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Our top 5 graphic design tips for non-designers and beginners

Jan 19, 2023 | Branding, Design

We’re sharing our 5 best graphic designing tips for beginners and non-designers. These ideas will help you take your graphics up a notch and better communicate your brand.


 

You don’t have to be a professional designer to have good lookin’ graphics and visuals. While it might be a little counterintuitive for me to say, I whole-heartedly believe it. There are so many great design programs out there that help anyone and everyone (yes, even you beginners) create ah-mazing design pieces.

As a complete sidenote: I believe everyone is creative, so let’s just wipe the excuse ‘But, I’m not creative’ from your dictionary. 

Today, I want to share five quick tips that you can implement today to help elevate your graphics. They’re easy-to-make tweaks that can carry over into whatever type of graphic you’re making. Need a Facebook cover photo or a quote graphic? Consider this your cheat sheet, made with love by Witt and Company. 🙂

 

IN THIS ARTICLE

>> Let’s talk file types
>> What the font?!
>> White space is your friend
>> Photography basics
>> Keep it all in line

 

Graphic design tip #1: Use the correct logo file type

 

This may be my number one pet peeve. Friends. Ask your designer (or make it yourself if you’re goin’ the DIY route) for a PNG file of your logo. Bonus points if you can get an all-white and all-black variation.

PNG files have transparent backgrounds which is different from a JPEG file, which has a white background. When placing a logo onto a graphic, you will more than likely use the PNG format. That way, there isn’t a white background (unless it’s intentional!) around your logo.

 

 

Most of the time, your logo isn’t the primary focal point of a design. It’s more like a watermark, something to help build brand awareness but not draw attention. By using a PNG file that has a transparent background, you’re able to let the logo blend with the rest of the design so that the main piece of content can be showcased.

In a nutshell, a transparent background creates a more polished and professional look, and isn’t a distraction to the viewer.

 

 

Graphic design tip #2: Be intentional with typography use

 

I know all too well the black hole that is font selection. You jump into your design platform of choice with the intention of creating a graphic – you just need to pick a font. And before you know it, an hour has gone by and you’ve got nothing to show for it. 

Fonts are fun – I get it! 

But when we go crazy with fonts, they will end up being a distraction rather than a point of differentiation. Said another way, the right or wrong selection can impact how much your message is received.

 

While there is no right or wrong way to choose fonts, the key is consistency and legibility. 

Script fonts can be really fun to use but they’re also a challenge to read. Think about the context of what you’re creating. If it’s a graphic for social media, will an illegible script font stop the scroll? More than likely, no. Make it easy for the viewer to understand what you’re trying to communicate by selecting a font that’s easy to read. 

The next rule of thumb is consistency. Type can go a long way towards building a recognizable visual brand so whatever you decide on, stick to it. 

 

 

Graphic design tip #3: Utilize white space as much as possible

 

Adding in white space is probably the quickest way to improve the look and feel of every graphic you create. White space, or sometimes referred to as negative space, is the area of a graphic that doesn’t have anything. I think the knee-jerk reaction is to create something and fill the space with information because we want to communicate as much as possible to the view. However, we often overlook the fact that filling the space more often leads to overwhelm.

 

 

So how can you implement this, easily? 

First, make yourself a margin around the entire graphic and do not cross that margin’s line. Then, separate out the elements, giving them each a little space to breathe. 

While adding in white space will most likely result in smaller (or less) text, the overall design will be elevated and easier to consume for the viewer. Which, isn’t that the ultimate goal?

 

 

Graphic design tip #4: Be mindful of a photo’s composition and editing style

 

In today’s graphic-creating world, photos play an integral role in communicating a message. When used intentionally, they can literally be worth a thousand words. The flip side though, is that they can cause confusion or detract from the experience when not used with intention.

To keep your photos in alignment with your brand experience, think about composition and editing style. 

A photo’s composition is the arrangement of elements. Are your brand’s photos typically shot overhead or from the front? Are they minimally styled or filled with accessories? Do they inspire movement or stillness? The idea is to be consistent with your composition so you start to tell a consistent story with the images that you use. The composition structure then becomes part of your brand experience, further supporting the perception of your brand.

 

 

For editing style, it’s important to first know that photos either lean towards yellow-ish tones or blue-ish tones. This is called an undertone and one of the best ways to stay consistent with your photos is to make sure they’re leaning one way or the other. 

The other editing note to consider is light and bright, or dark and moody. Each variation can support the experience that your brand is trying to convey so it’s important to be mindful and intentional when selecting the editing style of your photos.

 

 

Graphic design tip #5: Keep alignment top of mind

Alignment tells the viewer that the items belong in the same place, that they weren’t just placed there arbitrarily, that there is a purpose and strategy behind the design.

The result? A more cohesive unit and graphic.

Our natural tendency is to center text. But centered text creates soft edges, detracting from the strength of a graphic. It makes an element appear like it was placed there arbitrarily or without much thought – two ideas we don’t want to communicate in a graphic. 

 

 

And, if we draw lines between the elements (a great habit to get into), you can see that there aren’t any strong connections. Again further reiterating the overall soft aesthetic.  

When we justify elements to the right or left, it creates a strong line or a hard edge. This strengthens the entire design, and makes the information more organized and easier to consume. Win-win!

 

 

Happy branding!

All my best,

 

Need additional branding resources?

Design better social media graphics with these best practices!

Showcase your brand personality by incorporating a brand pattern or texture into your visuals.

Learn how to create consistent brand visuals in this blog post.

Here’s what you need to maintain a cohesive brand experience when you have a team.

 

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