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Small businesses are always on the lookout for ways to make more money, and as a graphic designer you're no different. While it's certainly true that you can only do so much in any given time, when you can save time you make money. Time is money, after all, so try these graphic design shortcuts to be more profitable this year.
You undoubtedly design a lot of postcards and business cards, among other marketing materials, and you probably often come across the discount customer who can't afford to spend a lot of money but you do not want to lose for pure volume of business, community stature or some other reason. This is where a good design gallery comes in – you have pre-existing designs for a number of products, and all you have to do is swap out some text, a logo, and/or an image or two and it's ready to go. There's no real design work for you, and the customer knows what they're getting before you even start – payment up front.
You can download free layout templates for a variety of graphic design projects. Such templates are pre-formatted in the correct sizes, color modes and resolution; and include helpful guidelines for safe areas, cuts and bleeds. The major advantage to these templates is that you can simply open one up and begin designing from scratch without the hassle and time allocation for file setup. Thus, you go straight to the fun stuff, can do more in less time, and can still charge for the file setup. More time, more money!
Design libraries are especially useful for layout artists who work for magazines, newspapers, and book publishing industries where you are likely to use the same basic designs and layouts many times over. Each professional layout or design program has its own design library format and method for creation, and it definitely behooves you to learn them. It might take a few minutes to set up and organize, but once you have a filled design library you can quickly and easily create “standard” layouts with a quick click and drag.
Sometimes even the most seasoned graphic designers do not know the keyboard shortcuts for their favorite programs, and this fact is a shame because you can save tons of time – and thus make more money – by employing keyboard shortcuts. Rather you're proficient in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or something else entirely, you should learn the keyboard shortcuts and use them.
From color conversion charts to CSS codes to XHTML, cheat sheets you can place in a binder or hang on the wall will save you tons of time when it comes to creating graphic designs. Whenever you find a great cheat sheet, bookmark it or print it and store it in an easy-to-find place right near your fingertips for quick future reference.