Time, Momentum and Design

If you lose track of all time when you’re ‘in the zone’ designing, that means you’ve probably picked the right career. There’s an almost meditative aspect in all art, and it happens during those long stretches of time when a designer is slowly but surely putting all of the important pieces together in a layout, or working out the most aesthetic color scheme, or, well, anything that has to do with bringing a message to life, visually.

For most busy Graphic Designers, however, time is seldom a luxury. We’re often faced with ticking time-bomb deadlines, where everything is at risk, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and the end result has to satisfy several key points that were established at the initial creative brief. With all of these factors, getting into ‘the zone’ of designing often leads to that all-important stage in the process: momentum.

Now here’s where the frustrating part can happen. Just because you’re gaining momentum, in the zone, carving out that possible path to a successful design…it doesn’t mean you get to stay on that fast track. In fact, chances are good that your client is going to ask you to head down a different path, or explore ideas that might not have occurred to anyone at the onset. I’ve found that sometimes the proposed graphics, such as a hero image, can spark new ideas that lead to adjustments in the messaging. And sometimes, the message itself needs to be altered, scaled back or expanded. And all of these changes will certainly affect how a designer deals with a specific layout.

Even when your cherished design goes under the chopping block, and those zen-like moments of pure designery seem to have been for nothing, the truth is that every aspect of what you do has led to this moment. Getting to the finish line sometimes means gaining momentum down a dead-end road, and then switching gears toward the mountain peak. We’re lucky that we have the kind of jobs that allow us to lose track of time, while having one eye on that all-important deadline.


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