When starting out with so much to learn, it’s easy to forget the fundamental basics of graphic design.
So much is going on and you forget to sit back and say “does that really look right?” Now is your chance! Have a read through these 5 graphic design tips and make sure that you’re applying them to every project you work on, personal or commercial!
Try Not to Mix Too Many Fonts
This is one of the biggest offenders in the graphic design world, mainly committed by those starting out. It is very easy when designing to throw a lot of fonts onto the piece to make it “pop”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make it pop and can cause the piece to look extremely chaotic and unprofessional. Typically in design, there is a rule in which we use no more than 3 fonts - a heading, subheading and body. Many designers like to contrast these fonts with one serif and one sans serif. Although contrasting, the fonts often end up complimenting each other and look calm and settled to the eye. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and some people enjoy having separate fonts for every line. It depends greatly on the project, but remember that the success of a piece can hinge on something as simple and font choices.
Watch Your Kerning
Kerning can be a killer when designing pieces for print. Getting too wrapped up in the design or discovering kerning for the first time means you can forget to check whether what you’re writing is actually legible. Sometimes it can produce something with an entirely different meaning (see above). On top of this, just because your eyes can read the text clearly, doesn’t mean that everybody else will be able to. To combat this, make sure you know your target audience. A leaflet targeted at over 50’s may need more spacing than one targeted at teenagers; adjusting your design will mean it reaches its full potential.
Choose Your Colours Wisely
We can’t tell you how many designs we have seen where the font and background colour contrast so harshly the text is completely illegible. Attempts to make designs stand out as much as possible can fail by not getting the colours correct. If you are looking to find suitable colour palettes that you can use throughout a project, we recommend http://www.colourlovers.com/. It is a great site where you can browse through colour palettes made by others or create your own. Also, always remember the colour wheel! Make sure you know the primary, secondary and tertiary colours as well as complimentary and contrasting. It will come in handy, believe us.
Corner Borders Are a No
Though this may seem silly to those that have been in the game a long time, you’d be surprised how many flyers and posters have corner borders added to make it look “fancy”. Sometimes the design may call for it, which is fine if it fits in with the rest of the piece to create a cohesive look. But adding them to enhance the image in some way is usually a miss, resulting in a very amateur looking piece. Alternatives to corner borders are allowing your images to seamlessly bleed to the edge of the page, or just leaving white space!
Be Inspired, Don’t Plagiarise
When you start designing, nobody expects you to have a distinct style straight off the bat. That is something that can only come with knowledge, skill and time. Hell, we’re still finding our style here! During this phase, you can find yourself being inspired by everything. As you’re learning and picking up new skills you think “Hey that looks great, let me try and make something like that!” which is fine for increasing your knowledge and experience. But it can be so easy to fall into the trap of completely stealing somebody’s idea or design and passing it off as your own. Inspiration and plagiarism is an incredibly grey area which many designers dispute over. To not get caught up in this web, be inspired by other designers, but never steal.
Those are our 5 tips for new designers! We know it’s daunting and we know it can be a struggle. You will hit walls and you will become demotivated. Push through this and you will be well on your way to becoming a fantastic designer. Remember, never stop learning. Do you have any tips for new designers? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on social media by using #ALJTMedia!