5 Design Tips for Designers: Creating When You're Not Creative
Many of us believe we’re not creative. However, creativity is not just about creating a beautiful piece of art or memorable music. It is also about finding inventive solutions: being an active problem solver.
If you don’t see your self as “creative”, or if you’re a small business, investing in graphic design can feel like a waste of time or resources. But cohesive and creative design can display to your customers your professionalism and helps them buy into you as a brand. It is your face to the world: showing your personality and mission for all to see.
A creative solution to this, especially for small businesses, is to design in-house rather than outsourcing these services. The prospect of this can be intimidating for many. But don’t worry - graphic design doesn’t have to to be as complex as it seems!
Here at Seller’s Choice, we are big design nerds. So we have collected together 5 of the best graphic design tips for beginners, to help you show to the world the right face for your brand, organization or website!
1) Color SCHEME
A color scheme is the most memorable part of your banding for the consumer. When we think about IKEA, we instantly think of the deep blue and bright yellow used consistently through their branding and stores.
Also, it’s no secret that colors can create a psychological response or association for the consumer. Red is one of the most commonly used packaging colors for foods, because it catches your interest, and triggers your appetite!
The color scheme you choose creates a lasting impression on the consumer and becomes the basis of your branding, reflecting your brand’s voice.
So how do you choose the right colors for your brand?
The first thing to consider is the emotional reaction or association you want to create in the consumer. Then you can research which colors create this reaction. If you want to be associated with luxury and sophistication, then purple could be your perfect shade to base your color scheme on. Or if you want people to associate your brand with trustworthiness, stability, and tranquility, then blue might be in your best interest.
Secondly, you need to consider your overall color scheme. To make a color scheme pop, it’s best to select high contrasting color palettes. These colors are located directly opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange. You can also opt for a more simplistic approach: using different tones of one base shade. This creates a more paired down effect and is often effective on websites.
Typeface is sometimes a new concept for graphic design beginners. Although often used exchangeably with “font”, typeface is actually a family of fonts which share common design features. Some fonts within a typeface might be bold, italics or condensed, for example.
A typeface is one of the most defining features of your brand. Although it seems like a simple choice, your typeface can display the tone of your voice as a brand, whether you want to seem approachable and fun, or serious and informative. For example, Futura, with its inspiration from Bauhaus and geometric shapes, will make consumers associate your brand with a modern, fun, approachable aesthetic.
The most important thing is readability! So remember to keep it simple - this will also result in a more pared back, chic and modern design.
A good question to ask yourself when starting to think about the typeface is: what would the handwriting of our brand look like?
Choices made about fonts can also draw people into your website or banding, or put them off. For example, using more than two fonts can often overwhelm the viewer or potential customer visually, while just using one can sometimes become monotonous and could put the consumer off from engaging further with your brand.
The most popular font in marketing and branding is Helvetica - if you’re not sure which one to choose then pick Helvetica: it’s legible, clear and familiar for consumers.
We recommend you use two fonts, potentially from the same typeface, or from two complimentary typefaces.
Here at Seller’s Choice, our favorite tool to help choose typeface combinations is FontJoy: here you can compare how your copy and title look together, and try different combinations and solutions, to identify what is the perfect fit for your brand.
Layout is very important for readability and to create a professional end product. Here are some pointers on making the layout of your dreams.
- Start with a grid layout
- A grid layout looks like a collection of boxes, differentiated by lines, or colors. This helps to group up the information and make it more visually organized on your design or website. One easy way to start is with a larger, header image or box, followed by smaller boxes, creating a visual hierarchy in your design.
- Align, align, align
- Aligning your headers, copy, and images is a necessary staple in graphic design. The result is a readable, neat and modern layout.
- Line it up
- Lines - under headers, between boxes or separating paragraphs - offer a visual comma to break up your text, making it more legible for the reader.
Great designs are consistent, especially when establishing your brand. One area to consider is your images: the lighting, color palette, content and/or layout should be consistent between them, to make your design or website flow. Also, consider matching the color of your titles, headers, copy, and other graphic elements to your background images.
A great way to ensure consistency with your branding is to make a shared drive or folder in your company, which contains your color palette, fonts, images, and all your designs. This means you can check back through thumbnail images to ensure your design is consistent throughout.
On every page of your website, on your social media outlets, on your branding and printed materials, you want the consumer to know who you are. This is why consistency is key!
5) USE WHITE SPACE
An important graphic design tip for beginners is to use white space! When people start designing for the first time, it’s often tempting to overwhelm a page or design with multiple elements and colors. Although this is one technique used in graphic design - often for making posters - when establishing your branding or website the key thing to remember is simplicity. Brands such as Apple utilize white space very effectively: often only presenting one design element on one page. Simplicity in design appears modern, chic, and professional - an easy way for absolute beginners to look like pro graphic designers.
Embrace your white space!
Finding creative solutions for creating a brand design as a beginner doesn’t have to be a headache. If there are some elements which are too difficult to overcome, don’t be afraid to outsource elements such as the website, or ask for a consultation with a designer when deciding on your branding guidelines.
So even if you don’t see yourself as “creative”, don’t be afraid to find creative solutions for your graphic design needs, by thinking outside the box and seeing what you can do with these 5 design tips!