I think my workflow is extremely inefficient since Everytime I start a new project for visual design I have to start all over again ...

Seems like I cannot reuse anything between projects. Is this normal? Or do people building a symbol library that they can reuse.

Also for every project I start by searching sketch resources for a template that might be a fit in terms of color combinations and then I start tweaking it. Is this how one should do it ?

  • "visual design" is very broad, could be a bit more specific?
    – Cai
    Apr 22, 2017 at 15:23
  • I meant when doing visual design for mobile applications
    – user855
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


I personally tend to use "common assets' far more than any template. Common assets meaning, swatches, paragraph, character, object, table, graphic, layer styles, brushes, shapes ... An InDesign library containing commonly used artwork (bursts, banners, buttons, etc). Those sort of things.

I only use what could be called "templates" in a couple areas....

For InDesign... a blank document set to the size I need and containing general Paragraphs, Character, Table, Cell, and Object Styles I customarily start with. But I always then alter for each piece. I don't have any "templated" layout which contain any actual artwork though (save maybe page numbers).

For Illustrator/Photoshop.. I have nothing... except maybe stored color swatches, brushes, styles, etc. But those are more common resource files than "templates".

I do tend to not use Photoshop/Illustrator for layout purposes. If I were to use them to that extent, I'd have the same basic document setups I do for InDesign. Just blank pages set up to size and containing general styles for use - no preexisting art though.

For web pages/emails, yes I have templates. Various HTML/CSS pages with layouts for different uses. This is probably the only area where I have set up specific elements with colors, type, sizes, position etc. And then adjust as a project requires. Web page templates are far more about saving time and effort by not requiring me to rewrite markup than about design choices.

(I don't really do UI design.. but if I did, I'd treat it a lot like web design... and I'd have UI templates with formatted art for buttons, etc).

For me existing artwork templates are a road block. They set my creative thinking down a specific path. I then must force myself to veer off that path consciously. By starting with a blank slate, I force myself to be more creative rather than forcing myself just the be "different" than the last time.

I do tend to sketch on a small, crappy, wire-bound, notepad I keep on my desk. It's just faster to scribble by hand than to use applications for exploring ideas. (Except web design.. wireframes are faster.)

  • Exactly this. Reusable resources/assets are a must but actual templates are really bad for creativity; I've attempted it a few times and it's always done more harm than good.
    – Cai
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:46
  • (except your last sentence... I still find wireframing web stuff on paper much quicker and easier)
    – Cai
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:47
  • The problem I have with paper and wireframing is that blocks can subconsciously be sized to fit the idea... rather than the idea using set sizes. By using applications all the "boxes" remain the same size so the jigsaw pieces aren't distorted to fit a layout :)
    – Scott
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:49
  • Sure, there's definitely a ton of benefits to doing it digitally I just find paper a hell of a lot quicker. I pretty much exclusively use grid paper too so I'm pretty good with sizing things
    – Cai
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:53
  • To each his (or her) own :)
    – Scott
    Apr 22, 2017 at 16:54

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