Welcome to the world of graphic design. Whether you’re thinking about going into the field, just got your degree or even need a little refresher, this article is for you. Just like marketing, the world of graphic design is constantly changing. However, the basic fundamentals of design we’ve all learned to love still remain.
Pretty soon, these tips will be like second nature. But for now, here are my top branding and digital design tips for graphic design newbies.
Starting out, designing killer logos will not be your strong suit — unless you’re this amazing creature who just “gets it”. And this is okay. Logos are the hardest pieces to design because so much thought should be going in to each one of them. From the look, the feel, what it represents, the colors, etc.
In fact, brands are very particular in how they are perceived and it can take for-ev-er to finally nail a design. I mean, it’s their company after all and their logo is the most important part of their marketing.
Logos were not my strong suit until I challenged myself daily to create a logo for a random brand. Now, they are one of my favorite designs to create. Logos are all about the placement, imagery, colors and font choices. To really nail a design, you need to actually study and analyze the company at where it is now and where it wants to be.
PRO TIP: Just because you like how something looks, doesn’t mean it’s going to resonate with that brand. At the end of the day, as graphic designers, we ultimately need to swallow our pride and produce what the client wants.
Social Media Graphics
Social media graphics are all about grabbing the attention of the viewer quick and keeping their engagement. We’ve all been there scrolling through our phones and swiping past anything we can’t read or looks like a cheesy ad. Lately, videos are queen at grabbing attention and keeping engagement. However, a well designed graphic can do just the same — it all comes down to the execution.
This could essentially be broken down into different segments, but for the length of this article, I will keep it short. Feel free to comment below if you have specific questions you’d like a professional opinion on.
Stop using generic fonts that are found on every desktop in man kind. We pay for Adobe Creative Cloud for a reason — if you don’t have it, and you want to be a successful graphic designer, you need to invest — utilize your resources! There is nothing eye grabbing about Helvetica, Arial, Tahoma and the like. And if you use Comic Sans, please just stop.
For social media posts, fonts should be sans serif, large and easy to read. Build on a hierarchy of information and don’t overload the image. Simply put, create the style differences between a header and the sub-information. I’m personally a huge fan of Gotham and Bebes as fonts for anything digital. I love how versatile they are and they are super easy to read.
PRO TIP: Make sure your color selection of the font doesn’t make it hard to read. Colors need to be easy on the eye and high contrast. You shouldn’t choose white font on a light background; and, vise versa, you shouldn’t use black font on a dark background.
What are you trying to achieve with social media posts? Hopefully you are thinking about grabbing attention, creating a lead and engaging with your audience. Now, are you going to achieve this with a blurry photo that looks unprofessional? Or how about a photo that is dark or has bad lighting? No.
If you are going to put an overlay of a color, like black, you have to go all in. Don’t overlay the color at 10% and have the viewer think the photo just has bad lighting. You are doing the overlay for a reason — most likely so you can read the text you’re putting on top — so, execute your vision!
On the other-hand, if you have an image of let’s say food, you want that baby to pop off the page. There is nothing appetizing about a dark food photo. I mean, there is a reason why there are apps like Foodie who bring out the colors. Open up Photoshop and really get into the colors. Make those suckers pop with different lighting effects! The more color, the more attention you’re going to grab — but, stay away from the saturation… you are not Andy Warhol.
PRO TIP: Social media is about the imagery more than the words — unless it’s a quote post — so don’t bombard you graphic with text that it doesn’t need. In fact, if you’re making an ad for social media, your text to image ratio is super small. So, get your point across in as little words as possible.
Not going to lie, the majority of people who you send your email campaigns to will not open them. Depending on your industry, solid open rates can range from 12% to 28%. However, the click rate is typically around just 1-3%. Rather than focusing on just your open rate, your focus should be on your click rate. And, this all comes down to the design. How are you getting your viewers to click?
For email campaigns, you have to also think as a web designer. You need to focus on strong call to actions, movement on the screen and kick-ass imagery. I mean, if they imagery isn’t attention grabbing, they’re not going to bother looking through the rest of the email. In fact, our eyes go straight for the larger graphics in an email first and then we read the rest… if we are interested.
A lot of what I mentioned above with social media graphics relates to the thought process around email marketing campaigns. However, I believe email campaigns should be even more interactive — hello motion graphics — and topic focused.
PRO TIP: Really think about the user experience and put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. How are you going to entice them to try the candy?
If you are just starting out in the graphic design world, you most likely have a lot to learn — especially if you don’t have experience working with clients. You will have challenges, you will have tough critiques and clients aren’t always going to love your work. But, don’t get bent out of shape and get defeated. Every project is a learning experience to perfect your craft. I mean, if you want to be a successful graphic designer, you have to put in the work.
Looking for an internship to expand your professional knowledge and experience? Tepsi is looking for graphic design interns who are ready to hustle and dive head first into the field of design and marketing. If you are an energetic and positive go-getter who is ready to challenge your creativity, apply today!
Disclaimer: must be willing to hustle, work independently, understand the importance of critiques and not be afraid to voice creative opinion.