Recycling Design

In the world of marketing and digital advertising, far far away in the nook and cranny of some forgotten corner, there exists the concept of legalities and ethics associated with design and web development. Well technically, it is not all that forgotten or foreboding, it is simply the fact that we as designers or professionals have forgotten how to use or reuse design properly. Think over it, you may probably come up with ten to fifteen different kinds of designs before arriving at a concept that you feel would sit well with your current client. How many times have you bothered saving those “attempts” ? That’s right. They all are, or rather, were usable. But we as designers seldom think of saving the works in progress that we attempt.

But this leads to the more pragmatic question at hand. Is recycling design something which is ethical in the modern construct? That’s an absolute question in itself but the answer is not necessarily that direct. For arguing’s sake however, yes we can dictate and deduct that design CAN be reused. So the question steps in then what are the rules and strings attached with it. So let us look at some of them in without being in too much detail.


This is a no brainer. Certain clients buy certain amounts of your work and they are basically protected legally under their name. This is not deleted work and was never scrapped but you feel like some part of the work can be re-used for a certain client. It can be a certain PSD that would be converted into an HTML document or a widget in an application that you feel can be reused for good results. Often the content can be unusable because you have already used that element for a certain client and bearing in mind how copyrights work, it is probable that you still cannot reuse or recycle that design element.

So using work that has been bought by another client of yours is strictly unethical and even illegal in places if the reused amount is large enough. So the obvious problem that arises here is how to balance the line between reusing and ensuring that the content that goes out is still original and worthy of usage. Even though the market is largely digital, we still don’t want doubts casted upon the credibility of our work.

Rough Sketches

A lot of our work seldom sees the light of day- and by that I mean it seldom goes live. So it gets either deleted and this is where I return to from where I started because our work it seems is mostly spent along trying to create crafts of perfection. It’s perfectly fine to try and be a perfectionist, it is quite another to expect the burden to be fulfilled every time. And the most succinct truth in front of is that we have less time available now. So a lot of business comes in for us in terms of quick application. We have an objective, we have a website and we are told to come up with its concept quickly without wasting too much time.

In a scenario like the one above it simply saves time if you have a slightly rough version of a PSD sitting which was not used by the client or needed a lot more work before it could be finished. In any case that work is just perfect to be used by you for another client because a) it has a concept that would need less work. And it just gives you more ground to experiment on with the design.

Greater Customization

Experimentation in design is always something which can lead to a greater result or output from your end. And when you have a rough sketch or exoskeleton of a design staring across you from the screen, it gives you greater leverage or time to customize or experiment with it to your liking. This is particularly so if you are following a content friendly or minimalist approach to design. All the professionals up front are not too enthusiastic about customization but it can often be the winning combination to make a brand be extraordinary.

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