The world of graphic design can be intimidating to newcomers, but at some point most people will at least have to dip their toes in to either bring their own ideas to life, or to get a better understanding of the skills and techniques used by professionals in this field.
To help you appreciate the finer points of graphic design, here are a few top tips that will hopefully demystify its main processes and rules.
If in doubt, hire an expert
It may seem obvious, but if you are a non-designer and you have an important project to push through, it is not always the best idea to plow ahead and make do with your own amateur attempts.
Instead, working with a graphic design service to turn your ideas into excellent end products is definitely preferable.
With time and effort, you can develop the skills you need to be a successful designer yourself. But until then, getting an expert involved will save you a lot of time and hassle.
Fewer fonts equals greater impact
The temptation to make a design eye-catching by switching up the font used every other word or sentence can be great, but the end result will be messy at best and outright confusing at worst.
The answer is instead to be sparing with your choice of typeface and opt for one or two. Furthermore, the styles of the fonts must complement one another; it is no good combining a super-clean and modern choice with one which is willfully archaic, unless this serves a greater purpose in the overall design.
Empty space is your friend
Just as a cacophony of different fonts can make a design seem jumbled, one which is overcrowded with lots of elements will feel similarly ungainly.
In short, do not be afraid to use empty space to your advantage, creating gaps in which individual elements have a chance to grab the attention and convey the intended message.
That is not to say that every design has to be entirely minimalistic; it is just a case of striking a balance and aiming for the elegance and simplicity provided by working with empty space, rather than against it.
Good graphic design has a clear pecking order
Before signing off on a design, you need to make sure that there is a sensible hierarchy to the major elements included.
For example, if you are creating a poster for an upcoming event, you want to ensure that the information which is of paramount importance is also the most visually arresting. There is no point giving prominence to less relevant aspects, as it could mean that your target audience misses the intended message altogether.
Visual hierarchy is an intriguing topic in its own right, and one that is worth looking into if you are eager to foster your graphic design skills without necessarily undergoing any formal training.
Color choices make a big difference to design impact
Effective use of color is crucial to good graphic design, and there are a lot of ways to use it within your own efforts.
From a purely promotional perspective, color can be deployed to build brand identity and recognition, as well as creating consistency across your creations. But there is much more to color than merely sticking to a predetermined corporate scheme.
Color is also capable of conveying emotions, even if it does so subliminally. This means that you need to choose carefully to avoid a clash between the purpose of the design and the colors that are featured. The anger-evoking, attention-grabbing impact of red, for example, may not be ideal for every design, just as the calming capabilities of blue could be suitable in some situations but not in others.
Do not be scared to experiment
While there is definitely merit to paying attention to the core tenets of good graphic design covered above, that does not mean there is no room for experimentation.
Indeed some of the biggest innovations in this area have come about because of designers who were willing to break the mould, rather than sticking to the same old formulas.
As with most things, practice makes perfect, so start designing on your own terms and be willing to listen to feedback so that your skills can develop.