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Design Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to needing to create quick visuals for your company on your own, it can be quite difficult, and even confusing, if you’re not design oriented. Here are a few easy and simple tips that can help you create an effective message for your brand. Try out these 10 steps to create a visual that will stay with your brand type and keep the message on point.

1. Less is more

This is a really simple one really. The more cluttered a piece of design work is, the more chaotic it ends up being. Too much text and illustration on a visual can just completely kill the message you are trying to portray, which could also lead to a confusing brand story. Just keep your design simple and to the point.

2. Awareness of your typography

Typography is so important. Too many fonts, especially ones that clash, can portray your company as unprofessional and unorganised. Simply stick with two or three fonts, unless there is an absolute need for more, but be careful with that. You want to try and use typography that complements each other, such as handwritten calligraphy and a sans-serif type. These together will make your design professional looking and neat. And, unless you’re a school or child oriented business, never use Comic Sans or similar fonts.

Awareness of typography

3. Don’t disturb the original font type

One way to ruin the entirety of your design is by stretching out a font. It is very important that you keep kerning (the space between letters) consistent - if you ruin the spacing, it can change the word as well as its meaning. Leading (or the space between lines) should be the appropriate amount of space so that it is comfortable and easy for viewers to read the text. This means not squishing text together.

A top tip here is to take a step back and look at your design from afar. Text should not look like blocks of colour, but instead should blend into the document and compliment the overall design with its kerning and leading (spacing).

4. Use a proper colour palette

When using colour palettes, you want effective colours that contrast well with each other when combined together. When you have decided on a colour palette for your brand, it is important that you stick with these colours to help your brand flow. There are some colours that just naturally work well together and then colours that just shouldn’t be combined. When you combine the right colours and shades together, it can really help pull your design together.

If you would like to find out more on colour and the psychology of colours, check out one of our previous articles called “Psychology of Colours in Advertising & Marketing”.

Colour palette for design

5. Do not underestimate white space

You may not realise it, but white space can help viewers read your design better than you may think, as well as drawing the eye to what’s more important. You don’t need to fill all the empty spaces you have with more colours or text, you can use the white space as a design element in itself.

6. Know how crucial alignment is

You need to make sure you are properly aligning each element of your design as this can make your visual work look much more organised as well as professional. There should always be symmetry flowing through your design, and without having this structure, it can lead to viewers not following or understanding your message.

crucial alignment in design

7. Pixelated images are a real eyesore

For good image quality you need to start at the source. Firstly, when taking photos, make sure that your camera lens is clean, then look for good lighting (or use some extra camera lights if needed), steady the camera (you can use a tripod for this), and then hold and release. If it isn’t the initial photography that is the issue, it may just be the pixel count. For prints and graphics, the best quality is 300 dpi, and for the web 72 dpi.

*Also, remember that you cannot download images from the internet without the owners’ permission. You must have permission or the rights to use said image.

8. How we don’t use Comic Sans or Papyrus

These two font types can be classed as ‘ill-advised’ for designs as neither of them have a professional look. Comic Sans was a font originally designed to be used in a cartoon speech balloon, not a professional design piece. Overall, just avoid both of these fonts.

Fonts for design

9. Knowing your platform

Another important tip is knowing your platforms. When you are designing a piece for the web, use RGB colours, but when you are designing a piece for print, use CMYK. Vector designs should be created in Adobe Illustrator (or a similar programme) and use Adobe Photoshop as a ‘digital darkroom’ for photography. If you do use the wrong colour system it can ruin your design so it is important to know your platform to create a clean design.

10. Consistency is key

Lastly, you must make sure new designs that you create are following the brand's current style and platform. If you move too far away from your brand's style, this can confuse viewers at what it is you are trying to portray.

When designing anything, all elements should be simple and have a clear message. If you do have a certain colour palette you want to use for your brand, use it across all platforms. If you follow these 10 easy steps on a day to day basis your brand will flourish and will create a successful prescience for your business.

Out of all 10 tips, one of the most important is consistency. It’s fundamental for your brand and will help you make many more great designs.

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