Andi Croft October 23rd, 2020

9 Essential Graphic Design Pointers for Non-Designers

Graphic design is probably one of the essential skills most people need nowadays, whether for your business, Facebook page, or beautifying your Instagram account. However, for those who are not skilled, paying for a graphic designer can be costly.

So, if you’re one of those who want to take advantage of this skill but not an expert, here are some pointers you can use to improve your designs: 

Research before designing

Before you should even start designing, you should do your research first. Things such as who you are targeting, the design’s goal, and how your competitors do it are things you’d like to find out. 

Gather all these pieces of information and try to get some ideas from those. Most designers come up with a rough idea, which eventually turns into a big concept. From that, you can start your design. 

If you’re working with a team, you can do some brainstorming to ensure that your ideas align with each other. 

Choose a great color scheme

When selecting a great color scheme, you would need to start with the basics:

  • Color Wheel
  • Color Properties
  • Warm vs Cool Colors
  • Color Meaning
  • Color Relationships

These five are essential so that you can create the best theme for your design. For example, you’re making a poster for valentines. Naturally, you would want something red as it represents love. Then, find the colors that would work well with red with the use of the color wheel and find out their relationships. 

If this doesn’t help, you can check out different color palettes to suit the design you want. Draw some inspiration from that and the things around you to create your own. You can also use color palette generators available online to help. 

Don’t go overboard with fonts

Going overboard with fonts is another common mistake non-designers make. Some think that the more stylish or more fonts there is, the more noticeable the design is. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. 

Think about your brand and the purpose of your design, then try to align the fonts you’ll use with that. You should also make sure your fonts are readable to ensure you’ll convey the message to your audience. 

To be safe, you can use some font pairing tools to find the best font combinations. And as much as possible, use up to 3 fonts on one design. 

Use a grid system

Another trick you can use is the grid system. This is what you would use to organize your layout. So, how do you use this?

  • Start by setting up your grids. If you need several grid types in your design, feel free to use that. 
  • Then, design the grid you’ve planned. 
  • As you put your elements, make sure they are in the grid field. 
  • Finally, make sure to have a consistent baseline for harmonization. 

Using a grid system will make it easier for you to organize and tidy up your lay-outs. Plus, you can ensure that the designs coordinate well with each other. 

Create a visual hierarchy

Try to be aware of the visual hierarchy or organize the elements in your design based on importance. Here are a few things that would influence visual hierarchy: 

  • Size and scale
  • Color and contrast
  • Typography
  • Spacing
  • Proximity
  • Alignment
  • Perspective

The better you can incorporate these things into your design, the better it would look like. These would all influence in what order your audience should see things. It’s also a way for you to create designs that are aesthetically pleasing to see. 

Incorporate icons

Try incorporating icons, too, which are very useful in creating some interactions with your audience. These may be small, but they can do a lot in overall visual appeal. What may have looked to be flat design can really spark with the effective use of icons. 

  • You can use it for animations. 
  • You can form icon clusters to create a whole new visual. 
  • You can combine it with trendy elements. 
  • You can use it to create custom sketches. 

These are only a few things you can do with icons. You can do more in-depth research to get more ideas and start creating more polished designs. 

Create contrast in your design

Contrast is more than just showing the difference between light and darker colors. It involves more things, such as shapes, sizes, types, and textures. If putting contrasts in your design is quite a challenge for you, here are a few rules you can follow: 

  • Make sure that your design has different shapes. 
  • Choose different font types. 
  • Element sizes matter a lot. 
  • Colors should complement each other. 
  • Adding textures will help. 

Showing contrasts in your design will make it stand out more. But you should use it effectively, or else your design might stand out in the wrong way. 

Try to keep it simple

Remember how people always say less is more? This is definitely applicable to graphic design. 

By minimizing your elements and focusing on what matters, your design will stand out the most. It helps your audience understand it more compared to putting lots of elements in one frame. 

Make use of what you’ve learned above. Then, create harmony with all your elements without overdoing it. The better you can convey your message with lesser elements, the more your audience would think that you have a smart design. 

Use white space

Last but not least, use white space. This will help your whole design look less crowded and better for the eyes of your viewers. It would make reading easier, your design would have great balance and symmetry, and you can create contrast with it. 

As you layout your design, make sure that you create a gap in your elements. Emphasize your headline, buttons, services, forms, and badges by putting some spaces in between. 

Over to You

All the pointers above will be even more effective if you use the best drawing apps as they have certain features where you can make use of these pointers well. Start with that, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do. 

Don’t be afraid to try out these pointers when creating your future designs. Yes, experts might be able to do it better, but everyone starts as a beginner, right?


Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexels

Andi Croft

Andi Croft is a freelance writer whose main interests are topics related to travel, technology, and gadget. This is brought about by her passion about going around the world, meeting people from all walks of life, and bringing along with her the latest tech to enhance her adventures.