Graphic Design & Illustration

Nina Hunter By Nina Hunter, 7th Jan 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>IT & Ecommerce

Graphic design and Illustration tips and resources

What makes good graphic design? (And how to improve your DIY design skills)

In the era where the explosive development of the digital medium has flooded the market, and where the computer is no longer a luxury it’s easy to presume that everyone can be a designer.
Consequently the number of people who call themselves graphic designers has grown dramatically. Some of them are good and are able, but a significant number fail to meet the expectations of customers or satisfy the needs of their business.

In my career I come across many people who think they could be designers if only they had “the right software”.
It’s funny, because I have never heard someone becoming a hairdresser as soon as they grab scissors, or an accountant when holding a calculator for that matter.
The interesting thing with graphic and web design is that people think it’s subjective and therefore doable. At times it is (subjective), but like any other discipline – there are also rules.

As competition increases, it is important to define the criteria of good graphic design in order to know how to recognize good graphic design or even improve our own DIY skills.
Many people believe that the only task of design is to provide styling to the visual appearance of products in either print or online. This is a misconception as a crucial aspect of graphic design is effective communication. This can be done by putting these fundamental principles into practice:

1. Web Layout
Layout is the organization of elements on a web page. Firstly you need to start with basic design issues like alignment or hierarchy.
Everything in a design should be aligned with one or more elements. This creates a sense of unity and order and helps to guide the reader through the page. By aligning the text we can create a specific mood relative to specific requirements. A centralized text gives a solemn feel to the content which is ideal for invitations or announcements.
The text doesn’t need to be evenly justified to achieve a harmonious piece. Actually, the most easy to read is a text aligned to left.
A strong, consistent visual hierarchy in which important elements are emphasized and where the content is organized logically and predictably is one of the most important aspects of web design and plays a key role in page navigation.
Good hierarchy leads the visitor through the page step by step, so that means that it’s up to the designer to decide where the eyes should land first. Don’t make the users think, make it easy for them!

2. Use of Colour
There’s no doubt that an aesthetically pleasing colour scheme can improve the browsing experience. Colour coordination and colour coding can help in the navigation, make the website look professional and strengthen your brand. There is nothing more repelling than being bombarded on the homepage with gaudy colours and images.

This very basic rule “Keep It Simple Stupid” makes a lot of sense. There is no need to over complicate things. The best form of communication is the easiest to understand.

4. Use beautiful and carefully chosen images
One beautiful image is worth a Thousand words. Full stop.
(If you are using stock imagery, research your competitor’s sites to make sure they use different photographs.)

5. Use of white space
The term “white space” doesn’t literally mean white, you can call it breathing space. Allow your text to breath by increasing the space between the lines and by not overflowing the visitor with too much words and visuals. Using lots of white space creates a cleaner and a more sophisticated feel of your brand.

6. Fonts
Like with the images choose your fonts carefully. You should stay away from using more than three typefaces (fonts) and if you decide to use three, two of them should be plain and the third – in contrast to the other two.

Oh yeah, and whatever you do, please please please stay away from “Comic sans”.


Agency, Branding, Business, Graphic Design, Logo, Web Design, Website

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