Being a designer is a job filled with creativity and imagination. But nevertheless, there are tons of organizational issues that need to be addressed.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of templates and design collaboration tools out there, which are perfect for easing a designer’s life.
We’ve gathered the handiest templates for designers to use in their daily routine. To give you an overview, we’ve categorized them into the most important topics:
Jump to Single Categories
> Graphic Design Contract Template & Permissions for Designers
> Project Planning Templates
> Creative Brief Templates
> Buyer Persona Templates
> Moodboard Templates
> Storyboard Templates
> Bonus: Design Review Templates & Tools
Get all 61 Free Forms & Templates for Designers (in one list)
Whenever you’re applying for a design job, a high-quality design portfolio is essential. Since it’s one of the first things a potential client or employer will see, a portfolio gives an important impression about your skills and background. When done well, a great design portfolio can build trust, excite the viewer, and help you get the job. In case you want to learn how to build an impressive design portfolio, here’s a great article on creativebloq.
To create your own original portfolio, you can use many platforms and tools, which we’ve listed below: Krop is a job board and portfolio-hosting website for the creative industry. It alllows users to search jobs for designers, artists, and more.
Behance is an online platform that enables creative professionals to showcase and discover creative work via online portfolios.
With Wix, everyone can create their own website for free.
With the help of DeviantArt, you can fully configure your very own design portfolio. Then you can start submitting your creative work for review by potential employers, art schools, or clients.
Carbonmade helps you build and manage an online portfolio website. It can be used to show off design, illustration, art, or any other type of creative work.
Graphic Design Contract Template & Permissions for Designers
Of course, designing is not only a matter of creativity; it’s also largely about copywriting, contracts, and permissions. But which clauses do you need to mention? What kind of conditions or formulations do you have to be aware of?
The templates below provide answers by giving you a corresponding pattern to follow. Especially at docracy.com, there are a bunch of useful samples. But please note that all these templates are just examples of how a well-written contract could look.
The perfect design contract always depends on your current situation—and what kind of project you’re creating. If anything is unclear or you have specific questions, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult a specialized lawyer.
Work for Hire
Another kind of contract for designers is “Work for Hire Contracts.” They’re used if a designer is hired by a creative company. Then all the rights are transferred from the artist to the client. Everything designers create after they’re hired by a company becomes the client’s property.
The following standard form is pretty long, and it can seem quite overwhelming at first. But this document contains all the terms and conditions a designer can make use of. If you like, you can use a form builder to rebuild it and simplify it yourself. After all, the terms are combinable as a function of your current job situation—and the employer you’re working for.
Here’s a detailed guide to the world of contracts. Although the title is more focused on web designers, the samples that the author is presenting in this article can be used for any kind of designer. Also, the tips mentioned in the guide are obligatory, so they’re important to be aware of.
Short Forms (For Example Freelance Graphic Design Contract Template)
These contract templates are specifically crafted for small businesses and freelancers. They’re more compact and less complicated, but they still contain all the relevant terms. Here’s a list of different variants, which can be adapted to your own requirements:
Project Planning Templates
Tasks can be far better managed when they’re written down. Note-taking helps with structuring duties and keeping track of important things we need to remember. Plus, it’s always a good feeling to check off the tasks you’ve already completed.
Another important issue concerning your organization involves the planning and controlling of your goals and strategies. Especially if there’s a lot of work to be done for several different clients, a consistent workflow is crucial for avoiding chaos in between duties.
The best formula is always to split big, complex tasks into smaller, realizable missions. This way, a huge project doesn’t seem so unmanageable and intimidating anymore. Remember: Good preparation is half the battle!
You can download project plan template here.
Sometimes while you’re working hard on a certain project, you might lose sight of your actual goal. That’s why it’s important to define particular goals in a way that you can relate to. As good it is to create something new, it’s essential to phrase what you want to achieve in your own words—and exactly what you’ll need to accomplish it.
Goal Setting Templates
SMART Goals Template – Filestage
Goal Setting Template – Entrepreneur Starter Kit
Goal Setting Templates – Time Management Success
Free Goal Setting Worksheet Forms – Smart Goals Guide
Gantt Chart Template for Excel – Vertex42
Goal Tracking Templates – Template.net
15 Free Task List Templates – Smartsheet
Time-Tracking tools are sometimes a bit more manageable than mere templates. This concept also applies to goal-tracking. If you want to track your goals over a longer period of time, a software tool might be an even better solution for you.
So we’ve collected a few of them right here:
Trello is a flexible, visual method for organizing your projects.
With Confluence by Atlassian, you spend less time hunting things down, and more time making things happen. You’re able to organize your work, create documents, and discuss everything in one place.
Asana is an easy way for teams to track their work and get results. We regularly use it here at Filestage to organize our work.
Wunderlist helps you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.
AnyDo is a free to-do list app, which lets you manage your tasks anywhere and share them easily.
Graphic Design Time Tracking Sheets and Templates
Timesheets are useful for tracking your tasks and your work hours. You get a better overview about your weekly, monthly, and yearly work time – and which tasks you need to allot more time to.
Another advantage of time-tracking is that you can use it to create exact bills, which list your tasks and the time you’ve worked on them. This tool causes you to have more credibility with your clients.
Graphic Design Timesheet
Time Tracking Tools
We have also gathered a few time tracking tools, because even though a template can come in handy, software tools are a bit more precise and easier to handle. Besides that, these tools often come with helpful integrations to goal tracking and billing tools. That makes your workflow more seamless.
MyHours is a time management solution which helps you to track your working time, the current projects you work on and the tasks you accomplish.
Toggl offers an online time tracking software specifically designed for freelancers, graphic designers and consultants.
Clicktime makes it easy to plan, manage and report on employee time.
Templates for Creative Briefs (Graphic Design Brief Template etc.)
Before you start your actual work, defining a creative brief is an inevitable step. It represents a clear picture about the wishes and goals of your clients. Not only does it define the goals they want to achieve, it also predicts budgets and crafts messages you want to convey.
It gives you an overview of what you’re aiming to accomplish during your project, and you can keep using it further down the line. Among other things, a creative brief contains the client’s Unique Selling Point (USP), which summarizes the qualities that separate your clients from their peers.
These strengths and weaknesses are important to figure out—because you always need to take your clients’ competitors into consideration. To fully understand your clients, it’s not only helpful to screen the clients themselves, but also their backgrounds and surroundings.
Eventually, a creative brief template contains a whole analysis of your clients—categorized into their backgrounds, the qualities that make them stand out, their objectives, and their target audiences. It’s an overall breakdown of the major characteristics and properties that matter most to your project.
Creative Brief Template – Filestage
Creative Brief Template for Video Agencies – StudioBinder
Free Creative Brief Templates – Smartsheet
Creative Brief Template for Graphic Design – Tidy Forms
Creative Brief Template – Dexform
Creative Brief Templates – Sample Templates
Design Proof Template and Graphic Design Work Order
The design proof template (or graphic design work order) is a document that allows you to list:
- the ordered design
- a brief explanation about the requested design
- any requested visual specifications
- any requested technical specifications
A graphic design proof template gives a good overview of the existing order and makes sure that you and your client are on the same page when starting to work on the order. The graphic design proof sheet can be also used a kind of hedge for any future discussions about the scope of the project.
Buyer Persona Templates
To do a decent job, it’s essential that you know which customers you want to reach with your design. How do they think? What are their exact desires? Buyer personas answer these questions.
With the help of these templates, your client analysis is much easier to manage. By representing your clients’ most important characteristics, they help you create a perfectly crafted design.
Buyer Persona Template – Filestage
Free Template Creating Buyer Personas – Hubspot
Buyer Persona Templates – Sales Fusion
How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business – Quantum Dynamix
Buyer Persona Template – Contentools
Buyer Persona Template – Indie Gamer Girl
As soon as you’ve figured out the preferences of your target audience, the next step is to create an initial concept.
Since the primary goal is to create an atmospheric picture of an idea, you want to develop the idea with a team or client. You can also see it as a more artistic form of brainstorming. So in the end, the moodboard is your mind’s own little canvas. Another plus: it helps you avoid spending too much time with details before you even know what the larger direction is.
Mood Board Template – Filestage
Mood Board Template – StudioBinder
Free Moodboard Templates – Nesha Woolery
Free Moodboard Templates – Design Yep!
Moodboard Template – White Corner Creative
Free Moodboard Template – Kory Woodard
Now that you’ve exchanged your ideas with your clients and coworkers, the next step is to get into the details—with the help of a storyboard.
Storyboards are needed if you want to give your concept a structure. As the name implies, their purpose is to tell a story that you want to become real. It’s basically a visualization of your idea, and it gets everyone on the same page. All the elements of your story are captured in little scribbles, and it often looks like a comic strip.
Storyboards are regularly used in video and filmmaking, but they can also be super helpful when you want to create a design concept, a report, or an ad campaign. Especially when you want to share your idea with a team of people, storyboards are great visualization tools. People will be able to follow what you’re presenting much more easily.
Free Storyboard Template – Filestage
Storyboard Template – StudioBinder
Storyboard – Sonnyboo
Storyboard – Learn about Film
Storyboard – Film Contracts
Free Storyboard Template – Premium Beat
Storyboard – Free Film School
Horizontal Storyboard – Free Film School
TV Storyboard – Film Contracts
Free Storyboard Template – Dependent Films
Tools and Utilities for Filmmakers – Dependent Films
Widescreen Storyboard – Dependent Films
Bonus: Design Review Templates, Graphic Design Approval Form & Tools
Our design review tool at Filestage works even better. Filestage is an app to share, review, and approve media content with teams and clients. Instead of sending emails back and forth, clients and coworkers mark their annotations directly on your designs, videos and documents.
The web application brings speed and clarity to the client-review process and makes it more efficient. Try it out for yourself, and send us your feedback.
Everyone doesn’t like to deal with organization. Especially in a profession that’s mostly based on creativity, things like structuring and planning can seem trivial. But after all, having efficient workflows and procedures in place helps you have more time for creativity and designing.
So the design templates and tools listed in this article can be of great use. In case you’re also interested in filmmaking, I suggest taking a glance at this article: 163 Free Templates for Filmmakers.
However, I hope that some of these templates come in handy and ease your everyday working life.
With a lot of passion and interest for creative writing and digital media, she always tries to learn new things every day.