How fast should a graphic designer work? The question is more complicated than you’d think. We’ll explain the graphic design process and why it takes time. Finally, we’ll offer some ballpark figures on what makes fast graphic design and how long you should wait for common design projects.
Did you know that 78% of consumers consider logos to be works of art? And yet, it’s unlikely this vast number of people would want to wait for a logo design as long as they would for a commissioned art piece.
Although in many cases, graphic design is nothing short of brilliant art, it’s almost always required in a limited timeframe. Graphic design serves a purpose and most commonly that purpose is to help businesses make money.
Heard the old adage that time is money? Well, you can see why people get frustrated when they think design takes longer than it should. If you ever found yourself in that situation or are wondering, “how fast should a graphic designer work” anyway, we’re here to help.
Let’s start from the beginning and explain what goes into the graphic design process.
Graphic design is present in virtually every walk of life these days. Still, many people have little understanding of how graphics come into existence.
In fact, this is often a big point of disagreement between designers and clients.
The graphic design process has several critical steps, so let’s dive deeper and explain each of these and how long they might take.
Obviously, some of these steps involve meetings or discussions with the client. As you may suspect, giving you a timeframe for these is pretty tricky. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of emails; other times, these turn into marathon meetings.
So, let’s just focus on the critical steps in the actual designing process and how long they might take.
- Market research (2-8 hours): Even if you provide your own market research, the designer will still have to take time to get to know the relevant trends and what your competitors are doing. The process can take much longer if you don’t provide any first-hand information.
- Client interview (1-4 hours): Every design client fits into a particular industry and type of business. And yet, each person is also an individual. It’s always valuable for a designer to know what the client (dis)likes before they present ideas.
- Study the brief (15 minutes - 1 hour): The more detailed the creative brief, the better! However, many design clients omit key specs or don’t know the correct terminology, so it’s up to the designer to fill in these blanks.
- Create a mood board (up to 2 hours): This is a brilliant way for designers to get their ideas together and nail a sense of style and feel of the design.
- Develop a concept/sketch: (2 hours): The rough draft/sketch is an extremely important step in the design process. It’s the time to determine the right direction and eliminate the wrong ones.
- Design (2 hours+): As you might suspect, this is the part where it’s virtually impossible to give a rough estimate for a timeframe. A simple social media post takes a couple hours, while web design can take weeks. We’ll talk about the details below.
- Revisions (30 minutes - 8 hours): This is another segment of the design process which is difficult to define in terms of time. It greatly depends on the type of revisions that is needed and the type of design.
Yes, graphic design is complicated and sometimes takes quite a bit of time. But you still want to find a fast designer, right?
Well, you can’t decide who that person might be if you don’t know how long specific design projects take. Let’s tackle that question.
How fast should a graphic designer work?
Like most creatives (and indeed people), designers won’t always work at the same pace. Several factors might help or prevent them from designing graphics faster (which we’ll get into later).
However, any client needs a rough idea of how long some common graphic design projects take. Let’s take a look.
Logo & branding (10-15 hours)
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Although logo designs are often quite simple, they’re one of the most challenging graphic design projects to create.
A logo should perfectly match the brand identity and appeal to a specific target audience. Ideally, it should use text and visual cues to suggest what the company’s all about without being too “basic” or unmemorable.
Sounds like a tall order? That’s because it is!
The duration of logo design really depends on two things:
The complexity of the design. The amount of research the designer has to do.
Obviously, a simple, minimalistic design that’s been clearly articulated will take a lot less time than an intricate illustrated or animated logo. However, if the designer also has to think about the concept from scratch, it will significantly impact production time.
Landing pages (10-20 hours)
As with web design, numerous facts at play impact how quick graphic design is.
Although a landing page is a single page, it’s usually much more detailed than some of a website’s “peripheral” pages. Landing pages promote a specific product, service, or campaign. That’s why they usually have several key sections such as:
- Hero section: needs to include value proposition, call to action and images.
- Features: the section to go into more detail about the product or service.
- Validation/testimonials: social proof helps build credibility and trust; 44% of B2B marketers name social proof as one of the top 3 elements of web design.
- Call to action: most critical part of a landing page; once the viewer has all the required information, you should encourage them to complete an action.
A landing page has to have a clear sense of structure and a natural flow. Even with an exceptionally fast graphic designer, this process takes some time. Of course, once the design is completed, you still have to get the coding done. Finally, don’t forget that A/B testing is essential for a high-performing landing page, so the designer might need to make some final revisions down the road.
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Web design (approx. 6 weeks)
As you may suspect, web design is one of the longest and most complex projects. Web design is a joint effort by a number of people including marketers, content writers, copywriters, web designers and developers. For all of them to finish their work and for you to have a running, working website, it can take weeks.
But you’re here to learn about how much time the design of a website takes.
Well, the most obvious aspect that impacts the length of time for web design is the number of pages. Next, the length of the pages themselves and the level of complexity of the design is another thing to factor in.
In general the initial design takes about 2-3 weeks to complete. The designer will first create a wireframe, which is a sketch of how your site will be organized (there are no design decisions at this stage, other than the layout). Next, they will provide some mockups which you can use to give feedback and decide if you’re moving in the right direction.
Pay special attention to the layout again, and ensure that you like the overall feel of the website (it is playful, corporate, etc.). Don’t get stuck on the details such as a specific color or fonts - these can be changed easily.
After the first draft is finished, some revisions will usually be necessary. So, you should factor in at least 1-2 weeks for that.
Don’t forget that design will still be a part of the A/B testing stage. So, once the developers have the site up and running, if they notice something isn’t working properly, a web designer might have to step in and make adjustments.
Display ads (1-8 hours)
Although display ads don’t have exceptionally high engagement rates, they’re still beneficial for keeping your business top of mind and building brand awareness.
Still, people see between 4,000 to 10,000 display ads daily, so to get noticed, your design really needs to stand out.
Here are a few tips on creating a perfect display ad:
- Use bright colors.
- Don’t overload them with text.
- Include a value proposition/benefit and a clear CTA.
This is definitely not the most time-consuming task and even the DIY route (which we don’t recommend) usually only takes a couple of hours. However, remember that a good display ad campaign involves a lot of testing. So, the first version of the ad might not be the final one. Therefore, the total production time for these might be longer than you expect.
Social media posts (2-4 hours)
Similar to display ads, there’s no doubt you can design graphics fast for social media. Like display ads, there are plenty of useful templates you can adapt in no time.
An excellent way to design graphics faster is to have a social media kit with custom-made templates that you can switch around and use for extended periods. Here’s what a social media kit might include:
- digital logo (which you should have anyway)
- brand logo stickers
- profile headers/banners
- post graphics
- social ad graphics
- story templates
It might take a bit longer to design all of this, but you’ll most likely have all the assets ready in a few days. And with all of this in your arsenal, fast graphic design is guaranteed. Set up a social media calendar and just get your designer to make minor changes whenever needed.
Presentations (approx. 10 hours for 15 slides)
Although most of us have likely played around with PowerPoint design at some point, nothing can beat a professionally designed presentation. Visme found that 91% of presenters feel more confident when presenting with a well-designed slide deck. However, 45% find it challenging to find creative layouts, and 41% struggle with sourcing images.
Although slide decks are often text-heavy, it doesn’t mean that designing them is easy. A graphic designer must ensure that a presentation is visually appealing and easy to read.
Don’t forget that even a fast graphic designer still needs to source images. Although it’s always better to use custom graphics instead of stock photos, which, granted, might take a bit of extra time as well.
Email design (2-4 hours)
You may know that email marketing has the highest ROI, but how big of an impact does design have on email campaigns? Let’s take a look. Emails with graphics have
- 30% higher open rates compared to those without;
- 42% better click-through rates
- 17% better click-to-open rates;
As you can see, design is a critical component of an effective email marketing strategy. Luckily, email design is not a very lengthy task, so you should have something up and running within a few hours.
Just make sure that you have your content ready and proofread before you hand it over to the designer, so they can design quickly.
Custom illustrations (2-4)
How to work fast as a graphic designer: tips & tricks
Whether you’re a professional looking for some actionable tips, or a business/agency owner who wants to help your team design graphics faster, we can help.
Want to know how to work fast as a graphic designer? Here are some ideas.
- Don’t wait for inspiration - find it.
- Sketch first, design later.
- Ask for feedback.
- Design in stages.
Find your inspiration.
You’ve probably heard the expression that there’s no such thing as a creative block - it’s all part of the process.
Perhaps it’s a way to commodify art, and yet if you’re a creative professional, the fact of the matter is that you’re dealing with deadlines and often multiple tasks that take you in totally different creative directions. As a result, creatives feel confused, drained for ideas, and lack a sense of direction.
Luckily, there’s a way out of it! There are many corners of the internet and graphic design websites where you can find heaps of creative inspiration. Here are a few ideas:
- Portfolio platforms such as Behance and Dribbble.
- Design blogs, such as Design Week, Creative Bloq, and our own design blog.
- Design-related YouTube channels
- Social media
- Local museums or art galleries.
Of course, as cliched as it sounds, great ideas also happen when you switch off. Take a walk in nature or go for a short drive. Of course, don’t forget to bring your sketchbook with you!
Sketch first, design later.
When pressed for time, many designers will jump straight into designing without creating a sketch first. However, this is always a bad idea.
A clear sense of direction is necessary for fast graphic design, and that’s precisely why you need a sketch. Remember that your clients are not designers, so they often won’t know what works (or what they want) until they see it “on paper.”
Sketching can significantly reduce the amount of time needed for revisions and, sometimes, can lead to a more effective/creative approach to the problem.
Ask for feedback
Not being able to get on with your work because someone is constantly questioning your decisions? Yeah, nobody likes a micromanager.
On the other hand, there’s nothing more detrimental to the graphic design process than switching off entirely. Graphic design is not a piece of art you hang up on your kitchen wall. It serves a particular purpose for a particular audience.
Checking in regularly with your client or the rest of the team doesn’t just create positive working relationships; it also helps you design graphics faster.
Whenever you make significant progress or want to make changes that weren’t agreed on, you should check in and ask for feedback. Be prepared to get your ideas shut down. However, it’s much better to know early on than having to overhaul a finished piece of design.
Here are some useful questions for asking for feedback:
- “Do you feel this layout provides easy access to information?”
- “What is missing/could be removed?”
- “Which color/font/image of these would you like to use?”
- “What do you (dis)like about the design?”
- “Do you feel this design aligns with your brand image? Why? Why not?”
Asking questions about particular aspects of the design and asking for the client’s input rather than opinion alone is always more helpful. Remember that sometimes clients can’t articulate or decide what they like or dislike about design. In the interest of fast graphic design, the designer’s job is to help clients give actionable and valuable feedback.
Design in stages.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and racing to meet a deadline, dividing your work into chunks is a brilliant strategy.
You might want to divide the tasks into design stages such as:
- finding a color palette/font,
- first draft;
Give yourself a deadline for each smaller task and try to meet them. As you work through them, you’ll find yourself more motivated to keep going. And it’s going to be easier to keep abreast of the work.
Alternatively, you might want to divide a piece of design into different segments such as layout, fonts, images/illustrations, and colors and finalize each segment separately.
It’s an obvious yet greatly overlooked component of fast graphic design. Exhausted and irritable workers are never going to be at the peak of their creativity and productivity.
Of course, enough sleep is the most vital form of rest, but don’t neglect others as well. Take a break from your computer and social media and, instead, do some reading or socialize.
Do some light (or heavy) exercising to get your energy back. Or, you know, just try to find a short space of time where you allow yourself to do absolutely nothing - you’d be surprised how positively it can impact your productivity!
Fast graphic design is at your fingertips!
We hope you found our tips on how to work fast as a graphic designer helpful. And if you’re a design client, make sure to use our guidelines when determining the timeframe with your chosen graphic designer.
Remember that the design production time can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the project and the designer.
If you’re working with freelancers, you never know what other commitments they might have and how that will impact your project. In-house workers are reliable, but they might not be proficient in every type of design, so they might need a bit more time for tasks they don’t have experience with.
We’re an unlimited design service meaning we allow you to request as many designs as you want at a flat monthly rate.
Fine, but you’re here because you want fast graphic design. Well, due to the number of clients we serve daily (hundreds of them!) and our vast team of designers, we work like a well-oiled machine. Thanks to our easy platform, requesting design is easy: no need to worry about the information you should include; just fill in the form!
So, how fast do we actually work? Here’s a breakdown of our estimated daily output - what one of our designers can deliver in the course of a single working day:
- 2-3 social media graphics
- 1-2 custom illustrations (more if they are not too complex)
- 2-3 display ads
- 4-5 pages of a brochure, ebook, report, or slide deck
- 1 GIF draft (2-3 sec)
- 1-2 flyers
- 1 logo draft
- the first draft of a landing page.
Once you put your request in, we’ll assign it to a designer whose skills and experience are the best fit, which helps to maximize our efficiency.
In addition, you’ll also be working with dedicated project managers who ensure that the design process runs smoothly and there are never any unexpected delays.
Learn how to get started with our unlimited graphic design service
Download the ManyPixels User Guide — you’ll find all the useful information there
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