Speed up design with workspaces and custom templates

You've no doubt got to grips with your design software – you've used it every day to produce countless designs for signs and graphics jobs. You'll have your preferred settings and favourite layouts and don't spend too much time thinking about how they appear on your screen.


But could your design package be tidier, more efficient, faster to respond? A few hacks could help you streamline your processes. Let's look at a couple of them. 


Your Perfect Workspace


In your design software you'll typically open several different windows for the processes you're working on for each job, and probably move them in a layout that you find easiest to use. Rather than moving them all into place every time, you can save the layout as a default. This is a common feature in most decent design packages, but for this example we’re going to use one of the most popular - Adobe Illustrator. 


  • Go to the Workspaces tab and choose your default templates – Painting, Printing, Tracing and so on.
  • Move your windows into the layout that works for you or for that job. 


  • Go to Window – Workspaces – New Workspace and save this layout as your default. 
  • If you find your workspace is getting a little out of control, just go back to the workspaces drop down and reset the layout to your configurations.

The next time you work on this kind of job, you can get started straight away with a beautifully organised desktop. You can create different Workspaces for different types of job (e.g. digital printing, vinyl cutting, or working with photographs) and immediately have the right tools to hand.


Tailor Your Project to Your Machine 


You can also save time and energy by creating a template for a specific printer, letting you quickly choose the correct layout and arrangement. Again, we're using Illustrator as an example. 


  • At the top, click on File, then New 
  • In the Preset Details field, name the template after your printer (lots of people give their printers affectionate little names, so feel free to get creative) 
  • Type in the dimensions of your device (e.g. the LEF2-300 uv printer has a print area of 770 x 330mm), then click create. 

  • When the new file opens, click File - Save As Template and choose a folder that’s is easily accessible. 


The next time you have a job for that machine, go to File, New from Template, and find your template file wherever you saved it and bingo – your new project will open up at the correct layout and arrangement.


Give it a shot and trust me, once you have your most common jobs saved as templates, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it years ago!