Online Graphic Design 101: Basic Tips to boost your skills

We often get the misconception that graphic design only needs us to be good in drawing and using design applications. Unfortunately, just knowing how to do Photoshop won't make us good graphic designers.

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In fact, it’s using the right tools with the right techniques at the right time that help us pull off great graphic design. And thankfully, being able to achieve this kind of technical prowess is very possible given time, effort, and practice.

In this article, we’ll explore more tips to pull off stunning and amazing graphic design. Here are some of them:

Get to know your branding even before you make your graphic designs

A lot of good graphic design often fails not because of their appearance in itself, but because of how these appearances don’t exactly correspond to the main theme of the client branding in question. Before you learn more about design principles, try studying how popular companies have come up with their brand logos. This helps you understand how certain design principles have been at work in the conceptualization of these designs. Not only that, but doing this can help you eventually learn how you can come up with interesting logo concepts with just a creative brief, or even a short description of the main concept.

  • Your branding rules count. When you plan on making graphic design for your brand, always remember how your branding works. What message do you want your readers and audiences to remember from your brand? How can your brand express that in terms of color schemes and iconography? Understanding how these elements have to mix and match – usually with a branding or creative brief – can give you a firmer idea how you’re supposed to play around with your elements without compromising the spirit of your brand.
  • Always know the point of your graphic design before you attempt to make your output. What underlying message does this specific piece of art represent? Should it be an infographic that informs? Should it be a graphic that encourages you to play racing games? Should it be a meme or a statement that will make readers think? Knowing the “point” of your graphic design will help direct you to the kind of elements that work best for your chosen output.

Apply Design Theories in more complex output

We’ve all tackled design theories at some point, in that various elements of design can help create more effective and efficient graphic design. And while we most likely have these principles to heart, it does help to know how these elements get intertwined and mixed together in more complex combinations. Knowingly these combinations help ensure we familiarize ourselves which design elements flow together, and which don’t. If you get to apply multiple design principles to your work more frequently, the faster you’ll be able to facilitate mastery over your designs and output as well.

  • Trust your color wheel more. While it seems pretty basic to know what different sets of colors are – from neutral, to primary, to secondary, to contrasting, to complementary, and so on – it does pay off to apply these colors on a complex capacity. For instance, contrasting colors can definitely make your designs pop and emphasize on relevant points.
  • Pay close attention to scale and space for your elements. Just because you’ve learned of many design theories doesn’t mean you should neglect the use of space and scale. You’d be surprised how powerful your graphic designs can be when you use these elements efficiently. Scale and space help emphasize icons and relevant aspects of your brand without having to overuse your elements.

Find the right tools for the right kind of output

A lot of times, we face difficulty when creating graphics because we’re using outdated or unhelpful software. As artists, you don’t necessarily have to rely solely on one tool for your output. Rather, you need to train yourself on using a variety of apps and software so you can easily adapt to different circumstances and situations. This helps you make faster, more efficient, and more aesthetically-pleasing graphic design that’s also on point with your branding needs.

  • Don’t just solely rely on Photoshop for your graphic design. While admittedly, mastery in Photoshop does help cover the basics. However, don’t neglect the functionalities of other tools and apps, especially if you’re an Adobe user. For instance, InDesign works best for layouts and publications, while Illustrator can be your friend for illustrations. Lightroom also helps with your images, while Premiere works for your videos. Using these tools and learning them can be great assets to your skill sets.
  • Don’t limit yourself to Adobe, as well. Always try to familiarize yourself with other tools should you need to use them. These include Sony Vegas for videos, GIMP for photo editing, and even Paint Tool Sai for your illustrations. This expands your flexibility as an artist.

Practice helps facilitates mastery over your graphic design prowess

Nothing beats practice when it comes to pursuing graphic design. We won’t settle for just the rookie “practice makes perfect ” rule, though. Rather, we want to encourage you to practice more complex and more advanced editing techniques to add a bit more flare, aesthetic prowess, and dynamism to your piece. Understanding how more complex techniques work in your favor can definitely help you pull off not just complicated designs, but also designs that work exactly for your needs.

  • Simple still helps designs become more pleasing. Readability is extremely important to design, as this helps facilitate understanding to readers. When it comes to your output, this means combining your elements together in a way that makes your point clear, concise, and presented in an entertaining manner. The more complex a simple design is, the more eye catching your output will likely become.
  • White space can become an extremely important asset for your designs. While it helps to use all of your elements in your graphic design output, white space remains a crucial component to help blend everything together. Using your white space properly can help place focus on the right elements of your design, and can help you practice much more efficiently.

Graphic Design Excellence: It’s all in the training

With the above in mind, it’s important to remember and consider that great graphic design often comes out of constant practice and application of techniques. The tips and tricks we’ve shared may seem obvious or new to any kind of reader. However, our point is that graphic design demands a certain kind of balance between knowing customer needs and helping them meet those needs in a seamless manner. Hopefully, the above tips can help you achieve this kind of development.

If you have more questions, feel free to share them with us!

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