5 Tips for Designing on a Deadline

 In Design

“I love deadlines!” …. said no creative person ever. Sometimes, there’s just no way around it: you get slammed with a few rush graphics on top of your normal workload and all of a sudden you’re feeling overwhelmed and working overtime to meet deadlines. Quick turnaround is a hard reality of the field, since it’s difficult to force creativity. Read on to find out what you can do to better cope with designing on a deadline.



Be adaptable. When you’re designing, learn to live in the moment and adapt to its needs. You may think a project is near completion one minute and the next–bam!–you’re hit with a bunch of last-minute edits.

Expect the unexpected.  Accept that you can’t always predict the future, but do the impossible: try anyway. When you start a project, attempt to establish goals and manage expectations. Get a grasp of what the timeline will look like. Prioritize your hours–carve out the most time for larger projects that will require more work, but leave room for other things that may come your way.

Take breaks. It can be easy to get caught up in a project that you’re excited about and live in the Creative Suite for a few hours, but remember to come up for air. If you don’t, you may miss more urgent tasks/edits/projects that come your way via email or other means of communication. Also, taking a breath and recharging your batteries is essential in order to maintain that constant flow of creativity you crave like chocolate.  

Switch your focus between projects. If you’re out of ideas or feeling like “the only road you’ve ever been down” is about to hit a dead end, switch to work on something else, turn up the Bittersweet Symphony (or whatever floats your boat),  and come back to it later.

Manage your stress, and keep your emotions in check. As you must know, creative people like yourself are among the most emotional. Remember to distance yourself from the work, and if necessary, add more coping mechanisms for stress to your arsenal. To quote Janet Jackson: “we’re sensitive / we’re vulnerable / and we’re complicated people too / so many people rolled into one / we contain so much / so much creativity.”



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Carly Fox is CMG’s Associate Art Director. Carly originally hails from Pittsburgh, but now considers herself a Michigan native. After working as an intern at CMG for a year, she is now a full-time member of our design team. As Associate Art Director, she works as a creative project manager and manages creative production on larger projects.

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