I’ve been working as a designer for a while. I work on print and digital assets. I work in-house especially involving materials for events, such as posters, flyers and social media post graphics. My problem is when designing a concept from scratch I am slow.

I get caught in the layout phase and go round and round until I come up with something I think works. This can take days sometimes.

At the beginning of the project I look for inspiration, make sketches and then start work laying out. Then I get into a cycle of beginning to layout and struggling with getting the layout/colors right.

I often abort the idea go back to the drawing board and sketch out something else, only to repeat this several times before I land on something good. Or alternatively I end up spending a whole heap of time on one idea and not getting a finished layout I like. I get frustrated with myself and I know it takes longer than needed.

Any thoughts on how I can learn another way to work through this?


The kind of work is mainly for events, posters, flyers and social media graphics to advertise events. Typical age range for events is 18-25 year old. Events are either educational or entertainment. My role is to design from scratch. I get under a day to get creative draft done, which is 2-3 concepts to send to approved. They expect finished designs and that’s how the other few designers in my team work.


2 Answers 2


Try to think of the work less creatively. Are you really creating something new, or just mixing ideas others have created before? Understand what the client wants and give up on sketching and alternative ideas. Settle on the first idea that comes to mind and present that one to the client. Wait for feedback before spending more time on the 'creative' part, which can indeed become a time-consuming trap. You'll be surprised to learn most clients will generally buy the first idea coming from well experienced designers.


As primarily a frontend developer who does freelance websites and projects for others, my way of approaching most situations is as follows:

  1. Client approaches me with an idea.
  2. I ask them for more details about their idea and for examples of similar existing projects/websites to what they want.
  3. We discuss a plan and make a contract of what is expected (and do a down payment).
  4. I then look for other existing projects that are similar to what they want - sometimes this means getting an existing theme, reusing an old project of mine, finding a demo of something similar to what they want.
  5. I create a new thing based on their needs, the examples they provided, and what else I found. Once I get the basic gist down, I send this to the client.
  6. The client provides feedback and I tweak the thing based on their feedback. Sometimes steps 5-6 happen a few times.

I find that this saves me a lot of time because I'm not trying to create the thing from "scratch" every time, especially not based on their initial desires. It's much more informed than that.

Besides, everything is a remix, why try to fool yourself and end up taking more time.

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