3 Graphic Design Tips For Non-Designers
Updated: Aug 19
It is fair to say that our job roles are no longer linear, we often have to dip our toes in different waters and complete tasks which are outside of our skillset. If you find yourself being asked to create compelling social media content, blog posts, or promotional graphics, then no need to worry, we have your back!
Follow these 3 basic principles and watch your designs come to life: ⤵
1. Colour: 🎨
Keep your colour palette clean and tidy
Colours are here to create visual harmony. If you’re using a colour palette then stick to limited colours, MJS Media recommends 1-3 primary colours and 1 or 2 accent colours which complement each other. By using a colour wheel like the one below, you can easily identify colours which complement each other. Adobe's colour wheel is a perfect tool to get you kickstarted.
Image from Blogsnappa's colour inspiration blog, check it out 🖼
Fancy a challenge? Why not experiment with how you use the colour wheel. You can have:
• An analogous colour palette: this is where you mix a base colour with its neighbour, such as yellow and orange
• A complementary colour palette: this uses your base colour
with its opposite colour across the wheel, so blue and orange.
One can be used as your base and one as an accent colour.
• A triad colour palette: this takes three colours which are evenly spaced across the wheel, e.g. blue, green and red
Still at a loss? No worries, why not start with a template. The colour hunt app is perfect for beginners discovering colour inspiration.
What about the psychological impact of colour?
This is something else we must consider, as colours represent moods, which will impact the way in which your audience will see your brand.
• Red: power, intense, passion. Red adds strength to your brand.
• Orange: energy, it blends warm red and optimistic yellow. You often find orange in conversational adverts, or young and fresh designs.
• Yellow: sunshine, joy, and friendliness. Yellow invites in your audience and communicates cheerfulness. It can also be associated with mental clarity.
• Green: nature and environment, as well as finance and prosperity.
• Blue: blue is seen as trustworthy, it’s often used in communication.
If you wish to delve into this further, have a read of this interesting ‘Smashing Magazine’ article discussing colour theory for designers.
2. Typography: ⌨️
When it comes to fonts the most important thing is that it's easy to read. Too many fonts within a design are confusing for the eye, so stick to two or three at most. Just like colour, fonts can also convey a mood, so before selecting your font think about the message you’re sending out to your audience.
As visual communication expert, Midori Nediger, states you need to ‘balance readability with style’. This does not mean that fonts have to be boring! One trick of the trade is to have a stylish font for the header, and a readable font for the body. You can also use font variants, such as Arial Black, Arial Narrow, and Arial Rounded MT Bold.
Have a read of these SEJ tips on why less really is more.
3. Design: 🖌
Now this is something I could talk about for hours, so I will break it down. The main thing to remember is to not overcrowd your space. Think of it like you would your bedroom, you find it most enjoyable when it's aesthetically pleasing, clean and tidy.
Here's the tricks:
✺ Keep it simple: make sure that every element of your design is necessary to the message you're conveying.
✺ Use white space: This does not mean having a gaping white hole around your message, more so the appliance of space around your design, text, and images so that they stand out.
✺ Alignment: When designing your logo or placing text, never do it free hand. Find a grid, line it up to the center, then when everything is aligned, delete the grid.
✺ Keep your format: If you’re working on multiple designs across a website and ad campaign then simply copy your design and switch the elements which needs changing. You can also use your design across your social media platforms. Why not have a read of our guide on how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile.
✺ Layer: If you’re putting text over an image then play around with the layers, dim the background colour, and highlight the text.
This Apple advert is a great example of effective design. It's concise, simple, and stands out:
Find this useful? Head over to the GuidedPR for our latest PR tips and tricks ✨
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About the Author:
Evie is a published writer, living and working in London. She’s a PR Assistant and Copywriter at GuidedPR. She holds a BA Hons in History from Royal Holloway and has accordingly worked within the culture sector and legal industry. You’ll usually find her scribbling down words in a coffee shop with a flat white in hand.
Find Evie on LinkedIn.