In ancient times, battles were fought with strategies, precision and a lot of tactical manoeuvers. The side with the largest armies, the smartest generals and the most skilful soldiers can literally conquer the world. Soldiers are trained to attack, defend and protect, but there will be casualties and losses. It was a brutal world.
However, it’s not that different from a graphic design business. When a graphic designer presents his work to the client, he puts forth the piece he thinks is the best. If the client rejects this piece, the designer puts forth his second-best, then a third-best and so on.
As the designs get removed from the battlefield, they get dumped to a quiet corner of the hard disk, never to be touched again. I call them ‘deceased designs’. The designer may win the battle in the end, but no battle ends without casualties. However, like a tactical general, the designer can always unleash the full potential of their ‘fallen’ designs.
In this article we are going to discuss how we can resurrect these fallen heros and make good use of them.
Recommended Reading: How To Become A High-Demand Designer
What are Deceased Designs?
Although a designer loves all his works equally, however, during a design process, he has to cope with a number of demands and requirements from the client which may result in rejected designs. The following are 3 major types of deceased designs:
1. The ‘Others’
While it is not a good practice to provide the client with a number of options in one design process, as it confuses the client and adds to your work load, however, in today’s highly competitive market, floating several different design options is a necessary move. Owing to this trend, a lot of designers adopt the practice of making one or two very fine designs as well as few ‘others’.
(Image Source: Sony-Mae)
The ‘others’ are those designs that are relatively less worked-on and sometimes are only designed to fill in the required quantity. These ‘others’ make a major portion of the deceased designs and are usually stored in organized folders once the project is complete.
2. The ‘Old Timers’
The ‘old timers’ include all the designs that float through a hectic design process and eventually reaching the apex of being published, printed or displayed. However, once the campaign is over, they are taken down and placed in their final resting place in the designer’s portfolio or the client’s marketing records.
3. The ‘Unfinished’
The final category of deceased designs comprises of the ‘unfinished’. As the name says, the ‘unfinished’ designs are those which, for some reason, are abandoned in the middle of their making and are stacked away in the computer’s memory where they remain in their ‘unfinished’ state, usually forever.
Resurrect the Deceased Designs
I hope by now you have gotten a pretty good idea of what deceased designs are, and some of you could easily relate to it as well. In this section, let’s see how you can reuse these designs and make them work for you once more – and this time, more effectively.
Add to Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is a great place to showcase your talents and work history, and it may be the best place to keep your abandoned designs. In fact, in my views, putting a design in your portfolio adds to its life and gives the kind of exposure and attention which both the design and its maker deserves. Moreover, your portfolio often acts as our quickest source of inspiration.
While seeking to get inspiration for your existing designs, you wouldn’t have to search folder to folder; rather your portfolio would be a one-window solution for a bulk of inspiration.
Nonetheless, I am not suggesting you to put each and every design you have ever made in the portfolio. Choose your best designs, or the ones you worked really hard on (or are particularly proud of) and make your portfolio as rich and diverse as possible.
Showcase for a Better Exposure
A few decades ago, it was not possible to opt for this option easily. However, nowadays, there are a number of online design communities where you can showcase all your designs, including your deceased ones.
Websites like DeviantArt, Flickr and Dribbble give you a great opportunity to upload, showcase and gain tremendous exposure for your design work. Showcasing your designs online will also vouch for your good online presence which is very crucial in the current Internet-oriented world.
Sell as a Resource
The Internet is a realm of opportunities and if good exposure is not enough for you, your deceased designs can earn you money as well. There is an array of design resource websites and affiliate programs where you can put up a complete design, or some of its elements for sale.
You can sell and re-sell your designs as many times as you want, and all these websites require is a simple registration and a percentage of the amount of a successfully sold design. Well, for a design which would otherwise be left accummulating dust in a corner of your hard drive, this alternative is not so bad!
Recycle into Newer Designs
Designers often work really hard on all their designs, but there can only be one winning design. Being a creative professional myself, I know how much it pains to see your design ‘die’ all alone as if dishonorably discharged and forgotten. Therefore, in order to avoid letting your hard work and creativity go to waste, try to recycle your deceased designs by using certain elements (like background, layout, icons or the color scheme etc.) into your new projects.
(Image Source: Momo-Deary)
This will not only save your time and resources on the new design, but will also give a sense of satisfaction that no matter how many times your clients turn down your designs, you still can make something good out of them.
Develop Case Studies and Blog about It
Apart from the showcasing, using and re-using, your deceased designs can also be used as learning material. Nowadays, almost every freelance as well as employed designer runs a blog, and the ones who don’t run a blog, write on other blogs.
So, with an increasing trend in blogging and educating thorough blogging, you can develop your deceased designs into different case studies and inform your readers about its different aspects i.e. the client type, the design process, the hurdles you faced and the reasons behind its success, and sometimes more importantly, its failure.
This will create an absolutely valuable learning opportunity for your readers and they will always come back for more.
To Wrap Up
No matter how experienced a designer is or well established a design company is, the client’s taste is the kind of devil that shows no mercy while turning an alive and happening design into a deceased one (most of the time for very absurd or unknown reasons). I know that initially every refusal, turned down or halted project will make you sad or disappointed with your skills.
However, I hope that you would have gotten a few ideas on how to resurrect your deceased designs, and keep on designing to the best of your talents.