From infographics and social media images, to landing pages and eBooks, compelling graphic design is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. And, as the demand for high-quality images increases, more non-designers find themselves with design tasks in their hands.
Whether you’re a marketer that needs to create graphics, or are simply looking for beginner design tips — we’ve got you covered. Here are seven design tips every marketer should know.
1. Understand Your Design’s Purpose
First, it’s important to determine what you’d like to achieve with your design. Ask yourself: What’s the goal of this image? What design elements are required to achieve this goal? What are its success metrics?
Reflecting on these questions will help you clarify the ultimate mission of your design, and shape how each element works together to achieve said mission. It’ll also help you eliminate any unnecessary clutter that could distract viewers from the design’s goal.
2. Unite the Visual and Verbal
While you’re writing the copy for your content, be sure to think about how your visuals can enhance your text. Visuals can be an afterthought for many non-designers, when they should really be considered in conjunction with the copy. This way, the visual and verbal can work in harmony to tell the story in a more powerful and engaging way than either element could do alone.
You can achieve this by identifying concepts worthy of emphasizing with a punchy graphic. Even better, consider replacing a large chunk of copy with a graphic that tells the same story in a more memorable, less time-consuming way.
3. Determine Your Color Palette
A great next step in the design process is to decide on a color palette. If your company has brand guidelines, incorporate the outlined color scheme to make sure your design is aligned with your overall brand. It’s also important to consider what feeling you want your color scheme to convey. Looking for a calm, professional feel? Try a deep blue or purple. Or how about something more lively and playful? A bright orange could be perfect.
For color palette inspiration, check out Design Seeds and COLOURlovers. You’ll find a virtually endless supply of creative color combinations and the latest color trends. You can also use tools like Paletton and 0to255 to hone in on the perfect shade.
4. Focus on Alignment
Once you’ve got all your visual and written elements, figure out how to position each element in a balanced relation to one another. Most design tools geared towards beginners (like Canva and Unbounce) will have a dotted line that’ll turn green when elements are aligned. Use these guidelines to perfectly position your objects.
Alignment will ensure your design is easy to comprehend, and it’ll eliminate any unnecessary tension or clutter.
5. Favor Simplicity
When it comes to creating persuasive design, less is more. A common misconception is that design should be flashy or eye-catching — when in reality, good design should support function, rather than detract from it.
Keep your design simple by eliminating any ornamental pieces. Also make sure that any text in your design is legible and concise. Lastly, incorporate enough whitespace (the space in your design that doesn’t include any visual or written elements) to make your design clean and comprehensible.
6. Strive for Consistency
On a basic level, make sure that all copy uses the same fonts and sizes. Similarly, all links and calls-to-action should be alike in color and size. The rule of thumb here is that if two or more design elements serve the same function, make sure they look and act the same.
On a higher level, the same messaging, aesthetic, and tone should be used throughout all designs within the same brand. Not only will this create consistency and unite your designs, but it’ll also strengthen your brand identity as a whole.
7. Ask for Feedback
When you’re too close to your work, it can be hard to take a step back and look at your design objectively. Ask a colleague to take a look at your design with a fresh pair of eyes. You’ll get a unique perspective that’ll allow you to think about your work in a different way, or perhaps an awesome suggestion that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of yourself. Either way, constructive feedback is essential for making your design the best it can be.
Another option is to sketch your design on a whiteboard as you’re planning it out. This makes it easy for your team to collaborate and contribute feedback. Plus, it makes for painless erasing and re-designing.
What are your favorite design tips for non-designers? We’d love to know in the comments below!