11 Reasons Deadlines Matter for Graphic Design Teams

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A graphic design team comprises creative individuals invested in developing stunning results for their clients. However, that passion can sometimes lead to missing or loosened deadlines.

Deadlines are necessary for projects large and small. They help teams stay organized and realistically manage their and their clients’ goals.

Here are 11 reasons why deadlines matter for your team:

1. Deadlines Add Value to Time

Whether your team works on one project or takes on multiple jobs, setting a deadline adds value to their time. Everyone knows the work must be completed on a specific date and the team must finish each element in order and on time.

Creative individuals may not focus on project completion without a set deadline. Deadlines motivate everyone to stay on task, and the shorter they are, the more valuable each moment becomes.

2. Deadlines Help Teams Prioritize

Priorities can get confusing when there are several projects to handle. Setting a deadline allows your team to prioritize tasks within the shortest time frame.

Once you have your deadlines figured out, you can begin prioritizing tasks based on how long they take to complete.

For example, something that will take several days to implement should take priority over a different part of the design that can be completed in minutes.

3. Deadlines Make You Clarify Goals

Goal clarification is necessary for all aspects of life, including designing for the internet. When negotiating a deadline, you must determine your client’s and team’s objectives. Go over the pros and cons of the different elements to determine if the deadline will allow you to accomplish what you want for your client and team.

A deadline can also change your or your client’s goals. You may not be able to complete everything by your client’s launch date. Be realistic with your client about what you can do before a hard deadline. They may need to learn more about the design process and have unrealistic expectations about when things can be done.

Having a well-defined schedule clarifies the situation.

4. Deadlines Set Expectations

Similar to goal clarification, deadlines set expectations between your team and your client. Designing may go on indefinitely when you have unlimited time.

This can be detrimental, as clients with little knowledge of web design might need to realize what will and will not work best for their website layout or graphics. Deadlines spark conversation about what is practical for your team to complete.

Sit down with your client and describe what your team can do in different time frames. This can help manage their expectations and help you come up with the right deadline for the project.

5. Deadlines Eliminate Confusion

Deadlines keep your team and the client on the same page throughout the design process and help everyone know what is happening. They make you create a schedule that allows designers to accomplish everything on time and stay on the same page.

Check in with your team regularly to provide updates and keep everyone on the same page.

The lack of confusion also eliminates the stress of team members not knowing what to do throughout the day and helps them adhere to the project’s schedule. Clear goals and open communication help your team avoid stress and burnout.

6. Deadlines Help You Measure Progress

Deadlines require setting milestones to meet along the way. They help your team objectively measure if the project is going well.

Your team can meet or not meet a deadline — there’s no in-between. That applies to the final deadline and smaller objectives throughout the project. Every goal you accomplish is a small win. Make the schedule clear so no one is surprised when a deadline comes.

Celebrating each milestone can remind your team where the project is in the timeline and what steps they still have to complete. Sending an encouraging message or providing lunch boosts morale and keeps everyone on track.

7. Deadlines Create Conversations

Deadlines encourage designers to communicate and accomplish their work on time. Observing the communication within your team can tell you a lot about them.

The chances of meeting a deadline are slim if members are unwilling to talk to each other about their tasks. You should lead by example. Keep an open-door policy, check in on each member’s progress and see what can help them complete their assignments on time without burnout.

The deadline also helps teams keep in contact with clients by reviewing progress and keeping up to date with any changes.

8. Deadlines Enhance Creativity

Sometimes you have to get creative to meet deadlines. You need to be realistic about what you can do conventionally and what will need some tweaking.

Getting creative with design elements will strengthen your team in the long run. For example, taking your own picture might be faster than spending hours searching for a stock image. Doing so gives them a new experience they can use to save time going forward.

The skills to do the job creatively will help your team stay efficient throughout their projects.

Perfection is the enemy of done.

9. Deadlines Help Your Team Avoid Perfectionism

Everyone wants their project to be perfect, but that perfectionism can lead to stress and a missed deadline.

You need to deliver on what you promise your client, but that doesn’t mean you have to meet unreasonable expectations. A website may not look exactly as you want it to, but it’s fine if it meets your client’s requirements.

Decreasing the need for everything to look exactly as you imagine removes pressure from your team and helps them focus on what’s important.

10. Deadlines Boost Your Team’s Confidence

Your team is the glue that holds your company together, and meeting deadlines helps them boost their confidence.

There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with meeting a deadline. Teams that meet them reap the satisfaction of knowing they have another satisfied customer in the agreed-on time frame.

Rewarding your team for accomplishing things on time will increase their job satisfaction.

11. Deadlines Increase Customer Loyalty

If you make an agreement with someone, you want them to follow through. Your clients feel the same way. Increasing your client retention rate helps your business be more profitable.

Your client will likely come back to you for their next design since they can trust you to meet deadlines. Your popularity and positive reviews will attract additional clients. Consistently providing results lets you create a large and loyal customer base.

graphic design deadlines
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

How to Meet Deadlines

It can take practice to consistently meet deadlines, especially if you and your team aren’t used to having them.

Here’s how to meet them:

Break up large projects.

Setting little finish lines along the way makes large projects seem less intimidating.

Centralize communication.

Opening up a message board or forum using a business-oriented platform allows for fluent communication for all team members. This helps keep everyone on the same page.

Stay positive.

Keeping to a deadline can be stressful, and tensions get high. You can keep morale up by staying calm and positive and helping team members cope with the pressure.


It’s important to listen to your team members about their problems and concerns. They aren’t robots, and things will come up that impede their progress. Working together to develop solutions and offer encouragement will help everyone reach the deadline while keeping their sanity.

Keeping Deadlines as a Design Team

Deadlines are a necessary part of the design process. Your clients have goals that require your hard work to meet them. Adhering to deadlines will motivate your team and strengthen your company’s reputation.


About the Author

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Beth Rush

Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and Content Manager at Body+Mind.

Body+Mind features articles about diet, fitness, mental health, parenting and health care.





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