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What's a great habit every successful designer should have?

Good and healthy habits are crucial when you’re aiming to consistently produce great design work. If being creative and crafting unique pieces daily is your job, it can be hard to keep coming up with fresh ideas that impress.

When you need more than just the moments when the muse hits you with inspiration, developing habits that foster creativity is the best way to get that spark going every day. We checked in with design experts to find out how they keep the flow of ideas going.

Their recommendations range from habits that cultivate innovation like keeping your eyes open for trends and taking notes from your everyday environment to the more practical habits of staying organized and applying critical thinking to the pieces you craft. 

Explore the habits experienced designers across various industries have developed over the years below and find out what works for you.

Carlye Pittinger

Graphic Designer

Carlye Pittinger

Look for inspiration in your everyday life. 

Styles and trends are changing daily and it's helpful to keep up with them. You may have your own design style that you prefer, but some of your clients may want to go in a different direction and it's important to have some ideas stored in the back of your creative brain.

Running errands? Study the brands that stand out from the rest. Going for a drive? Take notes on the billboards that catch your eye. It's a fun habit to have and you can say goodbye to that creative block!

Website: www.carlyepittinger.wixsite.com/carlyepittinger

Social Media: www.instagram.com/c_hancetherapper/

Nick Williams

Web Developer

Nick Williams

The desire to keep learning is the best habit for any designer to have. 

It could be something as easy as learning new techniques, trends, tools, or even popular fonts. The capacity to simply outwork any of their competitors, regardless of real skill level, comes from not being frightened or too stubborn to continue learning. 

Regardless of the road they take, each piece of design information they absorb brings them closer to mastering their art. It may appear simple and ordinary, but it is actually rather uncommon.

Website: www.nicholasw.net

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/in/n-williams/

César Santillán


César Santillán

Analysis habits.

One of the many habits that have worked for me in my work is to analyze everything I see, everything I read, and what I hear, looking for the whys and wherefores, the intentions and the results of each thing that lead me to be analytical with my work. It’s taught me to be a good judge of what I do. 

Why was the ending of a certain movie bad for me? Because that ad has a certain color palette? Because that logo is so good? These recurring questions help us give a formal and conceptual explanation to our clients and clear their doubts.

Website: www.express.adobe.com/page/b8eklvCAHMM2y/

Social Media: www.instagram.com/cesarsantillan37/

Dejan Veljanoski

UX/UI Designer

Dejan Veljanoski

In my opinion, every designer needs to keep their working environment organized and neat. 

Also, research to keep up with new technology and for motivational purposes is inevitable. And when it comes to managing clients, keeping in touch after a finished job is always a plus for you, even if they don't have a task or project for you.

Website: www.veljanoski.com/

Social Media: www.instagram.com/veljanoski_ui/

Justin Worsley

Toy Designer and Illustrator

Justin Worsley

Take time to experiment and be playful.

Website: www.coroflot.com/jjworsley

Social Media: www.instagram.com/Justin.Worsley

Pimm Buddhari

Brand Designer / Creative / Visual Storyteller

Pimm Buddhari

Always challenge yourself and experiment!

Having a challenge keeps your passion alive and keeps you learning. Working on the same thing every day gets boring and may stop you from growing. However, our passion motivates us to accomplish things and produce great work. Thus, I believe it's important to set yourself challenges so that you have something to strive for and be excited about. And you will soon find yourself with a broader set of skills to tackle any task with much more ease!

Website: www.pimmbuddhari.com

Social Media: www.ilovecreatives.com/creative-profiles/pimm-buddhari

Marc Posch

Creative Director

Marc Posch

My answer: Writing.

In my opinion, it is an essential habit a designer can or better should develop. If you can write, you can communicate better; otherwise, you are just sharing pretty visuals hoping that a viewer will understand.

Good writing informs, provides context and trust, and touches people's hearts. Words can add magic to our work. Writing is like a muscle that needs exercise. I usually write in the morning. Sometimes it’s just a few sentences. Sometimes it's an essay. But I always carve out time for this exercise.

Website: www.opuscreativegroup.com

Social Media: www.twitter.com/opus_focus

Melanie Smiley

Freelance Graphic Designer

Melanie Smiley

Designate some time each month to update your online portfolio! 

Add new projects that you enjoyed working on, and remove things that have become outdated or that highlight services you are no longer offering. This should include social media platforms as well!

Website: www.vividgraphicdesign.co

Social Media: www.instagram.com/vivid_graphicdesign

Aaron Fiehn

Instructional Designer & Training Specialist

Aaron Fiehn

As an Instructional Designer, approaching your work with humility is key to fostering positive relationships and growth.

 More often than not, instructional designers are not content specialists and we often rely on subject matter experts to inform our training. Recognizing the importance of others and working on building relationships and respect with your Subject Matter Experts goes a long way. 

Additionally, you will constantly be growing and developing in your role and profession. The growth that you have will largely rely on your ability to take critique and to offer critique to others.

Website: www.aaronfiehn.com

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/in/aaronfiehn

Angelo Frisina

Founder of Sunlight Media

Angelo Frisina

Every great UI designer should know how to effectively interpret a client’s vision into a functional design. 

It can be challenging for clients to fully express what they envision. A designer’s job is to ask the right questions, reference similar samples and obtain color and styling preferences to ensure they deliver a design that pleases the client.

A good designer should also understand the balance between a functional design and the client’s vision. In general, clients don't fully understand UX, so the designer needs to explain that verbally and visually when delivering design mocks.

Ultimately, it’s the client who has the final say, however, the designer needs to deliver a design that not only pleases the client but the end user also.

Website: www.sunlightmedia.org/

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/company/sunlight-media

Joshua Parkhurst

Graphic Designer

Joshua Parkhurst

A great habit a designer should have is to actively learn. 

This could be as simple as scheduling time every week to Google new design ideas or as intentional as taking college courses along the way.

If possible, find a mentor that can help guide you and provoke conversation every week that can challenge you and open your mind to new methods and concepts.

You don't need to learn new things outside of your expertise but seek deeper knowledge into what you already do and find ways to do it better, present it clearer, or create it more efficiently.

If you can stretch your mind just a little bit each week, your creativity will develop as well.

Website: www.ParkhurstCreative.com

Social Media: www.instagram.com/parkhurstcreative/

Kasey Amato

UI/Motion Graphics Designer

Kasey Amato

Time management. 

I always ask at the end of a project kick-off when the deadline is and when team management would like to see something. This way, I can focus on what’s most important instead of wasting time in the inspiration phase looking at references, or developing something that might be trivial to the final product.

To producers, time equals money. They will appreciate that you were able to stay on schedule and not run over their budget. This way, you will earn their trust and they will keep asking you back to work on future projects.

Website: www.kaseyamatodesign.com

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/in/kasey-amato-a1418032

Jerry Kurek

Motion Graphics Designer

Jerry Kurek

I'd say working on personal projects with the main intention of having fun. 

I think we sometimes get too caught up in trying to figure out what's optimal or correct for our practice, when really being consistently engaged is more valuable. 

Perhaps it's my ADHD brain but I learn way more effectively when I'm having fun. Also, by focusing on the types of design that you personally enjoy, you'll build skills that open doors for that particular kind of work professionally. So have fun making things!

Website: www.jerrykurek.com

Social Media: www.instagram.com/jerrykurek/

Mike Blum

Owner & Chief Creative Officer

Mike Blum

Every great designer needs to anticipate and embrace notes. 

Animation is an incredibly collaborative medium and everyone answers to someone above them -- internal notes, the client, the client's client, etc. And no matter how strong a designer's vision or how beautiful their execution, chances are near 100% that something will need to be adjusted -- usually for reasons that have to do with some greater vision a client can't articulate until there is something visual to react to. The people we work with know this fact, embrace it, and understand that the iterative process will almost always end in a better final product.

So what does embracing notes look like in practice? A designer might start with 15 rough 10-minute sketches exploring drastically different design terrain rather than spending 2 days honing a design they fall in love with but doesn't work for the project. Or it could mean that they layer their Photoshop or Illustrator file in a way that anticipates notes and allows the designer to quickly address them. Regardless, a successful designer knows that notes are coming and is never defensive about receiving them.

Website: www.pipsqueakanimation.com/

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/company/1713594/admin/

Andrea Vercetti

Graphic Designer

Andrea Vercetti

Success or not, a designer should focus on the process rather than the tools to achieve a bold result that is immediately understandable. A good succession of questions about the problem to be solved will show the steps in the process to be taken to move forward. The result will show the answers.

It's really important for you to understand the impact, effects of colour schemes on graphic design, it's one of the key point!

Website: www.andreavercetti.com/

Social Media: www.instagram.com/andrea.vercetti/

Nidhin Nair

Senior Generalist & Motion Designer

Nidhin Nair

Continuous learning is what I personally follow and I think is something a designer should have. You need to be constantly updated with the latest software and skill sets to stay competitive in the market.

Website: www.nidhinnair.com/

Social Media: www.instagram.com/nidhin_motion_design/

Matt Stoner

Co-Founder & Creative Director at Neuron

Matt Stoner

Critical thinking is the most important habit a designer of any kind can practice but it is particularly essential for user experience designers. 

Learning to document and present the “why” justification behind your ideas and work is essential to building stakeholder buy-in and momentum behind the solutions you intended to release to the world.

A common preconception people outside of the design discipline have is that we’re simply making things look pretty, and it couldn’t be farther from reality. Designers are intuitively making thousands of micro decisions daily to produce or work within a design system and craft flows, for a wide variety of use cases, for multiple types of users. In addition to our intuition, through research, testing, and validation we learn how to better justify these decisions.

Website: www.neuronux.com

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/in/matt-stoner/

Tom H. Lien

Owner & Creative Director

Tom H. Lien

Always start with a solid concept and a rough sketch. 

Designers can be tempted to go straight to the computer and create something "pretty". But it should all start with a good design brief, trying to really get to know the desired audience, and then doing several rough pencil sketches before you ever pick up a mouse.

Website: www.liendesign.com/

Social Media: www.twitter.com/LienDesign1

Jessica Kennedy

Website Designer & Strategist

Jessica Kennedy

A habit I'm constantly working on improving is my ability to listen and really decipher what's at the heart of the feedback or direction I get from clients. This means I have to ask the right focused questions to meet them where they are to make sure my next design version is what they're looking for.

Website: www.jesskenn.com/

Social Media: www.facebook.com/jkfreelance

Aaron Snyder

Art Director

You should start every creative idea with pencil and paper. Always.

Website: www.SugarlessArt.com

Social Media: www.instagram.com/sugarless.art

Malo Ayral

Game Designer

Sketch your ideas to show them to other people and for yourself! 

Learning to visualize your ideas is one of the most powerful tools you have. This will not only get rid of misunderstandings but will also lead to people grabbing the same pen and adding a little something to the idea. On top of being useful, it's always fun to draw a little!

Website: www.maloayral.wixsite.com/portfolio

Social Media: www.linkedin.com/in/malo-ayral/

Martin Rico

Innovation in Aviation

I think that a great habit that any designer should stick to is consistency.

Talent is something you can create over time. For some, it comes easily and quickly, for others it requires more effort. With hard work anything is possible but always try to work smarter, not only harder. 

Adaptability is also something I think should be great to have, with software tools as well as manual tools (sketching, prototyping, etc). Regarding different types of job opportunities that arise never stick to only one specific sector if possible. Going back to software tools, don't stick to one because it’s the most widely used, and check in the other design areas. Sometimes new tools could surprise you to get the job done quicker.

Website: www.behance.net/martinjrico

Social Media: www.instagram.com/id__mr/

Maria Laura Morales

Graphic Designer & Visual Artist - Creator of Malmö Kids

I always take time to investigate every new project before I sit in front of my computer. 

I love to start drafting ideas in my sketchbook. I share my ideas with colleagues. I have been doing yoga twice a week for the last 20 years to keep my mind clear.

Website: www.malmokids.com.ar

Social Media: www.instagram.com/malmolaura

Mercedes Pang

Founder & Principal of Speak Up Media

Staying organized is so important! Laying the foundation for how you organize your files will benefit your overall workflow and your clients will also appreciate it.

Website: www.speakupmediatx.com/

Social Media: www.instagram.com/mpangz

Successful designers develop healthy habits to produce fresh ideas consistently instead of having to wait around for inspiration to hit them. Our design experts recommend keeping your eyes open for new ideas in the world around you, taking notes, and sketching on paper to keep the flow of creativity going.

All of this successful designers develop after make, make and remake, some graphic design tips they also can follow all the graphic design trends pretty easily! Have to train again, again and again.

Next to keeping yourself inspired, there are also practical habits to consider that make your life easier and keep clients happy. Time management and staying organized are as important for designers as it is for any other type of work. With these skills in your arsenal, you can deliver consistent work to happy clients who want to keep working with you.

Having said all of that, don’t forget to be playful and have fun while crafting your designs. Leave room for experimentation to explore new styles and discover new ways of creation every day.

Just as the famous graphic design quotes from Steve Jobs : "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get om with improving your other innovations."