In most cases, marketers tend to be very creative by nature, but this doesn’t always translate to the kind of creativity needed to design promotional materials or create good-looking websites. While marketers are good at innovating big-picture campaigns, the designs that are created to to go along with these campaigns are generally reserved for, well, designers. But in some instances, you don’t have a design team available so it’s important that you enhance your design skills for these situations.
Here are five graphic design hacks that can work for you:
1. Use the right tools and resources
Probably the most obvious, but most important tip: design tools and tech are your friends. No matter the skill level of a designer, they all rely on certain tools and resources to consistently produce high quality work.
Here are a few free design tools you’ll want to keep in your back pocket:
- Shopify Logo Generator. Have you ever needed to design a simple logo mockup? Instead of hiring someone or fumbling through Photoshop, use this convenient logo generator from Shopify. It’s simple to use and allows you to create a logo in as little as a minute.
- Type Genius. This simple tools packs a big punch. With Type Genius, you can find beautiful font combinations that can be used for branding materials, marketing campaigns, websites, and more. Best of all — it’s super easy to use.
- Pictaculous. As most people know, color palette is one of the most important elements of web design. You want to retain consistency and clarity throughout the entirety of any project. With Pictaculous, you can upload a photo and then instantly get feedback and recommendations regarding which complementary colors to use.
2. Use the “less is more” approach
When non-designers attempt to create something, they tend to get anxious and try to apply all the design skills they know into everything. Here are a few tips that should help you create minimalistic designs that are appealing:
- Don’t overcrowd your design. It’s important to let elements breathe and space them out properly.
- Use simple backgrounds. Whether it’s for a flyer, a website, or anything in between, it’s essential to use simple backgrounds. If you use busy backgrounds it will take away from the foreground.
- Utilize symmetry. Keep it simple and don’t try new things. Leave that to the pros.
3. Leverage typography
If you’re spending all of your time focusing on images and visuals — both of which are important — you aren’t giving typography the attention it deserves. Study up on the best practices for line height, fonts, white space, and more. You’ll gradually begin to see typography in an entirely new light.
4. Sharpen your understanding of contrast
Big and small, strong and weak, light and dark: Contrast is an essential principle of visual design, but too much contrast between sizes and colors can add to wrong visual quality.
Consider developing your understanding of size (the physical dimension of an object), scale (the relative size of different objects), and proportion (the harmony of scale) by using the good old pen and paper method.
As you progress in your knowledge of graphic design, your understanding of contrast will help you develop more complete, artistically accurate projects. It’s these little improvements that will make a world of difference.
5. Use the power of color theory
When was the last time you brushed up on your color theory knowledge? Have you ever studied color theory? Every graphic designer should have a basic understanding of color theory and the various emotions different tones evoke. You need to recognize these relationships, as well.
For example, did you know that red is related to aggression, passion, and importance? Or that yellow is friendly and happy? Each color is directly tied to specific emotions and actions. Properly utilizing the right tones can make your designs much more powerful.
We hope these tips help out – let us know in the comments if you have any more you could add to the list!
This Pub Chat post was adapted from cio.com
J. Fitzgerald Group is a full-service traditional and digital marketing communications firm based in suburban Buffalo, N.Y.