Stop Wasting Time & Space

Five methods on reusing digital assets

I am a collector (hoarder) of all things digital that deal with product templates, icons, wire frames, Photoshop brushes, etc. My desktop is constantly raining folders, images, and duplicate copies. None of this counts the files sitting in my Downloads folder that were forgotten. If I could collect everything and rank them in order of use, there would only be a few out of hundreds that were used more than once. That is really astounding considering the hours spent finding , using , downloading, and fine tuning only to end up making the effects by hand on similar projects.

How is that efficient?

The best way I found to cut clutter is to reuse assets that have “one” use. There are massive downloads of stock images, flow charts, textures, and icons that are plastered on one project then forgotten. Don’t follow the crowd instead take what you have and get creative in areas that need addressing.

1. Spice up a presentation.

Presenting a bad project or sitting through one happens every second of the day. I’m sure if you stop for five minutes you could hear the collective moans of tortured corporate workers clawing out their eyes. A presentation isn't about throwing in mounds of data, and words on one screen to show that you did the work.


Presentations are the visual elements that support what you’re talking about and you have to be the focus. Your job as the presenter is to keep the audience from reading ahead and losing them. Keep it simple and keep it entertaining. A little icon or illustration can go a long way to add breathing room on a cluttered slide. It doesn't hurt to fool everyone into thinking you took extra time out of your busy schedule to wow them.

2. Make a unique illustration.

Combining different products together to make a new piece isn't new. People from all walks of life do it to create something original every day. Use the mounds of inspiration scattered across the Internet to influence how you reuse the assets. This is probably the cheapest route you could take and something you can present to a prospective client. I would rather someone give me a jumbled attempt at their idea the first meeting than me doing a lot of guesswork.

3. Enhance email newsletters or resumes

Using graphics to enhance email newsletters and resumes is becoming common practice. In the age of data visualization and infographics helping us digest information it is a standard to jump on board with. Most email apps allow for use of images along with animated ones to be included in newsletters. There are services out on the market to help your message work on multiple platforms.

For resumes using illustrations adds an extra bit of pop to an old format. You are making a first impression that could lead to a potential job or a new connection while networking. Illustrations could lend a hand in using the white space effectively on the page and detailing skills without listing them.

4. Make cute chat icons

Everyone and their mother is using some form of messaging application and they have their particular set of emoticons. Why not try your hand at producing your own and submitting them for use? Every application should have a guide to using custom icons and if you can’t find one then someone on YouTube could teach you. Live a little and create something funky that no one else has.

5. Try to fix Comic Sans and Papyrus

You will become a god.

Don’t believe me?

I’m sure I came across it in some holy book years ago. It exists!

All of the illustrations were produced using products in my Creativemarket store and can be used using Adobe Creative Suite. If you can’t afford Adobe Creative Suite then look into InkScape or GIMP. Please recommend this if you like it so others can have the opportunity to read it.

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