Just because you don’t have a degree in graphic design doesn’t mean you can’t make your logo, advertisement, email or any promotional piece look like a professional did it. Before you spend company money on a designer, try your creative hand at design by using one of the many free design software platforms available for businesses. After all, nobody knows what you want from a design project better than you.
Whether you’re creating the company logo or working on an online ad campaign, here are eight tips to get you started with your design, expressly written with non-designers in mind:
Yes, there are many fun and creative fonts out there, but that doesn’t mean you need to use every single one in your design. Find two or three that are easy to read and go well together. Play around with different fonts until you have found a few that you like. Then get opinions to see which design is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. A good rule of thumb is to keep fonts of the same family together, using a variety of sizes and styles such as italics or bold faced.
Do you want a graphic to be in the background or at the forefront? How exactly do you want to sell your product: with words or images? You should have this aspect of the project well planned before you begin designing, keeping in mind that your original idea may change as the project progresses. And for goodness’ sake, DON’T ever just steal images from Google. Either use original images (i.e. photos taken just for this project) or use a stock photography service. There are several free ones online and many that charge minimal fees.
Know Your Audience
Who you’re marketing to can make a big difference in how you design your piece. For instance, marketing for an older crowd might necessitate larger fonts and more contrasting colors. If you’re marketing to Millennials, you may want to be edgier with your design. Know your target audience and consider what will appeal to them.
Keep It Simple
The adage of quality over quantity certainly rings true here. You want your message read and your image to be powerful, so focus on the quality of your image and text instead of trying to fit in a full array of graphics. One image and some simple text will suffice. Less is more when it comes to design.
See What Other People Are Doing
Do some research to see what your competitors are doing with their promotional pieces. What colors and images are they using? Do they have a lot of text or do they let a picture communicate their message for them? What elements do you like? What features do you find unappealing? This will all come in handy for the next two steps.
You always want your design to stand out, so make sure you are not using color combinations, fonts, text, or graphics that are similar to your competitors. Think about what is unique about your brand/product and apply that to your graphic design.
Think Outside The (Text) Box
Don’t worry if you’re using fonts that are unpopular or new to you. This is a good thing because it means your design is creating a new image and look, which will help you stand out from the competition.
Take A Step Back
Once you have a few design options ready, take a day or so to take a break from the project. You’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Nine times out of ten you will have revisions, and that is a good thing.
Creating a good graphic can take some time, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely find it to be an enjoyable and even empowering creative experience. Now, get those creative juices flowing and start designing!