Learning how graphic design works is an exciting, yet somewhat intimidating process. Many new designers are eager to start creating logos and web design elements, but they have to get the basics down first. This requires a lot of time, patience, and a bit of research.
The more you start practicing design skills and reading about design trends, the better your portfolio becomes. Not to mention, it’s always good to keep learning – no matter how advanced of a graphic designer you already are or aim to be.
If you’re interested in learning (or brushing up on) some of the top graphic design tips, check out the insights listed here.
1. Start in Black and White
The best way to ensure your final edits of a new design come out perfect is to begin creating in black and white. Keeping things simple from the start helps you create a clear sense of direction for where you want the design to go.
Black and white design makes it easy to tell what works and what doesn’t. It allows you to quickly move through the first stages of a design from the sketching to the fine-tuning of basic shapes and lines. From there, you can start to incorporate colors and shading.
2. Understand the Meaning of Shapes and Colors
The key to achieving the right design isn’t just about the aesthetics – you also have to think about the meaning behind what you’re making. This is where the psychology of shapes and colors comes into play.
Certain types of lines evoke different emotions. Sharp lines with tight edges have a masculine feel to them; they aim to show power, trust, and balance. Curvy, free-flowing lines, on the other hand, are feminine. Designers use these when they want a more lighthearted, communal feel to what they’re making.
As far as colors go, every shade in the rainbow has its own unique meaning. Color psychology is key if you want to make a beach resort logo look just right or help a legal office turn heads with their rebranding strategy. Keep these things in the back of your mind as you take on different projects with various types of clientele.
3. Play with Sharp Contrasts
The better you get at understanding what certain lines and colors mean, the more you can mix them together. Just because you have a rigid line doesn’t mean you have to pair it with a serious, boring color. If anything, this is more of a reason to complement it with a more expressive shade.
This is just one way two seemingly different design elements can work together beautifully. It’s good to play with out-there ideas and see what you can come up with.
You won’t always get the brilliant contrast you’re going for right away, but keeping an open mind helps you get there. Don’t forget to use gradients, overlaps, and even transparency as you’re working on new ways to combine various parts of one design.
4. Leave Room for White Space
Another important graphic design tip is the value of white space. There’s nothing wrong with opting for simplicity when you can’t figure out what a design is missing.
Find ways to bring more white space in between the letters and shapes in a design. Or, clean up your use of colors and dial some of the different shades down. This might sound a little boring, but it looks amazing when you start making such edits.
5. Stay On-Brand
There’s one thing you have to remember with every edit you make: the brand you’re designing something for. Always stick to the client brief whether you’re working on a project for your best friend or the biggest business in town.
Each design deserves the same level of attention to detail and innovation. That begins with understanding who you’re making something for, though. Get inside of a client’s head – and more importantly, of their audience.
Ask yourself what people should feel when they look at a design, and how that ties into the brand they’re going to be associating one of your works with. Once you find this answer, you’re golden.
6. Keep up with Industry Trends
To keep up with industry trends means two different things.
The first part is about branding. It means you have to understand a bit about what’s going on in a client’s industry before you dive into a project for them.
The second is about noticing what’s happening right before your eyes in the graphic design industry. You need to know what the most popular design elements are and what people aren’t really using anymore. More so, you should always try to stay one step ahead.
This provides amazing value to your clients. It helps them achieve an innovative, forward-thinking brand image thanks to your graphic design skills and knowledge.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Push the Boundaries
It’s just as much your job to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries as it is to know what the biggest trends are. As you’re learning about trends that come and go and realizing which graphic design tips are timeless, you start to notice new design opportunities.
Take advantage of them. Try something that no one else is doing right now and see if there’s a chance of bringing a certain trend back. There is a line between pushing boundaries and trying too hard, but when you push just enough, amazing things happen.
8. Walk Away, Then Edit
Whether you’re designing something super innovative or taking a more conservative approach, give the editing process the due diligence it deserves. Part of this means stepping away.
Take time to refresh your head and not think about a certain design for a while. When you come back to it, you’ll have a clear mind to better identify what is great as-is and what needs a bit of tweaking. It may mean your designs take a little longer to complete, but this is sure to produce better quality work.
More Graphic Design Tips and Tricks
What are you waiting for? Pull up your preferred design software and start putting these graphic design tips to use! That’s the best way to learn and take your skills to the next level.
If you’re interested in discovering more graphic design tips, click here.