The Digital Lizard Blog

Design 101: Essentials for New Designers

Posted by Janice O'Driscoll on March 16, 2018 at 11:39 AM

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Apple Pages, Microsoft Publisher, and even Word now have the tools to let anyone become their own designer. Yet, while DIY saves costs, it may not be that simple. You still need to stand out and deliver a message that connects with your audience. And you still need to use visually appealing design.

While backgrounds, special effects, and other features can be tempting, they can also cause clutter. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you’re new to the field or flying solo, here are four design tips to ensure your project comes off professionally.

1. Use Color Wisely — Twenty years ago, many designs were done as 2 colors, which was a lot cheaper. This made things pretty easy visually as well, as elements naturally synced up. With 4-color digital printing, you can span the rainbow cost-effectively. But it can be harder to tie your design together without getting distracting. Leverage old-school thinking and start with 2 colors as a base, then work from there. You can match colors up with your logo, or select ones that are complementary to your primary images. Build a palette and look at your colors side by side, with different tint values, before you get started. By keeping some chromatic consistency, you’ll create a more visually pleasing piece.

2. Watch Your Fonts — The eye can get confused by a lot of typefaces. Limit yours to two if possible. Use one for headlines and one for body type, adding variances with bolds and italics, as needed. This isn’t to say make everything Helvetica and Palatino. There are plenty of cool, contemporary fonts to choose from on freebie or design-sharing sites. Match your fonts’ feel to the nature of your piece. They can be just as much a part of the visual process as the graphics themselves.

3. “White” Space Is Your Friend — Having blank space in a layout is key to aesthetic composition. It helps enhance your design and gives images and type room to breathe and create greater impact. Busy designs get overlooked quickly, as your audience won’t have a clue where to start.

4. Use Templates or Schematics — Finally, a template can be helpful as you lay out and prioritize your information. While you can find many online, your print partner can also be a good resource. Ask for samples of the type of promotion you’re working on, and see if any of these designs appeal to you. Pick something you like, and our team at Digital Lizard can build you an easy-to-use template in whatever program you need!

An LSC Company, Digital Lizard offers full-service development, digital and conventional printing, finishing, and mailing. From graphic design through delivery, we’re happy to help you at any juncture to make the most of your next print project. Need help, or just have a question? Contact us today at 702.852.3400 or or click below.

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Topics: Graphic design