During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses around the world were wondering how they were going to survive and thrive. This was certainly true for the graphic design industry, which faced up to a mountain of challenges.
On the one hand, these uncertain times can feel perilous. On the other hand, there are always opportunities amid hardship.
And yet while many graphic design companies can still work throughout the pandemic by allowing their employees to go remote and take advantage of lots of cool software, the business landscape is never so simple.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the key challenges the graphic design industry faces in 2020, as well as how to overcome them.
1. Visual Branding
Visual branding has taken a bit of a hit because it’s not so easy to get out and take photos at the moment. At some point or another this year, most of the world has been under lockdown, and the opportunity to take photographs has been limited.
People either haven’t been allowed to meet up with others or get out into nature, or they simply haven’t wanted to.
As graphic designers, though, you’ll know that this situation just calls for a bit of creative thinking and resourcefulness. And the good news is that, whilst you can’t get out and take photos yourself as you used to, you can still purchase them online.
JumpStory, for example, sells photos, videos, icons, and vectors on their website. Their images are high-performing and are ideal for polished, authentic-looking projects.
And with over 25 million images and videos available, there’s pretty much something for any type of project. They also have an invaluable AI tool that removes the background of any image effortlessly.
2. Project Direction
Some graphic design companies are still in demand during the pandemic. Not necessarily for projects they were working on before the pandemic struck, but for projects that could aid and assist with the crisis.
For example, companies have been busy creating graphics that spell out government messages, graphics that help businesses to communicate social distancing rules to customers, as well as cute graphics that make us all feel a bit cheerier.
Moreover, what may have resonated with audiences pre-COVID-19 may not resonate with them now. For example, behaviors that were so commonplace, such as shaking hands, have now been replaced by elbow bumps.
Mask-Wearing is the new normal. If a project contained any of these elements and was due to be released during the pandemic, the direction will need to be changed.
Essentially, a crisis like this calls for a shift and a rethinking of the kind of projects and messages that would hit home and be effective with people.
3. Unclear Communication When Working Remotely
Over half of Americans are now working remotely as a result of the pandemic and are no doubt experiencing a few hiccups. Communicating with each other is still possible while working remotely, for example, but remote communication can come with a few problems.
For one thing, it might take a while for someone to reply to another person’s query – much longer than it would have done if they were working in the same office. This can be frustrating and time-consuming.
If your graphic design team is in the same predicament, communication tools can help a lot. Some tools, such as Slack, come with a stack of features and integrations that allow your team to collaborate on projects together.
For more tech-savvy agencies who want more control, such as being able to ping instant messages to one another, talk in real-time, have threads that keep the discussion organized, a customized Slack clone could be even better. Create a powerful chat solution that helps your whole team stay connected while resolving problems and moving a project forward together.
4. Inefficient Workflow Management Processes
If your graphic design company was taken by surprise by the pandemic, you might find that your workflow management process is proving to be inefficient by slowing your operations down.
The key here is to automate your processes so that your workflow runs smoothly. This means getting your whole team onto the same project management and task management tools, and creating systems so that everyone knows what they need to do and by what time. Your workflow should include the likes of conversations, task assignments, content generation, and documents, and each needs to be planned and automated.
To help you improve your workflow management processes, here are some questions to answer:
- What is holding work up? (what’s preventing content from being planned and then created?)
- What is making life difficult for my remote workers? (why do some of them still feel as though they need to go into the office?)
- What information does my team need access to?
- In what areas are my team confused?
The answers will provide keys to meeting operational needs within your unique team.
The final workflow area that needs to be improved is the environment. Getting the environment right for your graphic designers now that they’re working remotely is essential. Here are some things to consider:
Now that your team is away from the office and working from home, they’ll be faced with new distractions. These might include other family members, pets, and visitors. Your team must be aware of any potential distractions before they get out of hand. Then, they can put in place measures that help them to avoid their work being affected.
Getting a workspace just right isn’t easy because it’s not as though your team can easily replicate the office environment. However, things such as adding a personal touch, listening to music, and making sure all the essentials are in place – laptop accessories, chargers, etc – will help a lot.
III) Work Away From Home
If your team can complete certain tasks away from home, and if the current lockdown situation in their area allows, let them know that they can work wherever they’re comfortable. Their environment is key to their productivity, and if someone is more inspired and focused in, say a coffee house, they should be able to work there.
The graphic design industry is facing up to testing times in 2020. But by using the tips and tools in this article and pivoting the way you and your team works, including the type of projects you take on, your business can come out of the other side in excellent shape.