How to Organise your Graphic Design Work

A while a go a student on my logo design course emailed and asked me how I go about organising my work. I though I would share my response:

Create a Job Book

How I work – Get yourself an A4 (or legal size) lined pad or binder with lined paper – this can be used as a job book.

Then create some columns headed up – Date, job number, client, job description (I will jot down what the job is worth here too) and an invoice date column. Obviously tailor these columns to best suit you.

Then each time I start a new job I give it a job number I use my initials and then a number (don’t start at one if you are working for clients as it makes you sound new). So for example lets say I am just starting a job today – in the job book put the date 24th Feb 2013, then job number TR103, fill in the rest of the information job description client etc. This also helps you keep track of what you need to bill.

You can of course do this digitally if you want.

graphic design job book

Files on my Computer

Then on my computer I have a “Freelance Work: folder and in it client folders. When I get a new job for a client and have booked it in my job book I create a folder in the appropriate client folder and name it the job number plus a description e.g.. TR103 Range Brochure 2013. In it I split it up into folders called hires, rough, illustrator etc etc to hold all the different files. As I work on a job and there are file revisions I call the file names v1, v2 etc – as the classic client thing is they want to revert to something from an old version.

To Organise my Work Schedule

I use the Mac App “Things” for scheduling work (I used to do this manually on paper for the first few years – you can do this if you want). If you want something similar that’s free try Wunderlist. “Things” and Wunderlist are great as you can create Client folders and then a Todo list for each client with a date you are going to work on the job.

To backup my work

I use Carbon Copy Cloner to do a regular automated daily back up (you can also use Time Machine on a Mac) to an external hard drive.

I used to also do a weekly back up to another hard drive that I would keep off site (in my car). Now though I use CrashPlan an online back up service. The first online backup takes quite a while, but after that it’s good. If you want your data backed up to the cloud there is a monthly fee – I currently pay $5.99 a month but you can back up to someone else’s computer for free (for example you and a friend can back up to each others computers).

Archiving completed jobs

For archiving stuff I have completely finished I create back up DVD’s (2 copies). These I name by the month I am backing them up e.g.. February 2013 bk up 1 and put all the folders I no longer need in there. You can then use a little app called DiskTracker to catalogue these disks. This creates a searchable database so you know exactly which DVD to find old jobs on. Plus as you have used the job numbers in both your job book and on your computer you have a few different ways to search.

disk tracker design archiving

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A New Style of Invitation that’s anything but Wooden

A guest post by Susie Francis writing on behalf of  RODD Industrial Design

Over the past year we’ve seen a new trend of invites to social events like weddings and birthday parties being made from beautifully engraved, smooth cut outs of wood. For this article, we look at the processes involved in the design and manufacture of the ‘woodcards’, taking in some examples, and giving tips on how you can design these fantastically imaginative items to suit your purpose or event.

The first time I had a woodcard delivered through my letter box, it was to invite me to a friend’s wedding, and the first thing I thought was, ‘crikey, they must have spent a fortune on just the invitations’.

Image 1 Wood Design

The quality of design and the craftsmanship is fantastic and gives the impression of an expensive product. Considering your typical wedding has over a hundred guests, I was thinking they’d must spent several hundred pounds. I was right, prices range from £3 to £7 per invitation depending on the design work required, so they’re most definitely a luxury.

How are they made?

The cards are made using a combination of laser-cutting and scoring the design onto a thin slice of wood or veneer using a laser printer. Laser printers have dropped in price massively over the past decade, which has allowed savvy entrepreneurs to produce the products themselves rather than outsourcing.

A great thing about this process is that it gives the impression of a handmade product, rather than a batch-produced item.

Cut-to-size pieces of the chosen wood are loaded onto a jig in the laser printer, and the printing itself is remarkably quick, anything between 1-5 minutes for a design of less than 1 foot squared.

The main wood used for cards and invitations is birch ply. Being a softwood, it’s lightweight and easy to machine. However, many other woods are used, including ash, oak, maple and poplar.

It hasn’t taken long for a wider range of products to become available from business cards to birthday cards. Recently producers have started treating the wood to ensure it lasts longer.

Who does the Designing?

A lot of the stock designs offered by retailers are great; they simply place your names and details in to their existing templates. There are a lot of options for having a bespoke design made, and often for a reasonable price. Many of the online retailers have an in-house designer for any of their design requirements.

The friend I mentioned earlier happened to be marrying a freelance graphic design expert, so he was well covered there, but I’d say that you really can’t go wrong sticking with a stock template.

Considering the price of production, and the importance of the occasions they’re used for, it’s fair to say it’s better to outsource the designing, unless you’re an accomplished graphic designer of course.

Some of the Best

Image 2 Wood Design

(Source: Serendipity Beyond Design)

Image 3 Wood Design

(Source: Invitationcrush.com)

Image 4 Wood Design

(Source: Freshbusinesscards.com)

Image 5 Wood Design

(Source: This is why I’m Broke)

Image 6 Wood Design

(Source: Carveon)

Wood invite design

If you’ve recently used a wooden style product, whether it was for a business car or a wedding invite, we’d love to hear how you chose a design and how they were received by people.

Susie Francis writes articles for RODD Industrial Design, a Design and Innovation Agency working with international clients delivering strategic design solutions. Based in Hampshire, UK, with clients including Motorola, Panasonic and Transport for London, RODD are focused on delivering the highest quality creative work and commercially effective design.

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The Trend in Interactive Infographics and Microsites

A guest post by Luke Clum

Now that everyone from your favorite author to your dog sitter has some sort of website, most designers have learned that the old, static layouts and pages just don’t cut it anymore. In order to really get the attention of your viewer you have to stay ahead of the trends; a great way to do this is embrace interactivity. Static pages just don’t stand out to visitors anymore, as they are now used to animation, parallax scrolling, and other interactive elements.

But don’t fear, interactive pages don’t have to be complicate, as you can see in this example. Below we outline other great examples of interactive pages and discuss how emulate a similar style on your own.

Examples of interactive sites

SimpliSafe does a great job of showing their customers the length they will go to protect their property. Moving from inside to outside of an animated house as the viewer scrolls down the page, they teach their customers what they can do to ensure safety and peace of mind.

Simplisafe interactive infographic

YouTube pulled out all the stops when they created One Hour Per Second, a microsite that makes great use of animation, creative controls and provides links to some of the most popular clips from their website. When the user starts the presentation, easy to follow examples roll down the screen, providing the viewer with context to understand what it really means to have one hour of video uploaded to YouTube every second.

Youtube interactive infographic

Life of Pi was recognized as being a visual masterpiece at the box office and numerous award shows upon its release. With a mix of film and animation shown in 3-D, it’s no surprise that fans wanted to know exactly how the movie was made. This website uses lots of cool navigation and superimposed sketches of set designs with images from the film. Visitors can watch videos of some of the trickiest scenes filmed and provides before and after images that show exactly what the special effects provide. It’s a great way for fans of the film to get in on the movie magic.

Life of Pi interactive infographic

If there is one thing every James Bond fan enjoys it’s all of the extraordinary tools that he gets to use in the films. And the coolest of all the unattainable items might be the cars he gets to drive. A very clever used car dealer caught on to this and decided to break down all of the Bond cars and let customers choose their favorite. With color palettes that match every decade, swirling backgrounds zoom in and out to reveal the next movie’s car. They obviously know the value of an older car and do a great job of pointing that out to their customers as well.

Bond interactive infographic

The Dangers of Fracking makes great use of visual elements to educate viewers on how wasteful and harmful fracking can be for the environment. With easy to follow graphics that take you from start to finish and navigation that makes you feel as though you are flipping through a book, they put everything you need to know about fracking in one place. It’s a great way to inspire visitors to react to the information instead of just reading it.

Hydraulic Fracturing interactive infographic

Luke Clum Luke Clum is a graphic designer from Seattle who specializes in print and web development. He loves coffee, hiking and alpine climbing in the mountains. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum

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