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Break These Bad Habits and Become a Better Designer in 2015

Shelly Laslo April 1, 2024 · 6 min read

With the New Year upon us, there’s an air of promise, of possibility, of the ability to become a better version of ourselves. What a perfect opportunity to take a better look at the way we do things in our day-to-day lives and see how we can do them better.
We all want to be better designers, right? So, without getting into lofty resolutions, which can be intimidating and are almost sure to be broken, here are some simple “awesome-lutions†to becoming a better designer in 2015.

Bad Habit: Being a One-Trick Pony

Stuck in a rut? Have you been designing things the same way for longer than you’d care to admit? Design trends are constantly evolving, and what looked great even a year ago can easily look stale and outdated today. In this super-competitive field, it’s imperative that you keep your eyes and ears open for what’s hot and fresh in the industry.

Awesome-lution #1: Keep current!

Luckily for us, with the Internet at our fingertips, it’s easy (and fun!) to keep on track of what’s new and exciting in the worlds of photography, illustration, digital arts, typography and more.
Stop by Pinterest, Dribbble, ThisIsColossal and Abduzeedo daily for an endless sea of inspiration. You can thank me later.

Bad Habit: Living in Your Comfort Zone

You may be an expert in your field, knowing the ins- and-outs of your Canon 5D, or every function your Adobe software has to offer, but to truly maximize our creative potential, we’ve got to broaden our artistic horizons and keep challenging ourselves.

Awesome-lution #2: Try New Things!

A refreshing burst of inspiration can do wonders for the way we look at the world, and in turn, the things we create. Whatever your field, it’s probably safe to say you’re a creative spirit. Why not excite your inner artist and try something totally new?
Never tried to paint? Grab a few tubes of watercolor and start sloshing away! Love the trend but have never tried hand-lettering? Give it a go, you may be better at it than you’d expect! Why not dabble in photography, and try to get to know the world around you through the lens? What you’ll discover may truly surprise you!
There are many wonderful tutorials to be found on practically any subject on YouTube, or you can always search SkillShare for some fun ideas on what to learn. In fact, we just posted a huge list of great educational sites to help you learn new skills.
One of my personal resolutions, however, is to peel myself away from the screen and the endless sea of virtual guides, and to get my hands dirty more often. While I’ve made some neat things with my mouse and Adobe Illustrator, nothing beats getting your hands covered in clay, pastel chalk, or using scissors (the real kind, not the one in your toolbar!).

Bad Habit: Being Impatient

From asking around, I’ve found that many of my fellow designers are guilty of the same thing: overlooking the finer details when releasing a design into the world. Perhaps it’s the rush to see it complete, or the eagerness to start a new project, but fixing something imperfect is much harder than doing it right the first time.

Awesome-lution #3: Success is in the details

Whether it’s releasing a new product in your Creative Market shop or mailing out a design to a client, it can be tempting to declare something as finished when you decide that it’s “good enough.†But in the spirit of becoming a better designer this year, ask yourself: Would this design benefit from an extra look-over? The details are what separate a good design from an amazing design, so make sure everything is seen to.

Bad Habit: Managing Your Time Poorly

From poor time management, to general disorganization, we stand to lose valuable time which could be better spent creating wonderful things. Here’s a little test that helped me understand the importance of staying focused on the task at hand: Recite the alphabet from A-Z aloud, as fast as you can. A, B, C, D, E, F…..
Now recite the numbers one through 26, as fast as you can; GO! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5….
Pretty easy to do, right? Now try to quickly alternate the two: A1, B2, C3… and so on.
How far were you able to go? How much did it slow down your speed, and how many mistakes did you make along the way? This example constantly reminds me to keep my focus on what I’m doing; and that multi-tasking is over-rated!

Awesomelution #4: Get it done

I’m constantly trying to improve the way I run my small business. I wrote another post on what has worked well for me. In the end, creating great designs is only half the battle. Getting those designs to where they need to be, on time and in order, is key to establishing a good name for yourself in the design community.
Implement a system that will allow you to meet deadlines, respond to emails, and maintain your portfolio. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive changes it makes to your productivity, and in turn, your overall success.

How About You?

These are just some of the ways you can work towards becoming a better designer 2015. I’d love to know, what are some of your bad design habits that you wish to break, and what Awesome-lutions did you set for yourself for the New Year?

Shelly Laslo is a graphic designer and illustrator. She is the owner of DrawBabyDraw Designs, where she sells handmade design resources which give your work a unique, one-a-kind charm.

Header image created using Web design. Program for design, and Hipsteria + Bonus.

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About the Author
Shelly Laslo

Hi! I'm Shelly, a picture-book illustrator based in sunny Israel. I create thoughtful digital design goods to help your work shine brighter.

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