Well, it’s been a while since we’ve posted any content to the Blog, and this is due to a very good problem to have: we are bursting-at-the-seams busy. So much that we have added two more designers to our team.
We must be doing something right to be expanding in an ecomomy that is this flat. But, the new hires do add even more inturruptions to the normally scheduled chaos. So how do we cope?
Depending on skill level, we assign the easier content updates to them to get them more versed in our working style. And then when I run out of work that is appropriate, I will have them investigate/critique websites and write up a quick analysis of what is lacking in both areas of design and in the way the site is marketed.
This method of homework is valuable to designers that are moving into the web world to help ensure that they not only design in our style of sites, but also that they think about the message behind the site in a similar manner. Designing is half about the thinking that goes into the design.
If your designer is not thinking about how the audience is going to interpret the message then in some respects they are not really designing, they are just layout artists. Both can be usefull, but for our design managers to be able to see the light of day we need our design staff to be self sufficient with this side of the job as well.
More to come…
I have found that no matter how ergonomic your mouse is or how many levels of sensitivity one’s stylus has, there is nothing to make your work go faster than good use of keyboard shortcuts. So I thought it might be useful for me to present some of the lesser know Photoshop shortcuts for your review.
First and foremost, the simple ‘tool switch’ shortcuts are the most essential in my process and these are also the ones that I never see my designers using. This allows you to skip the mouse moving over to the needed tool and back to the canvas. I recommend printing them off and having them next to your screen until you’ve internalized them.
The Tools Are:
‘M’ - Marque Tools
‘V’ - Move
‘L’ - Lasso Tools
‘W’ - Magic Wand
‘K’ - Slice Tools
‘J’ - Healing brush Tools
‘B’ - Brush Tools
‘S’ - Stamp Tools
‘Y’ – History Brush Tools
‘E’ – Eraser Tools
‘G’ - Paint Bucket/Gradient
‘R’ – Smudge/Sharpen/Blur
‘O’ – Burn/Dodge/Sponge
‘A’ – Path Selection
‘T’ – Text Tools
‘P’ – Pen Tools
‘U’ – Shape Tools
‘N’ – Notes Tools
‘I’ – Eye-dropper Tools
‘H’ – Hand (temp shortcut – Spacebar)
‘Z’ – Zoom
Additionally, any tool can be easily switched with the next in it’s series by holding the ‘alt’ key and clicking the tool. And of course, the spacebar temporary hand tool is essential for moving the document while using a different tool as well as all of the functionality of the ‘shift’ and ‘alt’ keys within nearly every tool and function in the program, if you are unfamiliar with these, just try it, that is what undo is for.
- Happy designing.
I think that just about every designer out there would agree that the biggest problem we run into without exception, is fighting with time. To really be able to create stylish modern designs, we have to be able to not only clear the deck of inturruptions and distractions, we also have to be actively seeking inspiration. This is also very hard to find time to devote to simply browsing the net for new ideas to pull into our own visual vocabulary.
Once properly inspired, most of us will likely lean towards creating something new – outside of our comfort zone, because this is what really makes design intrinsically rewarding. Although, going outside of ones’ comfort zone often leads to project time over-runs. Which of couse means more time in meetings about why this happens and more time that we are taking away from other creative endeavors.
Time is the enemy and a good designer is as much artist as juggler. Being able to keep all the elements of a design; marketing message, content collection/creation, inspiration, new approaches, customer contacts, etc., etc. in line with a project timeframe is a feat that should be commended in its’ own right. So I commend you sucessful designers/jugglers out there.
I will continue this particular train of thought to elaborate on methods I have found effective for design-time management. Stay Tuned!