When people ask what I do for a living, then nod sagely, I wonder if they know what type of tasks I undertake? What is a typical day for a graphic designer? Well, there is no such thing, which is one of the reasons I love my job.
A day can drag by doing tedious admin or fill me with excitement as I embark on the first ideas for a new project. I can attend a networking meeting with scores of people followed by further client meetings during the day, or I can spend my day completely alone.
I made a note of everything I did one Thursday last month; this is a record of my day.
Often I start the morning with my email turned off so that I can have an hour or so concentrating on a task I really want to get done without any interruptions. That wasn’t the case today though, as I started work late at 10.00 am. I checked and replied to my emails and arranged a phone meeting with a client. So far, so boring.
I then checked my social media channels and analytics, and engaged with connections – something I like. My team is virtual and we are sitting in our respective offices in London, Basingstoke and Bristol so I often don’t get to see people face-to-face. Talking to people on LinkedIn fills that gap for me, with the added bonus of getting to know my connections better.
10.45: Over the phone I received initial feedback from a client on the new Squarespace website I am designing for him (now finished). All seems well. He initially presented his content exactly as I would have wished, so amendments are few and will be easy to do.
11.30: I needed to identify a typeface for a job I’ll be working on later. There are two resources I use for this: Identifont and What the Font. Unfortunately neither of these was successful as I had so few characters to feed into the software. Luckily I have a very good knowledge of typography and access to thousands of fonts, so although I couldn’t find an exact match, I found one almost exactly the same – in fact it’s nicer!
11.45: Whilst finding a suitable font, I discovered some glitches in my Adobe account. I’m sure I’m not the only graphic designer who hates admin and techie tasks, and my heart sank at the thought of fixing these. Luckily this only took up 15 minutes of my time.
12.00: Continuing from yesterday, I carried on redrawing a client’s logo (in Adobe Illustrator) using the new typeface I discovered earlier. I also redrew a selection of existing branded graphics we could use in accompanying marketing materials (reports, presentation, etc) and came up with a couple of new ones.
2.15: I always have a lunch break, ideally with a change of scene, and today was no exception.
3.15: A client’s WordPress website needed some some minor changes to one of its headers and another two originating (in Adobe Photoshop).
4.15 : Last week I designed some web banners and email signatures. My client asked me to create an Instagram branded post as part of the same campaign (see below). I used Adobe InDesign for this.
5.15: My working day usually finishes around 6pm, so 5.15 is a bit late to start something new. I ended the working day by reading a couple of chapters of The Human Edge, our Business Book Club’s choice for the month. I’m really glad Amanda Cullen started and runs this group, as I prefer to read fiction. Being accountable to the club forces me to read this type of book – and surprisingly I usually enjoy it. You can read my review here.
So there you have it. Was that a typical day for a graphic designer? Not really. Adobe InDesign is the programme I use nearly all the time and it was very under-represented today. Also there’s usually have a bit more admin and project management to do. The day may not have been typical but it was certainly enjoyable.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to Annette’s bi-monthly emails.