Designers are often faced with the daunting task of staying organized when working on a design project. It can be hard to keep track of client feedback, files, and revisions all at once. Organization is key to successful design projects. From the initial brainstorming stages all the way through the final execution, designers need to follow a set of guidelines that help them stay focused and on task.
1. Prepare for the Project Before It Begins
No matter how great you feel about your creative designs, if you aren’t prepared to take them into production, then they are essentially worthless. Developing a plan of action is one of the most important steps in staying organized throughout a design project. Before starting work on any design, you should understand what needs to be done and who it all needs to be communicated with. If the task seems daunting at first, have no fear.
Brainstorm – Take time to think through every step of the process to complete each element in your design team. Who will create which elements? What kind of revisions do you anticipate needing? How long is each step going to take? Make sure you consider every step of the process before starting work, or else you risk getting lost in the details. Utilize software such as OmniPlan (Mac) and Microsoft Project (PC) to help break down your project into manageable chunks.
Communicate – Keep all communication concerning your project organized and easily accessible. Create a shared folder on your computer for all files related to the current project and ensure everyone working on it is aware of its location and how to access it. If emailing with clients, create folders within your email program so you can more easily sort through messages regarding different stages of development. Maintaining an open line of communication with those involved in the design process will allow for a more streamlined project.
Revisions – Planning for revisions is an important part of every design project. Anticipate what potential changes or feedback may come up and have a plan for dealing with them. Having a solid revision plan will help ensure that any necessary adjustments can be made without disrupting the overall flow of the project.
2. Design From the Bottom Up
When developing a new design, start from the ground up and work your way up to what isn’t absolutely necessary for getting the project completed. This strategy can be applied to all design development stages: mood boards, wireframing, sketching, etc., beginning with general ideas and making your way to specifics ensures that everything is cohesive and well-thought-out before moving into production.
3. Set Deadlines and Stick to Them
One of the best ways to stay on task is by setting deadlines and sticking to them. This will help keep everyone involved in the project aware of what still needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Utilizing a timer when working on tasks can also help ensure that everything gets completed on time. If something comes up that delays the completion of a task, make sure to update everyone involved to prevent any confusion or missed deadlines.
4. Use a Project Management Tool
Project management tools are an excellent way for designers to keep track of all the different aspects of a project. From tasks and deadlines to notes and contact information, these tools can help to streamline the design process. Utilizing a project management tool can help take some of the stress out of completing a design project and ensure that everything stays organized from start to finish.
By following these simple steps, you can help your design project stay on track and organized from beginning to end. By taking the time to prepare for the project before it begins and utilizing good file management practices, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a successful outcome. Stay on top of the design process by keeping all project-related communication organized, setting deadlines and sticking to them, and utilizing project management tools that fit your needs. By taking this advice to heart, you’ll be able to complete any design project with ease.