Designers are now probably part of all the steps that take part in the lifecycle of a product. Having your own business is a lot easier when all the main steps are clear and can be easily organized.

Discipline and organization are some of the main ingredients that can help in creating a smart workspace. There are numerous studies done on this that show how an organization can improve not only efficiency. It also helps in reducing distractions and helps working faster.

For sure, there are many tools that you can use, from the basic sticky notes to all kinds of apps. The pro designers have their own system of doing things. It is quite clear though that person that is well organized is going to succeed in business. What is great about the organization is that you can learn and improve upon it. It takes time and patience, and in this article, you will discover tips that you can start using today.

Start with the simple stuff

It doesn’t have to be complicated. The first step is to build the foundation of the products that are on your list and communicate all the steps of the work to the client. Having some clear rules and habits can help avoid losing files.

If you are working in a team, then this is even more important. If project files are shared with other members, you don’t want to lose time searching for them. Have some clear procedures that the entire team follows, and everything should be ok.

Create Routines

Disorganized people usually do things quite slowly. They jump from one activity to another, and they waste a lot of time and energy when this happens. If you want to become a more organized designer, one first thing you can do is check your daily schedule.

Most of the time, we are not even fully aware of what happens in one day. Make a list during the course of one week to see where your time is going. Take advantage of it, and you will discover how you can start saving precious time for your main goals.

Keep Clutter Away

Creative individuals have difficult times in keeping themselves organized. This also applies to graphic designers. Another tip we have is related to clutter. If you want to be efficient and have happy clients, a clean desk can help you. Even if it sounds simple, there are many people that do not do this.

Think about storage solutions like mail bins that can help in keeping track of your papers. You will see, a clean desk is going to completely change the way you work and do stuff.


Some designers prefer an empty desk, and some like to play around with decor. No matter your preferences, the best thing to do is to have a workspace that keeps you focused. Having colors that bring positive vibes is one thing that you can do. Orange, for example, is known as an energy boost color.

Keep files clear

A lot of designers collaborate with other designers in big projects. If you have done this, you know how bad it is to get lost in layers that don’t have the right naming. Go for a standard structure when you start a project with more people. This will help you all be organized and do a great job.

Pay attention to the fonts

Fonts are a quick way to make your designs look great. And there are lots of really neat fonts out there, but having too many is not ok at all.

If you like to use many fonts in your work and have a large collection, there are many font management programs to use. “Suitcase Fusion” or “Font Agent Pro” are some of the best, and you can really benefit from them.

The advantage of using such font management tools is that you can activate or reactive the fonts you use. This helps your computer use fewer resources. If you don’t have a font activation software and you have many fonts installed on your system, programs like Photoshop or Illustrator become slower. A lot slower.

Use various apps to keep you productive

There is a whole market here for apps that help you be productive. From time tracking, project management, billing, and up to various collaboration apps like Slack, for example.

And there are lots of apps that focus more directly on how you work. Prototyping apps are one type of category that we can mention here. There are also design handoff tools that simplify things.

What you need to take from this section is that there are lots of tools out there that could make your workflow easier and you should test them before making up your mind based on what reviews others have written online.

Have a clean inbox

When you get a lot of new emails, the best way to deal with them is by prioritizing. You can start by creating a few categories that help you do that.

Usually, the criteria are urgent/medium/later. It is quite intuitive what this means, and if you keep this active, your day to day emails are going to be easier to check. This is the simplest way, but there are also a gazillion other ways to organize your inbox.

Use ergonomic tools

As a designer, for sure, you have a custom workstation layout. Taking care of your physical comfort is also important when you want to do great work. If you need to move a lot at your working station, you are going to tire more quickly.

If you work on a laptop, for example, you can get a laptop stand so that the screen is at an eye-level. For a designer, this is quite important, so making this investment can really pay off.


Light plays an important role in any kind of work environment. Bad light can make your eyes to get tired fast. If you have natural light, then take advantage of it. Position the desk near a large window so you can absorb as much light as possible. If you work with artificial light, there are still some things that you can do.

Floor lamps are the best way to go about this because the light doesn’t get scattered and dim.

Also, if you happen to work at night, use F.lux so you do not mess up with your circadian rhythm.

Organize images

We know you have a big collection of stock images on your computer. Any designer has his own collection. So making sure that they are organized is quite important. You can do this by tagging them or putting them in folders.

Don’t multitask or overwork yourself

If you want to take things in a smart way, remember that we all have our limits. Know yourself and what makes you feel uncomfortable and tired. If you don’t do so, you risk getting burnout.

Have a backup

Doing multiple projects at the same time means that you are saving daily a lot of data. You need to make sure your files are safe and that they can’t be lost. Have a useful backup device to keep all of your files stored in a safe and secure way.

With backups, you should focus on Dropbox, Drive or an alternative for your documents, and regular website backups for your website, especially if it has a blog.

Organize your non-digital files

A file cabinet, even if it seems to be out of date, can still prove itself useful. Have a folder for each of your non-digital files. By doing so, you will save a lot of time when searching for a particular file.

Take care of your health.

We can’t finish without mentioning how important it is to take care of your health. You can do this by having a good diet, by doing exercises on a consistent track and doing visiting a doctor at least one time per year so you can see your progress.


In conclusion, this is some of the best tips that we think designers can take advantage of. Make sure you double-check them and see how they can help you.

About the Author

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Bogdan Sandu

Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He's reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.