How to spend less time designing so you have more time to do the things that make you money.

Chances are you spend some of your time working on design for your business, even if you’re not a designer. There’s so much to think about all the time isn’t there? You write a blog post so you need to create an image for that. Except that you don’t just need one image – you need a featured image too (if you’re on WordPress) and then you need an image for all the social networks – so square for Instagram, a long one for Pinterest, rectangular ones in different sizes for Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it! And you might even want more than one image for your post. You might want to use an image to break up the text or to highlight an important point or make into a quote for people to share or who knows what. And you need an image for your newsletter so that when that goes out people can see a pretty image of that. Then you send an invoice and you need to add your logo, you think of something you want to share on social media and need to make many options for that too and meanwhile you still haven’t added your logo to your email signature because who really has the time? You have money to make, right? O and you want to add something new to your website which will require some design time, and then there’s the flier that you’re wanting to put together for your next workshop – including various online graphics for that too not to mention the handout. It’s endless.

 

So the first suggestion I have would come as no surprise – hire someone else to do all of that! If design is not your business then the chances are that design is not your strength and working on all of that is eating away at your time when you could be spending that time doing something which will contribute to your weekly shop or your gas bill or the holiday you’ve booked.

 

However, that’s not going to work for everyone for a myriad of reasons which I’m not going to go into here. Let’s just say, maybe you want to do it yourself. So how do you quit the overwhelm of this endless stream of things to do?


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“8 ways to spend less time designing so you have more time to do the things that make you money”


 

Here’s some suggestions:

 

1. Cut down. Do you reeeeeeally need to have all of those images? It can take a lot of time to put a blog post together without adding extra work for yourself. Yes, a picture paints a thousand words, is more sharable, is easier to digest and draws more attention than a stream of words. But if you have so many words that you need to split your post up with images does that mean that you have too many words anyway? Maybe the answer is to split your post up into shorter posts instead (which will also save you writing time – result!)

 

2. Batch. This is a great time saver. If you know what you’re going to need then you can do a whole load of images all at once. So you can sit at your computer and bash those social media images out. Bish bash bosh – and you’re done!

 

The square image I made for this post. Ordinarily I might not have this in the post, but it would show up if you shared it somewhere, and I'd use it in all the "SQUARE" places!

The square image I made for this post. Ordinarily I might not have this in the post, but it would show up if you shared it somewhere, and I’d use it in all the “SQUARE” places!

3. Be lazy – don’t custom size for every platform. You don’t need to. Really. I used to do this, but now I find that I only need to make images in two sizes. I create a featured image for WordPress, which is the one right at the top of this post, a rectangle – and a square image. That’s it. I like to have different text on each image – which also means I’m more comfortable using both versions on some platforms as they’ll show up differently. If I have time I create a tall rectangle for Pinterest. A square will also work for this! When I DO make a Pinterest graphic I literally go into the square image file, make the square longer and add another image. Sometimes I batch these (see above) and add them in later. The other two images will work fine everywhere else. The key is to ensure the text is as central as possible as this will show better on Twitter. This is what works for me. You need to figure out which platforms are the ones which work best for you and create for those. So if Pinterest is key for you then you will need to make that image a priority.

RECTANGULAR FEATURED IMAGE – works best on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn

SQUARE – works best on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, G+,

*Yes, I also made a custom thumbnail for the video this time too – that’s optional!

4. Try canva for work. I’ve not used this myself, but it looks like it resizes images for you with no extra effort on your part. Sounds like magic to me!

 

5. Ensure you have templates. Templates really help. OK, so it will take you a little bit of time to get set up but it’s absolutely worth it as it speeds things up later. For me, I have layered templates so I can insert a different photographs and change the text and then hit save. Easy peasy. If you use word then set up the header and footer, the background – whatever fits with your brand and keep it as a template that you can just fill in. You should have brand guidelines that will help you to put this together with the right colour scheme and text sizes. If not, then spend a bit more time before you do this, putting together a brand board.

 

6. Repurpose. This is quite similar to number 3 which is about repurposing specifically on social media. How can you repurpose what you have elsewhere? Maybe you could save some of those images at a higher resolution and keep them for your handouts? Or you could include them in your email newsletter? Don’t do something 10 times when once will do.

 

7. Use apps. I use an app called Watermark P all the time to add my logo to photographs I’ve taken on my phone. It’s an easy way to add an element of my brand to an image and post it straight up really quickly. There are a lot of apps you can use to create branded images. Others I have on my phone include Typorama, Over, Flipagram, and PicArt. It’s handy to have Evernote too so you can have a file in your favourites where your colour codes and fonts are listed so you can easily use the right ones.

 

8. Relax. Don’t panic if it’s not perfect – honestly, you’d probably be the only person to know. Do your best – doing it is so much better than not doing it. Next time you can do it better. Practice makes perfect – it also helps you to do things quicker. So keep practicing.

 

Creating designs for your business can be time consuming, but spending some time setting everything up the right way and thinking through what you actually need will help you to save time and create images which are on brand at the same time.

 

What are your time saving tips for designing for your business?

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