If it wasn’t for graphics, we’d all be living in a drab, lackluster world.
Graphic design is an art and graphic designers are essentially artists that express their dreams through art and design. However artists create art for art’s sake while designers design to convey a specific message to the audience.
They create visual communications seen every day in the form of ads, magazine features, newspapers, marketing collateral, logo etc.
Now you’re probably thinking that you need to go an art school to become a great designer. Well…there is good news! You don’t need a formal degree for graphic designing. You simply need to be creative and master the use of certain software and tools. Yeah! It’s that easy.
Okay, so you have mastered Photo Shop and other tools, you are creative, communicative and have an eye for good designs. What next? How do you turn your passion into a livelihood, lucrative one at that?
You need ambition, planning and a sense of business acumen to be able to do great in your career as a graphic designer. It takes time and perseverance. Certain things can only be learned with experience but at times these certain tips from expert designers who have managed to make it big in life do help!
So if you’re a newbie and are looking for some expert advice, read on!
1. Have A Great Color Palette:
- What makes good designs stand out? It’s the choice of colors. Great designs often have great color combinations. While it may be difficult to choose your own colors, there are online sites that make it easy for you. Few names include:- Coolors, Paletton, Color Space etc. These online color palette generators make it easy for you to choose the perfect color combination.
2. SOME BLANK SPACE IS OKAY! – Designs don’t always have to occupy all the space. Little white area or blank space doesn’t really hurt, provided you position your text and image well. A perfect example here would be that of graphics designed by Apple. Designs don’t necessarily have to be cluttered. Intelligent placement of minimal text and image can actually enhance the design. As they say,
sometimes less is more!
3. CREATE YOUR OWN STOCK OF DESIGNS – While you are reading or scroll through something you’re likely to come across a copy of a brilliant design that makes you go awe. What do you do with those? You’re likely to simply admire it and then scroll past it. Well…save them in your personal files or folders. These can serve as great reference pieces when you are working on something yourself and are looking for some ideas. As long as you don’t exactly copy the same design, there is no harm in borrowing ideas from someone else’s masterpieces!
4. USE MINIMUM FONTS
– Don’t experiment with too many font styles in a design. Instead, stick to one or maximum two fonts – one for header and the other for the body. Keep it simple!
5. USE FONT VARIATION IF YOU HAVE TO – Font variation basically means using different fonts from the same family. For instance if you are using Arial font you have variants like Arial Black, Arial Rounded, Arial Narrow. Use of this will add variety without losing a sense of consistency throughout the image.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO ALIGNMENT OF OBJECTS – Ensure that all elements of a design i.e text, images, icons etc are properly aligned. This renders a professional and presentable look to your designs. Online design tools like Canva, Snappa etc have grid lines that make it easy for your keep your texts aligned.
7. USE ICONS TO SUPPORT YOUR MESSAGE – Icons add visual interest to your designs and enhance the content. Icons serve to grab user’s attention and reinforce the content. Proper use of icons in text-heavy images (infographics) can makes the design a little more engaging.
8. BE CONSISTENT – Every designer have their own specific style. Their own set of rules like set of colors, text, image placement, fonts etc. The idea is to be consistent and follow that style throughout the design. Don’t go contrary. Ensure consistency in your overall image.
9. USE CONTRASTS – Use of contrasts in colors, fonts etc will make certain elements stand out. Tools like Adobe Color help you choose beautiful contrasting colors.
10. BE AWARE OF TRENDS BUT RETAIN YOUR IDENTITY – In today’s tech-driven world, visual content is constantly evolving creating an additional pressure on the designers to stay current and up to date. From latest tools and techniques to recent design styles, there is pressure on the designers however the key is to adapt those styles and techniques without compromising who you are as a designer.
11. USE LINES – Use of lines in designs create a sense of order and to separate different elements of your design. For instance lines used to differentiate headers from body text etc.
12. KEEP IT SIMPLE – The one point that simply can’t be emphasized enough. Don’t try and show off all skills and techniques in a single design. Design that sells is the one with a simple and coherent concept. Keep it simple. Try and go through the graphics made by Apple. They have minimal use of colors, graphics and font style is simple and small. No bold statements, no loud colors.
13. USE TEXT OVER IMAGE STYLES TO CONVEY A MESSAGE – These graphics are getting hugely popular these days especially in ad copies, branding materials etc. Add a nice sober, slightly plain background and write the message over it. Adjust the level of brightness of the background to make the text stand out and easily readable. For example:-
14. Structure your content intelligently – Choose text to go on to the design wisely. While it’s always a good idea to keep text to a minimum, it is equally important to make sure that the message does not get lost in the process. Use short impactful sentences. The ideal length of a sentence should be no more than 30-40 characters (not words mind you!) which includes spaces, punctuation etc.
15. Think about the intended Audience – If you’re thinking of making it big in your career as a designer, you’re obviously thinking of it commercially. If you’re working for a client, take a complete brief from then client about details of the image like target audience, market etc. Create design keeping the audience in mind. For instance if your intended audience is college students, you should use bright, dynamic colors, designs etc. Similarly if you’re designing for old people, use light, dull colors like grey, white, simple design that they would find it easy to relate to.
16. Master Tools
– Being a graphic designer means you’ll be working on digital designs using different tools and software. Know the basic tools inside out. The most basic ones include Adobe Photo Shop, Illustrator, Corel Draw etc. There are others as well. But start with these ones first. The more tools you work with, more diverse will be your designs.
17. Build Your Portfolio – In your designing career, you’ll create several pieces some good while some not so. Have a collection of your best pieces of work. Don’t worry if you are just starting out and have not worked enough. You can include samples from your internships, practice sessions as well. Just have something to show to your prospective clients about your skills.
18. Re-work on your old designs in your free time – When you don’t have enough work-load, utilize that time to re-work on your old design that you made when you first started designing. Revisit the pieces, it’ll likely make you cringe but never mind, invest some though into how you can make it better. You mature with time and experience. Use it to make your designs better. This proves an excellent opportunity to polish your skills.
Remember true learning comes only with experience. You have to keep working on projects big or small. These tips will help you do better but it’s you who has to do the work. There is no substitute for hard work. Corroborate with other designers. Offer to help even if it’s without any compensation to start with. Attend design conferences and know what’s being appreciated for that is the only way you can improve your skills as a designer. Be hungry for work. Like they say, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”.
About The Author:
Anupam Rajey is a seasoned marketer and a sales expert. He is the CEO of Acelerar Tech, a leading KPO that offers virtual assistant services for social media, Internet research, Product Image Editing Services and more.