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SXSW: Six Things Every Designer Should Do Now
by Molly Evans 13 Mar 2016

Designers often get caught up in getting deadlines met that they don’t take the time to learn new things that can make getting that work done faster and easier.

A screenshot from Paul Trani's presentation on using shortcuts in Photoshop.

I’m attending the 23rd annual SXSW Interactive conference, exploring a variety of issues and inspirations currently surfacing in the world of technology. Follow @mkatevans for quick updates throughout the weekend and check back with Art&Seek for full stories. 

Paul Trani, a 20-year design veteran and Senior Creative Cloud Evangelist at Adobe Systems, gave several “pro tips” for designers using Adobe Photoshop or creating graphics on a daily basis. He said designers often get so caught up in getting deadlines met that they don’t take the time to learn new things that can make getting that work done faster and easier.

Get to know Trani and his work:

“Designer” is a broad term, Trani said, but designers of all disciplines do creative work and want to do it faster in order to maybe go outside once in awhile or get more than six hours of sleep.

The following is a list of Trani’s six actions for designers to take to work better and faster. Watch Trani’s hourlong presentation spotlighting specific Photoshop shortcuts, companion programs and new features.

  1. Pay attention to design trends. A good place to start is Shutterstock.com for current trends on image editing and manipulation as well as infographic creation. A few trends in PS and image-making in general are double exposure, long shadow and hand-lettering, Trani said.

“The new creatives are doing more things with pen on paper. It’s a cool thing…in this age of technology to see people going back to their roots.”

2. Speed up your workflow. Trani said workflows are habits for designers, meaning they’re hard to change but easy to recall. Shortcuts or key commands are some of the best ways to cut time in your workflow, he said. It’s estimated a person could save up to eight days a year just by using shortcuts. Here’s a Photoshop cheatsheet.

3. Work non-destructively. Trani mentioned using Adobe Bridge to load your images as layers into Photoshop, naming your layers effectively, using Camera Raw for several image editing effects in one location on PS and using Artboards for presentational purposes.  

4. Work connected. Trani said your libraries in Photoshop are second to layers in importance. He also said to keep all your files with you in multiple places and to “share your stuff” for feedback from colleagues and clients. 

5. Produce graphics quickly.

6. Use the right tool for the job.

Note: Time ran out in the session before he could fully explain the last two items.

Here’s his full presentation