Hidden tools at my fingertips

It’s an ugly truth that in life, time is money, and by attending Tony Harmer’s ‘Content Velocity with Adobe Creative Cloud’ seminar last Thursday, I was led to understand that how, as a designer, it was possible to create great content even faster.

There are numerous ways to sharpen your skills these days, in any type of industry; whether you choose to read a book, watch “how-to” videos on YouTube, or learn from colleagues and clients. There’s always an opportunity to learn more. Listening to other people’s tips and tricks is always a privilege for me – from countless Monday morning lectures at my university to professional conference events and exhibitions.

We’re at an event today with #Adobe’s @tonyharmer where he teaches us how to use the tools we own in Adobe CC to design and collaborate more efficiently. And we’ll have a sneak peek into something brand new very soon too! #excited #design #graphicdesign #programme #adobecc #collaboration #innovation

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Speed versus quality

In 2017, where speed is a priority for many industries, it becomes vital to teach yourself how to work fast and steady. It is so important today more than ever as we have been presented with the “I want it now” attitude where work is at such high demand, at a fast pace – gone are the days where people would wait 28 days for delivery. I am only 8 months into my career and this seminar enabled me to understand that to achieve a more efficient way of working, you need to learn to design fast and maintain a good work ethic to produce great outputs. But how?

Don’t barcode your time

Being efficient isn’t about rushing to be first to the post – it’s about being smart with your time. We all are aware that there are countless distractions and temptations stealing, demanding your time and effort. Growing to be a fast designer means learning how to guard your time. For example, ‘barcoding’ your time during the day, something I learnt only last week from an associate here at 100%Open, can be particularly counterproductive.  This ‘involves the habit of managing as many things as you can in a day, working in hourly chunks without ever really having the time to focus on one project with any real intensity’.(Sticky Wisdom, WhatIf!, 2002) Barcoding time is a process that kills creativity, as do all these teasing distractions surrounding you. By ensuring more time is spent being creative and innovative, we can guarantee our time and work is achieving its maximum potential. Guard your time, it’s essential.

Pixel-pushing perfection

Something that Harmer was clear about in his talk, is that creatives are thoroughly aware that creativity takes time. ‘Non-creatives’ however often are not, hence the “I want it now” demands. Harmer highlighted that ‘ideation is something that is impossible to stick on a Gantt chart’. Yet, because the world and industries around us are moving at an ever faster pace, it is more important than ever to figure out how to deliver high quality creative content faster and cheaper than before, without sacrificing quality. “Pixel-pushing perfection” can eat up your time, and it’s a constant battle to determine whether something is “good enough” or requires more work. Deliberating on layout decisions can also eat up your time. Left, or right? Bold or italic? Aligned or centered? This proves the importance of collaboration within businesses – and open innovation. For me, simply by having a design colleague to the side of me to deliberate with makes our process much more efficient. In order to maintain a high standard of work, we ensure our communication and motivation is strong and efficient – this therefore, establishes a much more pragmatic way of making decisions and creating work.

“Before you joined our team I’d spend hours deliberating over minor layout decisions – now the same decision is made collaboratively in 5 minutes.” (Murray Sim, Design Director, 100%Open)

Always learning

For me, Tony Harmer’s event highlighted the importance of admitting that you still have things to learn and that sometimes the very best tools are right in front of you – you just might not have noticed them before. This could be an app in the Creative Cloud, or a colleague that sits two desks away. There are tips and tricks that can make your life a lot easier if you put in the time and effort to go out and learn about them. The wonderful thing about the web and design resources is we believe that everything is at our fingertips – and this seminar showed me just how true that is. I feel privileged to have been able to take a day out of studio life to attend something that opened my eyes up to a new way of seeing. I now feel a lot more knowledgeable in how to progress as a designer and to ultimately, continue to work hard, but in a smarter way.


  1. Great post Lily. I really like the principle of all of these tools at our finger tips and making collaborative decisions in minutes rather than procrastination that can come when working alone. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing what these new tools enable. Roland

  2. Great observations, Lily! I love how you approach all new information with curiosity and keep reminding us old farts what ‘openness’ really looks like.

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