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Pixels To Print: Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Graphic design is a useful skill for any marketing professional to have in their back pocket, whether you’re wanting to create social media graphics or perhaps you’re aiming to spice up your current marketing efforts with some visual content. While it does take time to develop a full library of graphic design knowledge, it is certainly possible to create your own designs even if you aren’t a trained designer. Here are 10 tips to help you get started with your creative design process:

1. Keep it Simple

The number one rule of thumb for new designers! There is nothing worse than an overcrowded and overwhelming design that is difficult to understand. Use a minimal amount of text if possible, and keep your color palette consistent. Limit the amount of graphic elements, and always make sure to include enough white space to create contrast and balance!

2. Limit Typefaces

Going along with the idea of keeping it simple, limiting your number of typefaces can help to avoid an overwhelming design. One to two easy to read typefaces are all you need to make a design clear and effective. Try using two different typefaces from the same family, or check out our blog post Pairing Typefaces to gather some ideas for your font combinations!

3. Consider Visual Hierarchy

Remember to include hierarchy within your design to make your message easy to read and understand. Make your headline or main message the first focus of your piece by placing it at the top of your page and by using a different font or color than that of the rest of your content. You’ll want the most important information to be the first seen, so make it obvious of what this is!

4. Always Use White Space

One big mistake we often see with beginner designers is the lack of white space. Don’t be afraid to leave areas of negative space in your design! Having this white space actually helps to bring balance to your composition and makes the positive space easier to see and read.

5. Trial & Error is OK

Graphic design is 100% of the time a process of trial and error. There are often multiple sketches and drafts before a design is complete, so don’t be afraid to push your designs to the limit! This is where creativity thrives! And of course, you don’t know how something will look until you try.

6. Use Alignment for Image Placement

Instead of a randomly placing images on a page, align them with grids to make a design look more professional and organized.

7. Keep a Focus on Balance

To create a more orderly and visually appealing look to your design, make sure to evenly distribute the elements on your page, and for a balanced proportion, also ensure that the thickness of the elements match the weight of your fonts.

8. Use crisp & clear imagery

Make sure that any images being used are high resolution so that they are bright and clear. If you are using text on top, make sure that it contrasts enough from the image so that it is easy to read. This might mean that you’ll have to brighten your image for black text or darken it for white!

9. Use a cohesive color palette

Choosing your color palette is just as important as creating the message for your design, and while it isn’t always easy, there are thankfully many free online color theme pickers to help you get started! Browse through the many themes before you start your design to have a solid foundation of color to work off of! Check out 3 color theme pickers in our Color Palette blog post!

10. Know your composition dimensions beforehand

Before you start a project, double check the dimensions that your art needs to be. For example, Instagram graphics and LinkedIn graphics are going to be completely different layouts based on their recommended image dimensions, and there is nothing worse than figuring this out after you’ve finally finished your design! Check out our Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet blog to get a quick look at what sizes you’ll need for social media graphics!

The application of graphic design is so vast and versatile that having a basic knowledge will help you to go even farther with your creative and marketing efforts! Try out some of these tips with your next design, and if you have any questions along the way, NorthPoint’s Design Team is here to help!

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