Designer amidst Covid-19 quarantine

The coronavirus outbreak has been spreading world-widely leading many people to socially distance themselves. I try not to fall into the infodemic spiral and choose to look at this as a blessing in disguise. While the news is heavy, and the air can feel a bit dense, but we can still find the silver lining in all of this. Prior to the quarantine, we were all caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and never got the chance that we now have to slow down the fast-pacing lifestyles many of us lead.

Once you’ve chosen to distance yourself socially, there’s really only so much you can do moving forward. You’ve done your part to the pandemic. Now it’s time to show up for yourself, with the ample free-time you suddenly have on your hands. I am a designer myself, and to my fellow designers, I urge you to utilize and make the most of this time.

This is the perfect time to start projects that you never found the time for. Or to finish the projects that you’ve left unattended for days, weeks and maybe months. It’s time for you to swim and delve into design inspiration and creation. I took it upon myself to compile this list as a reminder, for both you and I, to channel our focus during this period of time:

1. Relearn Your Design Tools

Because I like to engage with my local community of graphic designers, I attended a graphic design workshop last summer. My instructor asked all of us if we’re in good command of the tools that we use (e.g. Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop). In full confidence, a lot of us answered “yes”, to which she responded by going over every tool on Illustrator, and we discovered that we were only familiar with tools that we commonly used. There were a lot of shortcuts we didn’t know about, tools that made designs a whole lot cleaner, sleeker and quicker. We realized that we didn’t know our tools as well as we thought. So now is your turn to ask yourself: have I really mastered my design tools and programmes?

2. Create Relevant Content

Needless to say that it’s important to work on personal projects, and put your ideas into visuals, however it’s of equal importance to be aware of the latest trends, the news going on in the world, and generally being in tune with the world around you. Join the community by creating infographics to raise awareness about Coronavirus, about having good hygiene practices, what symptoms to look for and how to combat transmission. Create designs that resonate with and speak to your community.

3. Copy Copy Copy!

There’s an unwritten rule that in order for you to be a good designer, you have to create designs that are 100% original, and never been thought of ever before. But some rules are meant to be broken. As a designer, it’s crucial- CRUCIAL for you to start copying designs that you like! Break down the design, understand the layout, the elements, the choice of text, why it looks the way it does, and what makes it a success! And then train your muscles. Start by copying that design. Change the colour of the design. Change the font. Change the illustration style. Animate the design! Find opportunities and tweak it accordingly. Make the design your own. In time, you’ll find that this technique will really hone your skills, and you’ll be able to mix and match the different design aspects you’ve learned from copying other designers you admire.

4. Put Your Designs Into The World

We all are worst critics, and we can easily start doubting our work. We know we can do better designs, but I advise you to not listen to that little voice in your head. Once the design is deemed done, don’t be afraid to share it. There will always be room for improvement, but if you don’t monitor and document your progress, you won’t be able to measure it. Ask your peers for advice. Ask them how would they have improved it. Ask them to recreate it in their style, and make note of what they have done differently.

5. Make Progress

Always strive to become better. Continue creating and continue refining. Don’t be trapped into a loop of constant buffering and procrastinating. Don’t be scared to look at a blank canvas. Don’t worry if you’re uninspired. Build a process that works for you, nourishes your creativity and start working accordingly.

It’s a very dark time for all of us, but I feel like this crisis has brought us together. All of us are now closer than ever. Our fears, doubts, uncertainty are the same, and echo in every mind. And the saying “the only way out is through” has never been truer. We’re all in it together. So let’s make the most of it. Let’s be positive. Let’s create, let’s engage and let’s channel all of this into art.