Downtime for a designer can be a frustrating time, but it doesn't have to be. When your client work slows down, you should use that time to sharpen your skill set. In this movie, you will learn various ways to turn downtime into a productive and exciting creative endeavor.
- Having steady work is great, sure. But oftentimes, downtime can be your best friend as a designer. This is your chance to recharge your batteries, refocus your energy, and explore new ways of creating things. You can also use this time to create passive income strategies for yourself, like creating stock assets, templates, et cetera. Just because there's no contract in progress doesn't mean there can't be a check in the mailbox. Whenever I get some downtime, here's some things that I like to do. First off, go to a conference.
That's something that is unbelievably helpful. You get to network with other designers, meet potential clients, and learn new things along the way. I also like to do something called a walkabout. This is an interesting activity that I do where basically I go out into the world, and I just walk around. I go to a different city, walk around, take photos, and basically create mood boards of different things that I see there. That enables me to have things in the can so that when I come back and work on other projects, I have inspiration for different moods, settings, and scenarios.
Next up, something I like to call movie review. That's when I go back through old movie posters from way back when, try to figure out the aesthetic elements of those movie posters that worked, and then I work through those and create my own versions of the posters for modern-day movies. This is something that I find to be extremely rewarding. And it's also a great way to sort of pad your portfolio along the way as well. Next, learn a new skill. That's something that designers often overlook. One of the things that I undertook last year is I tried to learn hand lettering.
This is a skill that is learned over time, sure. But I took several classes and went through lots of workshops and in-person conferences to get myself started. This was a great way for me to expand my capabilities as a typographer and also as a logo designer as well. Next up is something that might be a little hard to do, but once you find somebody that's willing to let you do it, it's very rewarding. It's called job shadowing. This is where you go to some place of employment and you ask someone there if you can follow them around, see what they do, and learn from them a bit.
One of the ways that I did this recently is I went to a print shop in Nashville, Tennessee, and I job shadowed the production manager there. I wanted to know what the pain points were for their customers, how their designers in house were using software and things that I could do to help them get over those challenges. This job shadowing experience was immensely helpful for me, and it expanded my mind and skillset as well. The idea here is to maximize your downtime. Don't just sit and think about how nice it would be if you were doing a paid gig right now.
Turn the tables and make this time work in your favor. What are some of your favorite downtime activities? Head on over to our LinkedIn group and let us know. I'd love to hear your ideas, and I'm sure your peers would to. But that's enough talk for now. Let's go ahead and take a look at this month's challenge, shall we?
Take a step away from the grind and see where a fresh direction takes you. Tune in every month for a new opportunity to push the envelope.