7T Tips from a Graphic Designer

I arrived at CMe Media a little over a year ago, with limited experience designing in a professional environment. I had created artwork both using computer programs and physical media throughout my education and in my free time, but designing for a specific purpose was something I was fairly new to. Having an artistic eye for things already, I had a good grasp of what does and doesn’t work aesthetically which I believe put me in good stead to begin my professional design journey. 

As much of a cliche as it is, everyday really is a school day. I go home in the evening having either uncovered a new program, learned a new method of doing something or honed my skills in an area I was already familiar with. On my journey through the world of design so far, I have picked up a few tips which have helped me on numerous occasions, and I hope you will find them useful too! If, at the end of this article, you would like to find out what we can do for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out and one of our team will gladly assist you with any questions you have.

1. Keep the Audience in Mind

I create artwork for a range of different clients, many of which have different target audiences. For example, a piece of artwork I create for a children’s play centre will bear very little resemblance to something I design for a high-end car dealership. 

If I am tasked with creating something to appeal to a young audience, I will use a very cartoon-ish style of illustration, utilising bright colours and soft shapes, as I know this creates a welcoming and friendly feeling. However, when wanting to make something appear luxurious and exclusive, I will approach the task with a much more conservative attitude and use a restrained colour palette, and use this same ethos with the fonts and images I select.

2. Understand the Impact of Colour

The colour of something is the very first thing that our brain will recognise, which is why it is so important to understand the feelings that people associate with different colours. As you can see from this example, simply changing the colour of the text drastically alters the overall feeling of the design.

This instantaneous impression of something will often decide if someone will dismiss it and look away before even understanding what is being said, simply because they couldn’t relate to the vibe that was being given by the colours used.

3. Use Fonts Wisely

Whatever I am designing I will use no more than two fonts in a piece of artwork. This ensures continuity and keeps a cohesive feeling throughout the design. Using different typefaces means you can highlight a particular piece of text, and add a sense of emotion to it. As you can see in the example, the more scripted font gives the feeling of the product being hand-crafted and personal. Conversely, the use of Sans Serif fonts (ie. fonts lacking the characteristic strokes seen on fonts like Times New Roman) can give a feeling of modernity, cleanliness and minimalism. 

4. Use Negative Space​

The space you’re not using is just as important as that space you are. By giving an object an extra bit of room in a design, you will naturally draw people’s eye to it.

Doing this is also an easy way to give something a clean and minimal feeling. This is something that a lot of luxury brands will do, as they don’t need to shout about what they are or the services they offer. It’s a case of, if you know, you know.

5. Get in Line!

Shapes, images or text not being aligned with one another is my personal pet peeve in a design. This is not to say that you can’t purposefully offset elements to create a bigger impact, but if it’s meant to be aligned to something else, make sure it is! The human brain is very good at spotting when something is slightly off, particularly if you have something that isn’t quite centralised, and it will stick out like a sore thumb.

My tip with this is make anything you do look purposeful, otherwise it can look like you just haven’t given something much care or a second look before completion.

6. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The main purpose of a design is to make it instantly identifiable to a viewer. When presenting information, you want people to be able to easily interpret what they are looking at, which could result in a design becoming very ‘wordy’. To avoid this, using simple icons is very useful.

It is something that has been used for many years, a good example being road signs. These had to be designed to be understood when travelling past them at speed, a series of symbols and images was developed which clearly relay important information to passers by.

7. Don’t Be Scared

Graphic design in a commercial sense is all about making a brand or product stand out to the target audience. Although it can feel risky going big and bold with elements in a design, when you think of the logos of industry leading companies, they all use distinctive colours and shapes which make them instantly recognisable. When creating artwork, I often will question whether a certain element I have included is too overpowering, but trusting the process is a big part of design, and when complete, I will often wish I had gone bigger and bolder!

So don’t hold back when starting a design, big geometric shapes are an extremely useful technique to help create powerful and memorable images.

There will always be a seemingly endless amount of new things to learn and draw influence from when it comes to anything creative. But the points I have covered in this article are things which I think about every day and are useful across all aspects of design.

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CMe Media – Your Graphic Design Specialists

Are you reading this and thinking that your business would benefit from professional artwork creation, but you don’t have the time or confidence to tackle it yourself? 

We at CMe Media would be more than happy to help with taking your brand to the next level! From print publication to social media content, we have the tools to position your company in front of your audience.