A picture is worth a thousand words. This adage has never been more suited to anything else than graphic design. For some of us, graphic design is a passion. Its creative aspect lures us in. The feeling of starting an entirely new project is priceless, along with tweaking a design to ensure it’s perfect enough to share with the rest of the world. Nonetheless, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Like everything else in life, graphic design packs a set of challenges. And, sometimes, even the smallest hurdle can quickly turn the perfect project into a nightmare. But, as they say, experience is the best teacher. So, more experience paves the way for the better handling of these obstacles. Without further ado, let’s delve into the 4 main graphic design challenges along with how to overcome each. Read on!
1. Creative Burnout
Burnout is something that inevitably happens after some time, especially among seasoned professionals. In place of a blank canvas that allowed you to get your creative juices flowing, is an adversary that lies between you and anything else you may be doing. At times, creative burnout is a direct outcome of doing something repeatedly with the absence of other creative outlets. Therefore, to avoid this predicament, it’s recommended to take up a hobby such as painting, to keep you in a creative space. Doing so paves the way for you to do something delightful outside your comfort zone, thereby keeping creativity burning inside you throughout your everyday graphic design work.
2. Defending Your Work
Graphic design involves dealing with non-creative individuals on day-to-day. This can leave you entangled in a web of frustration where you always have to defend your work and design choices. The feedback coupled with the input you receive will usually make you cringe. “Enlarge the logo.” “Make the logo smaller.” “Let’s use this color instead because it’s my favorite.”These are just a fraction of the phrases that make your heart sink. It’s an inevitable challenge in the world of graphic design. An easy way out would be to keep your head down, bottle up your frustrations and let the client deal with the consequences. After all, isn’t the customer always right? But, there’s also the other side of the coin that entails railing and ranting, insisting that you know best. Well, the viable solution to this challenge would be to take the empathy route. Concisely and calmly explain to the client why and how you arrived at a given design decision, and what the consequences of their preference are. You can also politely pepper the client with questions to gain an in-depth understanding as to why they want to go in a certain direction. Then offer reasonable compromises that are in the design project’s best interest.
3. Getting Disrespected
It’s a no-brainer that no one enjoys being taken for granted or worse still have someone imply that their job is simple. Usually, such statements are made out of ignorance rather than malice. Nonetheless, it’s infuriating to hear. In graphic design, it’s no different, and you may have been told any the following. “Making pictures for a living must be exciting.” “Graphic design must be the easiest job on the planet.” “Doesn’t Photoshop take on the bulk of the graphic design work?” While it may be tempting, fight the urge to respond to these snarky remarks that get your heart racing in anger. Be the bigger person. Calmly and rationally letting them know that while you enjoy what you do for a living, the nuts and bolts of graphic design is no easy feat. Ultimately, the goal is to be understood, which entails understanding where other people are coming from and educating them on the reality of graphic design. As a result, you’ll get them to see things from your perspective.
4. Missing Deadlines
In the creative world of graphic design, the thought of missing deadlines is enough to get your heart racing for all the wrong reasons. Ideally, you want to avoid this predicament. But, sometimes, it can be beyond your control and happen anyway. So, the next course of action would be to deal with this challenge, but how? Start by being practical about what this means for you and your client. Usually, these deadlines are self-imposed to allow for flexibility. These are referred to as ‘soft’ deadlines. In today’s digital, there is an increasing number of this type of deadline. ‘Hard’ deadlines are those that are set in stone. So, when you don’t meet a ‘hard’ deadline, your client is engulfed in anger and disappointment. But the best thing you can do in this situation is to maintain your composure and remorsefully explain why you were unable to meet the given deadline. Also, remember to conduct yourself professionally. In most cases, this goes a long way in your client being empathetic and giving you a chance to make it right. After all, you’re human, and mistakes happen. Contrarily, being overly defensive and responding emotionally increases the odds of the situation not ending well.
While these are the main 4 graphic design challenges to overcome, another major one that shouldn’t be overlooked is promising what you can’t deliver.
Making Promises You Can’t Deliver
This is one of the most adverse and potentially damaging challenges in the world of graphic design. When coming up with expectations and deadlines with your clients, ensure you don’t oversell yourself. Otherwise, you’ll, later on, have to eat humble pie when you don’t fulfill your end of the bargain. So, it’s safer to complete a project ahead of time and downplay it. Then, exceed your client’s expectations.
Experience is the Best Teacher
These are just a few of the challenges you can expect and overcome in the graphic design industry. Nonetheless, these shouldn’t be the obstacles that stand in the way between you and your zeal to shine through this creative field. Behind every challenge lies a viable solution. And ultimately, it’s through experience that you learn how to conquer these challenges like a champ. After all, isn’t experience the best teacher?
Do any of these graphic design challenges resonate with you? How did you overcome them? Do you have others that you’d like to share? Let us know!