Ever wondered how they develop the layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, reports, etc?
Well, Graphic designers are behind these artworks, and most of the artwork you see around you.
They create visual concepts using computer software or by hand to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, as well as captivate consumers.
And ever wondered can you create designs like that?
Why not? You can use your creativity to get this done even when you don’t have professional training.
Graphic Design, simply put, is where art aesthetics and the science of communication meet together. It puts an emphasis on visual communication by making use of a range of elements and various media in order to promote a specific message.
Graphic design can be overwhelming for beginners with no previous experience but there are tools that we have at our disposal now that may help us overcome this.
Let’s get into some basic tips and tricks for getting you started, shall we…
Where should you start?
Firstly, you should choose software that suits you best and let’s say help you express your ideas the better.
Here are some of the effective graphic design software that every beginner should consider in coming up with attractive models, images, and texts.
Once you’ve chosen the software you like, your next task will be to learn how to use them. Obviously, you won’t get to know the “how to’s” and use everything in just one go. But once you start, don’t forget to keep exploring all the options.
Moreover, try out various templates, and once you know how to use them, its time for you to start creating!
There are primarily three ways you can learn using these tools with:
- Read articles, blogs, and books
- Watch tutorials on YouTube
- Join an online course like MyCaptain’s Live Graphic Design workshop
There might be hundreds of rules and principles when it comes to creating stunning designs, both on and off the web. But we all know that our creativity and imagination are the major players when it comes to creating something stunning.
Here are some of the graphic design basics that will help you get on the right path to creating professional and beautiful designs –
Think about who you’re designing for
As a professional, you will be designing for your clients. Never forget about the “who” that you’re designing for.
This ensures you to create something that the intended audience for your design actually wants to see and something they’ll react favorably to.
Knowing your audience is important. Do your research and create designs that intrigue your or your client’s audience. When you know your audience, you will be able to target them in your artwork.
Creating a customer persona before designing is always an advisable step. It will help you pinpoint exactly who you are talking to. Plus it is fairly simple to create too!
Collect inspirational work
Everybody needs inspiration but often times you will find inspiration from the same sets of images rather than finding something new. This is how it works for designing as well.
Every designer has a folder or an online catalog full of other designers’ work. Start building yours. You can do something as simple as bookmarking images, downloading them to a folder on your computer, or creating a Pinterest board.
Think of it as a list of influencers or a catalog of inspiring work that will help you identify trends, both past, and present in the design world.
You will start to understand your own style and preference better as you start finding patterns in others’ work.
For instance, if you find yourself continually saving infographics, you might start looking into specific resources to learn how to create them.
Follow your own design rules
Rules, what rules?
The ones you set for yourself.
These probably won’t be specific rules or be found in the designing rule books. But rather cases you observe across your design.
Start observing where you use a particular set of colors, lines, textures, etc.
If you’re set on that choice, don’t turn around and do something contrary to it. Consistency is huge in design and thus, you should stay consistent, especially with your design rules. This will ensure that your images are overall consistent. You can also tweak your rules according to the project.
However, keep in mind that if you are designing for a client, company, or brand then they will probably have their own set of rules and design guidelines. While most give room for creativity and innovation, they won’t like you bending their brand too much.
Creativity and Originality
Get inspired by the trends but avoid replicating them. Instead, create designs that correspond with your own unique style, leaving a personal stamp on your work.
Clients and recruiters like to see creative and original designs more than anything in your portfolio. So make sure you give them that.
Start with a great color palette
It’s no accident that some of the best designs have great use of colors in them. Choosing an amazing color palette and using those colors optimally is one way to create a great design.
Before beginning to work on any design, choose a set of colors that you are going to be using. Then make sure that you are working within those colors.
One of the most common mistakes of beginner designers is that they try to use every skill they learned in a single design. As a result, their design gets cluttered with colors, fonts, shapes, and other elements.
You need to give your design some room to breathe. For instance, youwillfindreadingthislineverydifficultbecasuethere’snospaceinit
See how effective an empty space can be?
Furthermore, contrast is good in the design but too much contrast isn’t. So try avoiding red/green, purple/yellow, or orange/blue combinations.
You need to choose colors that complement each other more subtly. Go for the colors that grasp the mood you aim for.
Don’t get carried away with fonts
For the most part, limit yourself to using only 1 or 2 fonts. This keeps you from having to worry about tons of font combinations. A good tip is to use one type of font for the header and another for the body.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to look fancy using special fonts. They will look out of place and end up ruining your entire design’s esthetics.
Align your objects
Aligning helps to keep design elements in a presentable order, regardless of their differing sizes. With using alignment properly in your design, you can create sophisticated and professional looking designs with ease.
Think about it, what is more readable – a design that follows an invisible margin for all its text or one that has just put everything in it without any proper alignment?
Alignment can also help you determine which part of your design will be seen as superior and which as inferior.
For example, any piece of text placed above other elements will automatically be considered as a headline or a title.
Plan your design
Let’s keep this tip mid-way through the list of tips to mirror where planning usually falls in most people’s graphic design process.
It is ok to not plan your design when you are just starting out. But if you are working on something professional, even if it’s creating something for your portfolio, planning is essential.
The planning stage doesn’t need to be too long. In fact, it can just be a minute or two. It also helps you create your designs much quicker.
Think about it… if you already know or have an idea about what you are trying to achieve with the design, you’ll more likely to get things done faster.
Keep it simple
One of the most important lessons that you will ever receive is to keep it simple. If you go over the board, your designs may not achieve their purpose.
Creating a simple design will not only help you to make it look elegant but also help you engage your audience. As Don Draper said, “Make it simple, but significant.”
More importantly, try out various combinations of different colors, fonts, and backgrounds before you finalize the design. It helps you to know more possible ways to put up the content.
“You can’t use up creativity, the more you use it, the more you have it”
– Maya Angelou
So put our creativity to the best use and give your ideas a new way of expression!