“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the Golden Rule. Applied by the religious and the not so religious alike; this simple statement is the ethical and moral fiber to all humans. This rule however, can be applied in more depth than simply a relational/social area alone. This can be applied to the “commercial word” as well. More specifically, and more directly related to this creatives perspective, it can be used as a barometer of good designers vs. great designers.
All designers great and small, start out as production artists. As production artists they learn to use their artistic talents in a “directed” way. They hone their skills by applying them toward a creative goal that has already been hashed out, and now requires that it be “produced” for the director. It is here in these early stages that I make my point. For it is at this stage in any designers career that they can find out whether or not they have what it takes to move up in the “ranks” of the creative industry. It is at this stage that you are also working alongside other production artists. There is the constant threat that you may not even be working on the same project the next day. So, here is where the application of the “Golden Rule” comes in. As a designer you should always strive to be so thorough with your work that you have even gone so far as to “mark your trail” behind you. Practically speaking, one area that this can be done is in Photoshop. If you were working in a large image that will undoubtedly have to be opened again, don’t flatten the layers. Other things that can be done are labeling your layers, or use the newer features, such as adjustment layers. Make it so that if your boss, or your client, or another designer were to come along in your absence, they would be able to make changes with minimal effort. You have given them “written directions” to your map. How lovely would it be in reverse? You open a colleagues file and you find that the way is marked and paved with layer markers, and groups alike that make it simple for you to find the relevant items and make the changes accordingly.
This practice is applicable to all areas of design, not just a simple photoshop tip. Whether it be from the production artist’s perspective, or the creative director’s, it is important to treat others the same way that you would want to be treated. Work “smarter” not “harder”.