5 Graphic Design Tips for Non-graphic Designers

Did you know more than 50% of small businesses close within five years? There are a lot of factors behind this, and poor branding is one of them.

Strong branding starts with good graphic design. You’ll need a visual style for your logo, website, and marketing materials.

What is graphic design, and how can non-designers master it to craft impactful brand logos or marketing visuals?

Don’t fret; we’ve got you covered with this essential graphic design tips for non-designers. Continue reading to learn all the graphic design tips you seek. Don’t hesitate to check out our podcast discussing these tips and more too!

Don’t Fear White Space

Remember that you don’t need to fill every inch with colors and images. Doing so will flood the space and clutter the image. People looking at your design won’t be able to notice the important elements.

Cluttering your design makes the image appear messy and unprofessional. People will notice whenever you’re filling up space for the sake of it. The design will also look cluttered and clunky when viewed on a mobile device.

Avoid clutter and let the most important parts of the design stand out.

To achieve this, leave some white space. Negative space isn’t a bad thing. Let the visuals breathe. In many ways, the white space around the visual design works like a spotlight.

Looking for some examples? Take a look at some of the product pages on Amazon. There’s a lot of space around elements like the product image, Add to Cart button, and the Subscribe or Log In buttons.

Keep It Simple

It’s rare for a complex graphic design to stand out. A good example is the logo for Starbucks. It’s one of the only busy designs that people easily recall simply because it’s already a widespread icon.

Look at other successful graphic designs. The logos for Apple, Nike, Amazon, Nintendo, Samsung, and Alienware all rely on simple images.

The biggest benefit of a simple design is its versatility. You can easily print it on business cards, shirts, posters, and brochures. It’s quick and easy to enlarge or shrink the image, ensuring you can put it on any background, web page, or merchandise.

Simple designs are also easier for people to remember. They make a lasting impact since people only have to recall a basic shape or color. This helps people retain the design in their minds.

Complex designs are also expensive. Think about the costs for all the ink to print by the thousands with a complex and colorful design. Simpler designs aren’t only effective but they cost less too.

graphic design tips

Careful With Colors

Choosing colors for your graphic design is one of the most important basics you need to master. Don’t rush through the process!

Never start a design with colors already embedded into the image. It might look pretty now but what happens when you print it in black and white? Will people still be able to identify the image when it’s in monochrome?

Design first in black and white. This will ensure the image looks good no matter what color scheme you decide to use. It also gives you the freedom to change the colors freely for festive purposes, such as switching the image’s traditional colors to red and green for Christmas.

Is it time to pick colors for your graphic design? Don’t simply use colors because they feel right or because they’re your favorite. It’s important to first consider color psychology and the basics of how colors complement each other.

Black, for example, gives off a formal vibe. Yellow is a color people often associate with joy. Green is a color you’ll see whenever businesses want to give off an eco-friendly message.

Readability Matters

Do you fancy a certain font type? Keep in mind that while it might look nice on a blank space, it might not appear as elegant when paired with the rest of your graphic design. Take your time to weed out different font types based on their size, color, and style.

Start by figuring out whether to use Serifs or Sans Serifs fonts. The choice you make can already make or break how people perceive the design. Most modern brands utilize Sans Serif font types because of their bold and sleek appearance.

You should also look at how you space the letters. Words might read or appear differently based on how you space them apart. Avoid controversies and laughable errors by double-checking how the words appear using different font types and spacing.

At the end of the day, the main goal is readability. Never sacrifice readability for style, color, or complexity. It’s better to use a simple font that people can read than one that confuses your audience.

Double Entendre Designs

Ever taken a good look at the logo for FedEx? If you have, did you spot the hidden arrow between the E and X letters? It’s a simple visual double entendre that plays on FedEx’s reputation as a logistics company.

Amazon also employs a double entendre in its brand logo. The arrow underneath the word Amazon goes from A to Z. This symbolizes how the e-Commerce website sells almost everything.

However, don’t spend all your time trying to make a clever double entendre. You should also spend time making sure your graphic design doesn’t include a bad one by mistake!

Understanding Basic Design Principles

Balance, Contrast, Alignment, Proximity: These are the pillars upon which compelling graphic design is built. Each principle has its role, from creating visual harmony (Balance) to drawing attention to key elements (Contrast), ensuring a clean and organized layout (Alignment), and grouping related items for cognitive ease (Proximity).

Incorporate More Advanced Tips

Grid Systems can revolutionize your design by providing a structured framework, ensuring that all elements are cohesively aligned and balanced. Typography Techniques go beyond font choice, involving strategic use of hierarchy, weight, and pairing to convey your message effectively and attractively.

Choosing the Right Tools and Software

For those just starting, user-friendly platforms like Canva or Adobe Spark can demystify design, offering templates and simple tools. As your skills advance, exploring Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator becomes essential, unlocking limitless possibilities in image editing and vector design.

Color Theory and Typography Basics

A deep dive into color theory can transform your designs, using color to evoke the right emotions and highlight key information. Similarly, understanding typography—how to choose and combine fonts—can significantly impact your project’s readability and aesthetic appeal.

Highlight the Importance of User Interface (UI) Design

Good UI design is crucial, especially for digital products, ensuring that users have a seamless and intuitive experience. This includes responsive design for mobile devices, where simplicity and ease of navigation become even more critical.

Creating Engaging Visual Content

High-quality images and strategic use of icons and shapes can make your designs pop, especially on social media and websites. Resources like Unsplash for images and Flaticon for icons provide invaluable assets for non-designers.

Tips for Improving Layout and Composition

Mastering layout and composition means more than just placing elements on a page; it’s about creating a visually engaging hierarchy that guides the viewer’s eye and ensures your message is communicated effectively.

Importance of White Space and Simplicity

Embracing white space and maintaining simplicity can make your designs more impactful, focusing the viewer’s attention on what matters most and making your message clear and accessible.

Designing for User Experience

Incorporating UX principles into your design ensures that beyond looking good, your projects are functional and user-friendly, enhancing the overall experience for your audience.

Follow These Graphic Design Tips

Armed with these insights and tips, you’re well-equipped to tackle graphic design projects with confidence. Remember, good design is about more than just aesthetics; it’s a powerful tool for communication and engagement. Start applying these principles today, and see how they can transform your work. And remember, we’re here to help you create the best graphic design for your brand, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more guidance!