The field of graphic design has been growing at a rapid pace for years now, with no signs of slowing down. By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 13 percent increase in demand for graphic designers.
But if you’re new to the field, you likely know that graphic design for beginners can be intimidating. With so many awesome designers out there producing killer projects, it can feel like you don’t have the skills it takes to be successful or to create unique pieces.
Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can help ensure that your work stands out from the crowd.
Keep reading to learn 8 essential graphic design tips that every beginner needs to know!
1. Keep it Simple
When it comes to graphic design for beginners who are still learning the many features and tricks of their chosen software, it can be easy to go overboard.
You’ve just learned how to create cool graphics, manipulate text, or add other creative elements. At the same time, you might not have a lot of experience in figuring out which elements work best in which situations.
This makes it easy to go overboard with your designs, adding as many elements to your work as possible in an effort to demonstrate or test out your skills.
Instead, it’s important to learn that a simple design is far more effective. It makes it easier for your viewers to digest, which means less chance of your message getting lost in the design. Simple designs also generally appear better on mobile and load much faster.
2. A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
You’ve heard it before. But many beginner graphic designers are so focused on creating graphics that they overlook the power of a simple photo.
Pairing a photo with your own graphics work can help you stick to the first tip on this list. Your photo does some of the explaining for you, allowing you to fill the rest of your design with less text and graphics than you might need to without the pic.
Adding photos to your design doesn’t necessarily mean simply pasting the pic into the middle of a graphic.
One effective modern design is a photo paired with a color block. Each half of the graphic is the same size, balancing the image with the rest of your design.
3. Fewer Font Choices are Better
Utilizing text as a focal point of your designs is a great way to keep them simple. But the use of too many different fonts can have the opposite effect.
Using more than two or three fonts in a single design will leave it looking unprofessional and chaotic, even if those texts are spread out.
Instead, it’s better to stick to just a few complementary fonts. For instance, use one eye-catching font for your titles, with a simpler one or even two for sub-headings and blocks of text.
4. Soften Harsh Colors
While a bright color palette can be great for catching peoples’ eye, it can also be overly harsh when they try to actually view your design.
To combat this, consider balancing brighter colors with more muted, complementary tones.
This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing white and black to accent a piece though. White on a fuchsia background can be as harsh as another bright hue. Instead, consider choosing lighter or darker shades in the same color palette, like a muted pink, instead.
5. Keep a Folder of Work You Love
You should never aim to copy another design entirely. But drawing inspiration from work that you love can be a great way to improve your own designs.
Start a folder on your desktop where you save pieces that you love. Each time you save one, consider why you like it. Is there a neat design element that you find unique? Does it capture your eye for a certain reason?
Then, use these features to help you come up with your own unique ideas and tricks you can use on your next project.
6. Let Blank Space Speak for Itself
No matter the size of a project, it can be tempting to feel as though you need to fill every bit of space. When you’re designing a project for someone else, you may even feel pressured to give them as much work as possible to earn your pay.
But one thing that beginners often forget is that whitespace can be just as powerful as the rest of your design.
Use empty space to draw attention to other elements of your design. This will help keep you from distracting viewers with too many other design elements, helping to draw attention to the overall message of your design.
7. Choose a Focal Point
The internet has increasingly shortened our attention span. Now, experts estimate that you have just 7 seconds to capture a person’s attention before they’ll move on or get distracted.
Those 7 seconds aren’t enough time for a viewer to read a block of text or even a long title.
Instead, your design should feature a focal point that’s easy to digest and that stands out on the page.
8. Stretch Your Skills
If you work for an agency or even do a specific type of freelance work, it can be easy to fall into a habit of using the same type of design elements over and over.
Doing your own creative projects, even if they never leave your desktop, allows you to practice your other skills and keep yourself inspired. This will help keep your designs from becoming tired and outdated.
Another great idea to keep building on your existing skills is to learn new mediums. For instance, if you normally design print ads, try creating a mock webpage design.
You might just be surprised to find that getting out of your comfort zone will help inspire your normal work in new and exciting ways.
Putting These Design Tips to Work
Now that you know a few useful design tips that beginners need to jumpstart their graphic design career, it’s time to get to work.
If you’re still new to the field and looking to find out what inspires you, check out these ideas from a few awesome graphic design websites to help you get started.