Right before the final showdown in the movie Jaws, the heroes finally run into the shark that has been terrorizing their small beach community. With one glance at the beast, Chief Martin Brody exclaims, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” The protagonists’ last encounter with Jaws results in one destroyed boat, one death, and a long swim back to shore. With the proper preparation, this ending could have been avoided altogether.

Up until Chief Brody, Quint, and Matt Hooper set out to find the shark, Jaws devoured five people (in separate boats), and a dog. Knowing this information, either the shark expert or the old seamen should have had some foresight to better prepare for their mission. A bigger ship, grenades, and heck, even a rocket launcher could have gone a long way.

The chances of encountering a man-eating shark are 1 in 11.5 million (but if you do, heed my advice – ROCKET LAUNCHER).  While preparing for a shark attack may not be necessary, there are plenty of professional opportunities that benefit from forward thinking. In my world, it’s being design-ready for every client at any moment. Like right now…or even right…….NOW. Instead of rushing my work and providing a client with a subpar product, I prep as much as I can to ensure that I’m ready for anything.

Beach is Closed

Whether it is a quiet day in the office or a rainy work-from-home day, slow days open up the perfect opportunity to create something new. In these instances, you don’t have a pitch or concept to work with which, meaning you can design for yourself. Take this time to research recent trends, challenge yourself to learn a new design skill, and push past your comfort zone. While results vary, you may find that your new design is a perfect fit for one of your clients. Now when a client has a request come up that needs a quick response, you will be ready.

Not sure where to get started? Check out our do’s and don’t of the design process, or this site that generates different graphic design prompts: https://sharpen.design/

The Mayor is Addressing the Public

News events can profoundly influence the information your client would like to share with the public. Take, for example, one of your clients’ CEOs is speaking on an upcoming panel. You know plenty of time before who is talking, giving you the upper hand. Instead of waiting for a blurb to create a graphic, prepare the design beforehand with space for a quote. This way, when the CEO says something insightful you can instantly share your graphic.

Man Eaten by Shark After Beach Gets the All Clear

PR crises will come up when you least expect it. In Jaws, no one knew that the tiger shark they caught was the wrong the fish or that another attack was imminent. While you will never know when disaster may strike, you need to make sure that the client is ready to respond immediately to any issue they may face. This proactive strategy requires conversations beforehand with the client and your team in order to handle each potential crisis properly. If it is deemed that visual support is needed for a crisis, it’s important to have graphic templates before any problems occur.

Always Use a Bigger Boat

When you think you have enough designs planned for the future, know that they may not be enough. I will repeat my earlier sentiment: if you are going to have a showdown with a man-eating shark – always chose to fight with a rocket launcher. There is no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to graphic design. Have an arsenal of graphics in a folder that will meet the needs of your clients, so you too can be design ready.

Rebecca McTear