the layers in the document. Take a moment and Google the common keyboard shortcuts for the software you use. You'll be surprised how quickly you adopt these little tricks.
Templates Can Be Your Friend
Some graphic designers actually cringe when they hear the word "template." They might think, "if I haven't created it from scratch, I'm not gonna use it." However, there are instances when a template can be a designer's best friend including:
- When you're short on time and can't design it from scratch while meeting the deadline at the same time.
- When you're trying to come up with an updated look but your creative juices are running on the slow side.
- If you're handing a task off to a new person, they can use the template to maintain your high standards while they learn.
Most templates are customizable, so it's not like you are stuck using only the elements the template has to offer. Also, it never hurts to look at templates just to give you some ideas!