Is Canva Killing the Art School Star? Graphic Design Hacks for Non Designers

Paul Schetelich

Lead Designer

It’s not easy to do graphic design if you don’t have a graphic design background. Even those who are experienced can sometimes find it hard to deliver the level of quality and consistency they hope for. Because graphic design is constantly evolving, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends while putting forth the tried-and-true practices that work. When the basics of graphic design are coupled with your brand’s personal identity, you have a winning recipe that works again and again.

In this blog, we take a look at the fundamental basics of good graphic design that even non-designers can benefit from.

Let’s get started.

Pairing Fonts

Pairing fonts is one of the first things that challenges people without a graphic design background. Which fonts should be used? Which ones work together? Which ones don’t? A great rule of thumb is to start off with fonts that have a high contrast. As you move further in the design, the fonts will balance each other out.

Coordinating Colors

Color is huge in graphic design, but it does more than just make an advertisement look pretty. It also evokes feelings in people that can help them feel positive toward your brand. Not only do you have to choose the right colors, but also coordinate them in perfect harmony. Check out this convenient color picker tool that can help you choose an exact color using hex codes.

Grid Images

One easy way to enhance your images without having to work within a confusing layout is through the use of grids. Grids allow you to piece together images for a profound effect. Use images that are different but fit within one story, or break down one image into multiple pieces. For an added effect, use filters.

Transparent Backgrounds

It’s not just the stuff that comes forth in your design that matters; the background plays a significant role in the overall design scheme. A great way to create a subtle yet powerful background is through the use of transparent icons. The text will still pop out, yet the transparency will draw the eye in.

Shapes and Icons

Shapes and icons are a friendly way to share important information. They are commonly used on infographics, landing pages and other types of informative content. When used appropriately, they keep the overall scheme simple and direct and avoid the eyes from wandering off the page.

Vivid Image Colors

A picture is worth a thousand words. Make that a million. That’s why it’s crucial that your images look amazing. They should be of the highest quality and vibrant in color. To enhance color in your images, use a color saturation tool. When a color is fully saturated, it appears extra beautiful, drawing eyes toward the image.

Maximize Copy Space

Copy space describes the empty space within images. When searching for background pictures, keep your eye on those that offer a good amount of copy space. This gives you extra room for your message or other important information. Or, select a picture that can be enlarged or cropped for the same effect.

Be Consistent

Your brand should have written guidelines that provide you with a foundation of what your designs should look like. If your brand doesn’t have consistent graphics, people will get confused, and they won’t know which pieces of content belong to you. If you don’t have these guidelines in place, now is a good time to write some. Be consistent in the colors, fonts, logos and images used across marketing materials.

Expand to Social Media

Not only should your marketing materials be consistent but also so should your social media profiles. Choose a profile picture and cover image for your pages that align with your brand, and follow the same basic principles of  good design. People should be able to spot your brand just by looking at the picture.

Conclusion

Just because you don’t have a professional background in graphic design doesn’t mean that you can’t wow others with stunning marketing materials. No matter how far we come in the graphic design world, there are still the fundamentals of great design that we as humans are drawn to. Before you start any type of design, make sure that it is consistent with your brand, and apply the tips and tricks above. It won’t be long before you create something that is expert-worthy.

About the Author: Paul Schetelich

Since the days of sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Paul has been creatively crafting the art of design. With a B.A. in Graphic Design from Monmouth University and a Masters from the Califano School of Art - Paul quickly moved up the ranks at SEMGeeks from Junior Designer to the Lead Designer. With 4+ years of experience in web design Paul is ready to conquer the digital atmosphere.

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