Speeding Up Your Design Workflow

5 lessons we learnt from working consistently on an Instagram series for 12 days while in lockdown.

 

People may think working on a design series consistently for 12 days is not a lot of work. This might be true if you compare it to people who are consistent for months or even years. But guess what? It’s not as simple as it sounds, and we realized that just three days in.

 

 

instagram.com/limexhoney #creativelockdown

 
Things began to get hard as we had to juggle this alongside client work and other real life situations that needed taking care of. Eventually we figured it out and it didn’t happen by magic. We learnt a few workflow tricks on the way to help us better optimize and keep going without compromising and we’d love to share those tips with you guys today.
 

 

First thing is to PLAN-FREAKING PROPERLY!!! We can’t emphasize this point enough. Proper planning makes everything move smoothly just like a banana peels on a wet tiled floor. Planning involves a wide range of things from optimizing your day and your tasks, to planning the content itself. Now, you need to figure out the central message. What do you want to talk about? List topics that would fit under your theme, and then filter them in order of relevance. Also find out which ones can overlap and group those. It should feel like a unified story from start to finish when put together. That means the next post should be a buildup of knowledge from the previous post. Or you could throw them all over in any direction. The most important thing here is, that you must have a plan so you don’t get stuck halfway.

 

 

 

Next thing will be to research the topics you want to talk about, and then put your own spin on it. It’s not unique if you just lift the info off Wikipedia. Nobody does that anymore. Stop it. What really helps is if these concepts you want to teach are things you’ve learnt yourself, applied and got results. You have much depth when you merge proper research with experience. This gives the content a unique voice and makes it better than a cold article someone would read from a random blog. Remember, your perspective matters. Write the content in your voice and don’t be afraid to share your opinions. Be controversial if you need to be.

 

 

 

Setting a visual direction is the next thing you need to do. Ask yourself;

  • What is the aesthetic of my page?
  • What would I like this whole series to look like when it all comes together?
  • What is one design style I love so much and would love to experiment with?
  • What style can I work with really fast without wasting time?
  • Can I do this continuously for more than a week without it getting boring?
  • Is it innovative and different from that one guy who’s carousel style everyone is copying?
 

If you have very comfortable answers to these questions, then you’re on your way to setting up your visual style. Cook up a quick moodboard for reference if you have to. By the time you’re done, you should have the kind of imagery you want to use locked down, as well as your color schemes and typography settings. This helps paint clear pictures for you once you begin to work on the individual posts. Makes imagination easier.

 

 

 

Once you have a visual direction, the next thing to do would be to get a resource bank, either online, offline from friends or create some yourself. Things like fonts, image banks, illustrations, color schemes, icons, etc. should be readily available for when you need them. You do not have to create everything from scratch every single time you work on a new post. People don’t really care even if you recycle old stuff. Just make it look good. Some resources you could get free stuff from are;

 

Pro tip: Try as much as possible to personalize some of these resources as millions of other people probably downloaded that same thing the minute you also downloaded to use.

 
 

 

One last thing. We’d love it very much if you took notice of and recorded your process each day. Data like how much time you spend on each post, or what time is best for you to work on a post, or how you search for images, your ideation process and a few others are very important information to take notice of. It basically helps you to know exactly what you’re doing so you can easily iterate and renovate around it. Most importantly, it gives you the power to recognize certain patterns in your workflow which helps you to avoid common time wasting mistakes and helps speed up your workflow. Record, iterate and build systems. It makes life easier for everybody.

 

 

What the whole project looks like in Adobe Illustrator
 
 

One more last thing. Lol. A lot of people also wanted to know how our carousel designs were so different from what they’ve seen. So we’ll share a few tips on what goes into the thinking for each post.

 

 

what a full post looks like before exported into individual squares.
  • Think of the whole thing like a flipping book or
  • Pulling a long strip of one united sheet of toilet roll.
  • Tell one unified story
  • Build suspense with each swipe
  • To get people swiping to the end, always drop interesting unexpected bombs at the end. People will always look forward to that in your posts.
  • Say things as they are without filters. It’s a conversation, not a sermon and it’s not a memo either. Say it like you’d tell that your friend you’re insulting all the time.
  • Here are a few pages we like and think you should check out. [ Chris DoGregg GunnStefan Kunz and Dimeji ]
 
 

Through it all, don’t be too hard on yourself if you flop a few times, It’s okay to fall sometimes, just relax, reassess and try again, that’s how you can learn and build processes that work for you.

All of these concepts are things that can help you with managing any design project at all, it’s not only meant to be applied for Instagram projects.

Check out our little instagram project here, and visit our website or behance to check out other interesting projects.

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