Understanding and Reviving Unused Designs

In the past, wars were won through smart strategies and skilled soldiers. Just like in those battles, the graphic design world has its own kind of warfare. Designers present their best work to clients, and sometimes those designs get rejected.

Just like in a graphic design business, when a design is rejected, it often ends up forgotten on a computer hard drive. I like to call these forgotten pieces ‘unused designs’. Even if you win the client over with another design, these unused ones shouldn’t be forgotten.

You can still make the most out of these ‘leftover’ designs, just like a smart general would make use of all available resources.

In this article, we’ll explore how to give these unused designs a second life and put them to good use.

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What Are Unused Designs?

Designers often create multiple designs to meet client demands. Some of these designs get rejected and are categorized into three main types:

1. The “Extra” Designs

Offering multiple design options can be confusing for clients and add to your workload. However, in a competitive market, it’s often necessary. Designers usually create a couple of high-quality designs and a few “extra” ones.

Extra Designs

These “extra” designs are less polished and often created just to meet the required number of options. They usually end up in organized folders after the project is completed.

2. The “Retired” Designs

These are designs that were once used in campaigns but are now archived in the designer’s portfolio or the client’s records.

3. The “Incomplete” Designs

These are designs that were abandoned midway and are usually forgotten in the computer’s storage.

How to Revive Unused Designs

Now that you understand what unused designs are, let’s explore how you can repurpose them effectively.

Add to Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is an excellent place to display your work, including your unused designs. It serves as a quick source of inspiration and helps showcase your skills.

Portfolio Site

Choose your best or most meaningful designs to enrich your portfolio.

Showcase for Greater Exposure

Online platforms like DeviantArt, Flickr, and Dribbble allow you to showcase your designs and gain significant exposure.

Design Showcase
Sell as a Resource

You can also sell your unused designs on various design resource websites, turning them into a source of income.

Sell Your Design
Recycle into New Projects

Repurpose elements from your unused designs, like backgrounds or icons, in new projects. This saves time and ensures your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Recycle Art
Develop Case Studies and Blog About It

Turn your unused designs into case studies for your blog. This provides valuable learning opportunities for your readers.


Every designer faces the challenge of rejected designs. However, these designs can still be valuable. This guide should give you some ideas on how to give new life to your unused designs.