Graphic designers are busy people. We have to balance multiple projects and the varying needs of our clients. If we work on a freelance basis, we also have to communicate with our clients, manage our schedules and seek out work. Some freelance graphic designers have as many as 20 clients at a time.
It’s easy to see how hectic this can get, but working on multiple, varied projects at once also has benefits for designers. Here’s a look at the many jobs graphic designers must perform.
Various Shoes to Fill
If you work in graphic design, you probably won’t find yourself doing the same thing every day. Graphic designers could work on a logo one day, a website the next and a video game the following. Clients often come from various industries, which means even more diversity.
Even within one specific project, graphic artists can find themselves filling multiple roles. They have to create designs that work on desktop as well as mobile devices.
Designers may also need to work with people in a variety of other positions, such as strategists and copywriters. They may find themselves collaborating on marketing strategies. They also need to meet with clients to discuss what they need in a project and go over drafts of designs.
Freelance designers also need to be their own marketers and do the legwork to get themselves new clients, as well as:
- Manage their finances
- Keep up with industry trends
- Learn new skills
The Benefits of Varied Jobs
Although having multiple, diverse jobs can be difficult to stay on top of, most graphic designers find the benefits outweigh the costs.
Working on dissimilar projects in a variety of areas will result in a well-rounded skill set. Not only will you learn to do a lot of different things well, but also your varied experience will give you a unique perspective on the work you do. You’ll be able to pull from a range of areas to create something truly different.
Having a well-rounded and diverse skill set can also lead to better pay. If you can do more, clients will be willing to pay more. Hiring a multi-talented designer may even mean a company can hire fewer people and have better continuity in its work because just one person is doing it. And that’s worth paying a bit more for.
Having experience in a range of disparate spaces opens more doors for graphic designers. The more things you know about, such as getting attention on social media, the better the chance you’ll find that project you’re just perfect for. Having unique past work experience will also make your resume stand out and look impressive to potential employers.
There’s also another more personal benefit of having multiple jobs as a graphic designer. Your daily work life will simply be more interesting. While you can certainly find joy in doing something similar each day, doing something different will provide you with excitement and something new to look forward to each day.
How to Balance It All
When you have a lot of different things to do, especially when some of them are new things, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as projects and to-do lists pile up. Creating a schedule and sticking to it can help you avoid that kind of mess.
Graphic designers should create both long-term and short-term schedules to help them stay on track with their work. Putting a project’s due date on a calendar is a good first step, but it can also be helpful to break the project down into smaller steps and put the dates for those various steps on the calendar, too.
In addition to the long-term calendar, making a daily to-do list can also be helpful. In order to make your list more effective, include how long each task will take and put the most important ones first. Including times will prevent you from overscheduling yourself and keep you on schedule throughout the day.
Staying on Task as a Designer
Monitoring your progress is important because of how easy it is to get distracted. It’s a common experience to take “just a quick break” to check Facebook or grab a snack only to panic when you look at the clock and realize how much time has gone by.
By regularly checking in with yourself, you avoid losing your work time to distractions. Minimizing distractions by turning your phone on airplane mode unless you need it for work and keeping the TV off can help you stay on task.
That said, it’s also important not to cram your day so full of work you can’t get it all done, don’t have time for other important things and end up stressed out at the end of the day. Scheduling in meals and breaks and having a healthy work-life balance are also important.
The work of a graphic designer is far from easy and repetitive. We have an array of roles we need to fill and work on many different types of projects for various industries. Although managing these projects can present challenges, it also provides benefits for designers. Successfully balancing multiple, diverse jobs can make you a better designer, provide you with more opportunities and give you a unique perspective on your work.