If you work online, then you pretty much need to have a basic understanding of graphic design. The fact of the matter is that web is a highly visual medium and as such any marketing material and even most communications will have graphical element. You need to ensure that your website looks the part, that your social media is well laid out and even that your invoices are organized with a logo to look highly professional and impress clients. All this means you need to have a basic understanding of graphic design and once you do, you’ll find that you can elevate all of your creations as well as your marketing and thus grow your business to a huge extent.
Graphic design is what gives a business its sheen and what creates a cohesive design that strengthens its brand recognition and that keeps customers coming back.
There are many scenarios where a tech entrepreneur can benefit from basic graphic design skills. These include:
- Creating a website
- Coming up with a logo
- Designing custom t-shirts and other commercial gifts
- Creating banner ads and PPC campaigns
- Designing social media profile pages
- Sending invoices and correspondence with a professional sheen
And of course there are many more.
This is a broad subject though and if you haven’t already spent time learning the fundamentals then you might not have any idea how to approach something like a logo design or a new website. Read on then and we will look at some of the basics of graphic design. This will act as a primer so that even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘creative type’ you’ll still be able to handle the design requirements of your online business…
The Six Principles
There are six principles of good graphic design. These include:
Here, proximity and alignment deal with making sure that everything lines up well and has the correct relationship with the other elements on the page. So for instance, if you have a banner and a block of text, you want to align the banner directly over the text. Proximity will refer to the space between the two and this should be uniform between all the elements on your page. When done correctly, this should create a sense of ‘balance’ which will also benefit from symmetry.
Contrast meanwhile is how you will direct attention – elements that are visual different from others (bright red on a white background for instance) will always draw attention. Repetition means the use of lists and other recurring elements which act almost like the ‘hook’ of a piece of music. These are great for enabling people to quickly grasp a concept.
Finally ‘space’ is the room around the images and text in your graphic design. This is important as it can prevent a feeling of claustrophobia and make it easier for you to direct attention around the page.
Flow and User Experience
All these elements combined should create a sense of flow so that the eyes will glide from the first element through to the last. This should be true whether you’re creating a website or a custom t-shirt.
To create flow, make sure that the biggest and most contrasting elements are at the start of your image/layout (which should be the top left ideally) and that all images are drawing attention inwards towards the focal point – which may be a block of text for instance. If you have an image of a person in your design, bear in mind that the way they are facing will direct attention – you don’t want to have text on the left for instance and a person looking off to the right as it will create a discord that confuses the viewer. Have everything ‘point’ to the same place while being surrounded by balance and equilibrium.
If you want to research further into graphic design there are many more concepts to learn. Color theory for instance explains how you can use contrasting or ‘analogous’ colors from the color wheel in order to create an attractive color palette. Likewise, it is always a good idea to learn about typography so that you know how to select and combine fonts for use in your designs. As you do this you will become more and more adept at creating stunning layouts and imagery for your promotional materials, communications, advertising and more!