Estimating and Tracking Time

Estimating and Tracking Time

January 7, 2011

Time management is a fundamental expectation an employer has for graphic designers. In a service industry like advertising, time is money. Time is tracked in regards to activities. Time spent on a project is tied to an billable rate.The more time you take to design something, the more it costs the client. So, you won't have unlimited time to massage a design to perfection. You have to learn to make efficient, effective design desicions tied to the amount of time/budget you have available.

Designers rarely have the time on a project they think they should. You should know what your capabilities are… how much time does it take you to complete a design? The only way to know this is to track it. Tracking not only allows you to know how much to bill, it also teaches you how efficient you are in the design process, so you can estimate how much time you need. Starting out, it is nothing but guessing. But as you gain experience, estimating projects becomes a series of educated guesses. Once an estimate is approved by a client, it becomes your budget. When estimating you are essentially defining the time limitations of the project. Your efforts on the design will be tied to this estimate/budget. If your estimates are too high, it will be impossible to sell to a client. If they are too low, you will spend too much time that can't be billed. Not good.

Anyway, we will be working this semester to develop a sensitivity to time in regards to the design process utilized in a service situation. I have developed a couple of documents for you to use to track and estimate the time you spend on design assignments. Student Time Sheet.pdf and Student Estimate Sheet.pdf. You can find them in my Public folder inside the ART321 Viscom 2 folder.


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