Being a graphic designer is all about taking an idea and transforming it into a visual reality. Suffice to say, it’s not an easy task. With more and more businesses seeking cutting edge graphic design for their websites, it’s important for graphic designers of all skill levels to know what works and what doesn’t.
Each design is an original platform for the designer to iterate, but a few design tips is always helpful to guide this complicated process. For that reason, here are 13 graphic design tips that can help you craft your next best design.
Graphic Design Tips & Tricks
Secret time: The absolute best graphic design tip and trick is to delegate as much work as you possibly can. There are only so many hours in a day. If you're like me, and want to still be involved with creating, but don't want to get bogged down tracking pixels, consider hiring a team of qualified graphic designers. I recently hired an unlimited graphic design company. This gave me professional designers at a fixed monthly cost. I went from doing around 8-10 projects per month to 30-50 projects.
1. Limit the number of fonts
Graphic designers highly suggest that you use different fonts throughout your design, but they recognize that it’s easy to go overboard. The human eye has a tough time looking at something with too many different font styles. Try experimenting with around three different fonts and see how they each go together, but keep the number of overall fonts under three. You can choose from fonts already in the software, and you can always download new ones online.
2. Use a small color scheme
Similarly, don’t overload your design with an extravagant variety of colors either. Try centering it on three primary colors, and complement it with three additional secondary colors. You can also use different tones of the same color scheme by adjusting the brightness. It’s important to remember that fonts need to stand out relative to the colored background.
3. Use contrasting colors
Opposites attract, especially in graphic design. The human eye is going to be attracted to colors that really stand out, so let your page pop by utilizing contrast. Using high-contrasting color schemes like black and yellow will leave a good impression on those who see your design, especially if it’s scarce on letters.
4. White space is an advantage
If you’ve ever looked at an Apple ad and wondered why it looks so crisp and eye-pleasing, it’s in large-part to the white background. If you don’t feel that crazy fonts and extravagant color schemes is right for your design, using white space might be the move. It prevents your message from getting caught up in all the imagery and colors, as the viewer will have a clear idea of what the focus is.
5. Use big letters
Laying big letters on top of an image can create a sense of scale for your design. Increasing font size and decreasing letter height can also box your letters in the frame. Make sure the placement of the text is pleasing to look at, and that there’s symmetry with the image. You can also play around with the text’s transparency against a large image.
6. Clear and crisp imagery
Speaking of imagery, make sure you select high resolution images that fit the tone of the design while being pleasing to look at. Similar to how you can make the text on top of an image more transparent, you can also increase the brightness of the image underneath to further enhance the contrast. This allows both your image to be clearer and your text to be more legible.
7. Track your text
An overlooked aspect of letters and fonts in graphic design is spacing in between each letter. Kerning, or the adjustment of space between two characters, should be a major concern for designers, as letters too close together can make something look clustered. Some fonts have weird spacing by default, but most software should let you play around with the spacing. Let those letters breathe.
8. Utilize flat design
Just because designers have the tools to create crazy 3D designs, doesn’t mean that that’ll always be the most appropriate decision. Sometimes using flat, 2D designs will do the trick. It’s becoming more and more appealing to designers, and is a relatively accessible tool for beginners as well.
9. Be consistent
Being consistent with your design is one of the most important elements to letting everything come together. Visual elements can help guide the reader through to understanding the message or purpose of the design. Consistency captures people’s interests, so make sure you use the same color schemes, fonts, alignment techniques, and art styles.
10. Use icons
Icons are very simple in design but visually appealing. Using icons can extend beyond simply linking your Facebook or Twitter pages – try and get creative. It gives your page a sense of personality and flair. It’s an interactive element to your design that both increases the visual appeal while also engaging the user.
11. Apply hierarchy
The average human attention span is about 8 seconds, so it’s important to grab a user’s attention and direct them towards the main idea. Hierarchy in graphic design is creating a layout that guides the viewer towards what you are trying to convey. Use text, imagery, colors, and other techniques to highlight what is most important to your design.
12. Be You
Finally, make sure you’re always looking inside yourself for inspiration. At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s guiding the design, and you know what’s best for attaining your vision. Trust your instincts, and know that you’re capable of nailing this next design for your client!
13. Leverage Statistics
Statistics on graphic design show that it is a very competitive industry that is steadily growing. As such, there's a wealth of information on the state of graphic design. This includes consumer behavior, how businesses are maximizing design resources, and documentation on rising trends. Use this data to your advantage to shorten the learning curve and stay on top of changes.