10 Handy Graphic Design Tips for Beginners and Business Owners

graphic design tips

Being a business owner in the digital age comes with its own quirks. There is an abundance of digital channels through which you can connect with your audience. With this comes the increasing pressure of keeping up with the trends of these diverse channels. 

Social media and web display ads are not enough. You also need graphics that interact with your audience and build a strong community through social media. And once you have all these designs sorted, you also need to be sure that these designs are in line with the designs you have in your traditional advertising channels like flyers and even outdoor advertising media like billboards. 

So, graphic design can be challenging. But equipping yourself with a few insider tips can help overcome these hurdles like a pro. Are you ready to change the way you create designs for your brand? Let’s dive right in. 

Graphic design tips non-designers need to hear 

Designs are important in marketing and branding because people remember 68% of visual content even three days after they see the message, but hardly 10% of what they grasped through text. 

Whether you are planning to take up designing for your brand by yourself or work with a design team, a few quick graphic design tips can make things so much simpler. With these, you can be sure that your design is heading in the right direction or even boost the quality of your design collaboration. 

1. Catch up on some design terms 

You do not have to take up an advanced course in graphic design simply because you want some images and videos designed for your social media page or for a single campaign for your brand. But at the same time, learning the nitty-gritty of design does not hurt. 

This knowledge comes in handy if you suddenly become curious to explore online design tools and whip up some designs yourself. Or even when you decide to outsource your design to an external design team. Since you know the basics, you can be more aware of what the designer is communicating. And you will also be in a much better position when you have to explain something to your designer. Either at the beginning stage or when you give design feedback. 

2. KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle 

The one big design mantra that will help you create designs that make a difference will be the KISS principle. In design, purpose precedes aesthetics. A design that looks stunning but does not convert will be a wasted effort. But designs that convey the message, evoke an emotional response, or nurture strong customer connections will bring in the best returns on your investment in design production. 

You know your brand well but your design targets customers who probably do not know your brand that well. And these are people who have no clue about what the campaign is. So, you need to simplify things for them. Straightforward communication is the key to better conversions. Keep your designs simple and on-point. that’s one of the most important graphic design tips you need to hear.

3. A theme lays the foundation 

Don’t start a design project without a theme in mind. The theme will be the factor that brings together the various factor in your design. There are fonts, symbols, icons, colors, and other things combined in any design. If each has a different personality, won’t your design look vague and confusing? You don’t want that in marketing! 

That’s why setting a theme can be useful. A theme can be an existing design template you wish to extrapolate or just an emotion you wish to convey. It can also be some visual style that you wish to use like a retro style or pop art. Once you are clear about this, it is easier to narrow down your options when you hunt for various elements in the design. This theme ensures that every aspect of the design harmoniously communicates the same thing to the onlookers. 

4. Templates are time-savers

As we spoke about themes just now, templates deserve a mention as well. When it comes to advertising, you might have different campaigns with different objectives. So, the design follows the objectives. But on social media pages, there is one common objective – engaging your audience. And for this you need:

Having a set of templates for your social media pages takes care of the first two things so that you only have to focus on finding relatable content for your page. This can be based on what’s trending or based on the announcements you want to make. 

Work with your design team to identify the essential elements that help connect your designs with your brand. Things like colors, framing styles, text placement, and even watermarks can be put together to design templates. 

Having these templates in place will help you save time in creating future posts. Creating a post might be as simple as picking from the set of existing templates, adding the copy, and switching out the photo or imagery in the design. 

Here is a snapshot from the Instagram page of Instagram For Business. 

From the fonts to the placement of the text everything is retained to maintain consistency. That’s what templates do for you. It can also be in the form of the order in which frames appear or the types of transitions in the case of video posts. 

Now that we have seen some basic ideas for working on a design, let’s delve a little deeper into some design-related tips as well. 

5. Tap into the power of contrast 

One of the most common graphic design tips you might hear from a designer is to pay attention to contrast. Contrast, in graphic design, is establishing specific areas of focus in a design. When you want the text to pop out or a particular design element to look more prominent than the others, contrasts are what help you. This can be with the use of size variations or the use of different shapes. Or even color contrasts in the form of using different hues or simply different shades or tints of the same color. 

6. Play with the size and scale 

We spoke about changing the size of elements to create contrast in the above section. This includes scaling-up specific sections of the text so users notice them first when they see the design. Or scaling down some parts that are only meant to be supportive text. 

The use of size variations comes in handy when you want specific portions in the design to be louder than the rest. When done right, this scaled-up section will become the visual hook for your design. 

The scale of the car with respect to the ad frame is what makes this ad a showstopper. 

7. Go easy on the typography 

Fonts are fun to work with. When you scroll through online font libraries you will notice that each style has its own personality. It can be interesting to see how combining different typefaces creates drastic changes to your design. But should you really combine too many fonts to create contrasts and prioritize particular elements? Not at all! Typography does not have to be a complicated mix of font styles. Good designs often use just one or two typefaces or font families. It is all about picking the right font combinations. 

Within the chosen typefaces you can use styles like italic or scale parts of the text as we discussed in the previous section. This lets you maintain visual consistency while also clearly establishing priorities. 

The above design uses just one typeface but by altering the font size the design adds emphasis to certain words in the copy. This example shows that you don’t really need too many fonts or even fancy typefaces to actually make an impact. 

8. Kerning can make or break your design 

Since we spoke about typography just now, there is one little detail you should remember once you have picked the typefaces for your design – the kerning. Kerning is the spacing between letters in the design. 

You can create a lot of visual drama by increasing or decreasing the kerning in your design. And sometimes, this is also one factor that affects the legibility of the text. So, you need to be careful when you experiment with kerning. You do not want the message to be difficult to read simply because the letters overlap. 

9. Aim for visual balance

Visual balance is a crucial component in any design. In small graphics like logos or in large ones like billboards, balance can be what makes the design aesthetically appealing. Balance can be symmetrical balance or asymmetrical balance. 

By establishing balance, you are depicting how each element in the design is connected with the other. When there is balance, interpreting the design feels much easier.  

The symmetrical balance in the above ad is what makes it visually appealing. 

10. Use negative spaces to your advantage 

Negative space or white space in a design is all the empty sections in the design. Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes, essential. 

When you do not have enough space between symbols or illustrations used in your design and the text section in it, the text might become hard to read. In this case, the negative space used will be an essential element. 

The arrow brilliantly hidden in the negative space between E and X in the FedEx logo is one of the classic examples of using negative space intuitively. 

Now go design like a pro! 

If you take a close look at each of the graphic design tips listed above, you will notice one thing in common. Every aspect of the design is intended to create the desired experience for the target audience. So, if you are wondering how to enhance your designs, focus on simplifying the design and ensure that someone who does not have the slightest idea of what you are trying to convey will still grasp the message from the design. That’s when your design is truly successful. And that’s exactly what any designer aims for.