Are you looking to amp up your company’s visual image? Maybe you’re starting a new social media campaign or launching a new product and want the graphics to pack a punch.
Undeniably, image and design has an important place in any business’s branding, which can stretch from email newsletters and websites to logos and social media posts. Even so, you don’t always have to shell out for a top notch designer. There are a lot of things you can do yourself if you follow these essential tips.
When it comes down to it, most design is comprised of colors and text. Even as a beginner, you can get pretty far with good design projects with clever uses of colors and fonts. Here’s what you should know:
Keep it Simple
Like many things, with a lot of design, less really is more. This is especially true when it comes to the fonts and colors you use. Generally, two or three fonts are sufficient for a project; any more and it starts looking messy. One for headings and one for body text will take you a long way!
If you want more dynamic typography, use different typefaces within the same font family. For example, use italics or bold text to emphasize a phrase and make it stand out from the rest of your text while keeping the overall look cohesive.
You can also play around with the spacing and scale of the text, making some lines bigger or adding more space in between the letters. Remember, sometimes you need to give your design space to breathe! White space is often an essential part of a good design, especially on social media, where people are looking for quick, digestible images.
Keep it Consistent
Like every other part of marketing, your brand should convey a consistent image through its design elements. Whether that’s through fonts, style or color, ensure your visual messaging is as consistent as your written content.
The colors you use can be one way to give consistency to your images. Choose one or two colors, maybe from your logo or branding and create a color palette that will guide what you create. Keep track of the hex codes (the unique six character strings that define colors) so you can use the same color again and again.
Consider your Platform
The way you design may and should change based on where the design will eventually end up. Print designs need to take into consideration the color profile of the project and account for printers cropping that may cut out some of the design.
Web design requires thinking about the image type and size of different projects. Below are some of the recommended sizes for different social media platforms, so you can start your next project off on the right foot.
Design Tools for Beginners
Good news! You don’t have to shell out a bunch of money on expensive design software. There are several web-based programs that can help you create elegant, effective design with minimal prior knowledge.
Canva is a powerful online design platform that has a bunch of built in templates and graphics to help you create beautiful designs very simply. The basic options, which are extensive, are available for free, but pro and business accounts expand the functionality, with the option to upload and store logos and brand colors.
Adobe Color is an online color wheel that can help you find colors that go well together and provide the hex code
Google Fonts is a database of open source fonts that you can download to use in personal projects for free
Icons8 has free icons you can download to add more complex visual elements
Creative Market offers design assets starting from $2, with 6 free assets offered every week to take your project to the next level
Where You Should Splurge
Though there’s a lot you can do yourself with these basic tips and some experimentation, some things are better left to the professionals!
Your logo is incredibly important, as it often forms the base of your entire brand image across all platforms. Work with your designer to create a logo that represents the feeling of your brand, which will also shape other design elements you create for your business, whether that’s with fonts, colors, or iconography.
Big projects for events that require substantial materials both web and printed might be better outsourced to a designer well versed in the necessary specs for such a variety of products.
Even if you don’t decide to embark on your next design mission yourself, having a basic understanding of the terms and processes that go into graphic design can help you have a more productive meeting with your designer.