Graphic design is not graphic design if everything looks the same. Artists are encouraged to think outside the box to find new ways to present a brand or idea that speak volumes to their viewers. And with the development of technology and the presence of new software and tools to make the unique all the more possible, the challenge to stand out comes with more pressure.
However, design is design and there are certain rules that a graphic designer should never break. By not adhering to the basics, the result is jarring visual that fails its purpose. Eventually, the target audience takes an ill view of your brand and loses trust in your company in the end. With poor graphics and design, potential customers can see your brand more as a liability that’s unworthy of their attention. You don’t want this to happen.
Here are 5 golden graphic design rules that no artist, whether beginner or professional, should ever break.
1. Be consistent — always.
Use a consistent format and design throughout all your branded materials. The purpose of this is to establish rapport and authority with your target audience who will form an identify in their minds based on your presentation. With a consistent branding style, customers are able to recognize your brochure or ad from afar and by just glancing. On the psychological side, it also assures your market that you are steady, stable and reliable. Having too many design elements and always changing your colors, fonts and logos projects you as one hot mess.
2. Make sure they can read what you write.
Curly fonts and bold colors can be fun to toy with but will not work to your favor when it comes to designing your brand. Choose your fonts carefully. Make sure people can actually read your message, or else you risk driving your potential market away. Keep doing that and you’ll lose clients forever.
Poor color contrasts not only makes your design look tacky, it also hurts the eyes. You don’t want your market to associate your brand with pain and discomfort everytime they see you.
3. Maintain scaling proportions.
Again, you can experiment with sizes and scale to make your design pop out. While size matters, resist the urge to stretch your photos and edit it before posting. A picture paints a thousand words, so to speak, and if yours is poorly executed, that could spell disaster for your website or print ad. Not only would it look unprofessional, you will immediately earn the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing and that your brand is amateurish.
4. Maintain correct alignment.
Don’t just randomly position design elements on the page. Doing so would only make your work look messy and disorganized. It does not really take much to align objects the right way and there are plenty of software that can help. One strategy you can adopt is selecting a line somewhere on your canvas and using it as a base from which you can align text and graphics. That way, you have a point of reference. Text and images strewn across the page with no particular home base is dizzying and will drive customers away.
5. Acknowledge white space.
Just because there’s an empty spot on your canvas, it doesn’t mean you should fill it in. When it comes to powerful design, less is more. White space, or negative space, is crucial to a successful design. It allows the eyes to rest, so the mind can start to think. It also adds a sense of sophistication and professionalism to your end product. Don’t be afraid of the empty space.