effective graphic design tips for beginners

Effective Graphic Design Tips for Beginners

Graphic design is a valuable skill. It pays off to have it in both a person’s professional and personal life. In fact, graphic designing is an in-demand work. According to IBISWorld, the graphic design industry was worth $45.8 billion in 2021, globally. Also, the yearly market-size growth usually falls to around 2.8%. But this year, it increased to 4.1%.

The graphic design industry will not go away because brands will always need designers to create eye-catching and impactful designs.

However, starting a career in graphic design can be intimidating. You’ll get bombarded with numerous tools to master, as well as design principles to use. But you need to remember, every successful graphic designer has to go through this to become good at their work.

If you are only beginning, here are effective tips you can implement to jump-start your career.

Graphic Design Tips for Beginners

Get to Know the Basic Design Principles

Before you start creating designs, you need to master the basics of graphic designing. You can’t make any logo or banner without knowing what font or color to use.

Each element in a design impacts a person. There’s a reason why a brand chooses one color for its campaign.

Some design principles you’ll need to learn are the following:

  • Alignment
  • Color
  • Contrast
  • Space
  • Balance
  • Proximity
  • Typography

Getting to know them individually will help you create designs that are impactful and clear.

Learn with Offline or Online Courses

online courses graphic design
via Pixabay

You can learn how to create impressive designs by taking courses. Since graphic design is a skill, you need to go overboard and get to know about it.

There are plenty of courses offered online and offline. You’ll learn the history, principles, and more. As a bonus, you’ll receive a certificate for completing the course, which you can add to your resume when looking for clients.

You can find paid courses online like Skillshare and Udemy. Or, you can visit YouTube and learn for free.

Start Networking

Networking is valuable, particularly if you are planning to do freelancing jobs. There are plenty of ways you can network yourself as a graphic designer.

You can join social media like LinkedIn and Facebook and be part of groups and communities. You can learn new ideas, meet professionals, and get opportunities.

Networking helps when you are starting with your career. You can find plenty of support from the community, and you’ll also hear stories of other graphic designers that might help.

Begin with a Moodboard

mood board
via Unsplash | Toa Heftiba

After taking courses and networking yourself, you finally have a client. So, how do you begin?

First, create a mood board. It is a way for you to get inspiration and an overview of how your design will feel and look like. Creating a mood board can help you find a reference, like similarities on the images, fonts, and styles you have put together.

Make sure you get a variety of references to avoid copying a design. Most often, using a few or single designs can end up plagiarizing it.

You can visit social media sites like Pinterest to get inspiration for your work.

Use Less but Striking Fonts

There are plenty of fonts to choose from, but not everything should be applied to a design. Only limit your work to two styles.

When choosing a font type, pick one that has a large variation. Make sure that the single font family has various weights and styles, so when using them, you don’t have to be bothered with mixing other font styles.

You can get free fonts on Google Fonts or try Creative Fonts Traditional Collection.

Here’s a great read if you want to learn to choose the right font type for your design.

Choosing the Right Color

color wheel
via Pixabay

Choosing the right color for your design is crucial for you to communicate the goal of your campaign.

Learning about color theory and psychology is critical in choosing what color can impact your creations. The best way to avoid loud and confusing designs is to keep things simple. Choose 1-3 main colors of your design. Make sure they complement each other. You can play with the intensity of tones of the color, adjust the brightness and saturation.

You can set the mood, capture the audience, and convey your message by choosing the right color palette for your design.

Learn about color theory with this article by Replica Printing.

Do not Fear White Space

What separates a novice from a professional designer is the ability to use white or negative space.

White space is the area in a design that has no visual or written content. It sets as an area to refresh the eye and give an appealing look.

With white space, you create a minimal look that doesn’t affect the overall design. Instead, it even gives the design more attention than you’ll ever think of.

Follow Visual Hierarchy

Before starting your design, you need to look at the whole picture. Which is the most vital aspect of your design? What part of your design do you want your viewers to notice first?

Prioritizing visual hierarchy gives you the power to control what you want to show your viewers. Crucial messages must be the dominant part of your design. In graphic designing, there’s a visual hierarchy that designers follow.

The header has the largest font size and must contain the most important message. Then, it is followed by subheadings. Even for visuals like images, graphics, and colors, a hierarchy must be applied too. You need to place the design that matters at the top of the list.

Also, the size, color, contrast, alignment, and more are included in the visual hierarchy.

Since it is a skill you need to learn, here is an article that talks about visual hierarchy.

Be Consistent with Designs

Consistency is important when creating designs and branding. The font, image, size, color, and other elements should be consistent. It should form a unified message.

Even the imagery should have the same feel and look as other elements. Consistency is important, particularly when creating multiple designs and requiring multiple touchpoints for a brand. Using similar elements on all parts of a business can build brand awareness.

Follow Alignment

Like choosing the right font type, color, and image, keeping your designs in the right alignment also matters. It makes pages and designs look presentable and avoid looking like it’s crowded.

As much as you want to combine multiple alignments, our best advice is to stick to a single option to make it look organized.

Learn the Art of Alignment with this article by DesignMantic.

Use a Grid

We have mentioned that using the right alignment can keep your designs look organized and clean. Design software has auto-alignment available on their tool, but you can manually align your design using grids.

Grids can help in achieving balance and symmetry. It can maintain balance in your design and create the right space between the elements.

Although the grid system can be constraining, it still gives designers the option to see different possibilities. You can find multiple ways to create your designs when using a grid.

Learn how to use the grid system to your advantage with this detailed article.

Keep it Simple

Simple is not boring. In fact, when it comes to creating designs, simple designs stand out the most. It means that you need to pick elements that are not too loud and contradict one another. Instead, choose images, icons, colors, and fonts that complement one another. But of course, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have some contrasting elements. You’ll need bold colors to make text understandable and not blend in with the background color.

Think Outside the Box

Yes, there are rules you need to follow when creating your design. But as you slowly master the rules, you can learn to break them too.

Graphic design rules are not meant to constrain designers of their creativity. They are there to guide them. When designing, you can think outside the box. You don’t have to use standard icons or fonts to make a design. Instead, think of something original and unique.

Keep Text and Images Readable

Make sure to keep your text readable. Choose a color that will make the text stand out. Also, the font, heading, and other elements should relate to the text.

Take note of this when creating infographics and charts too.

Use Premade Templates

canva premade templates graphic design
screenshot via Canva’s website

Even professional graphic designers use pre-designed templates when creating designs. It’s the best way to save time, especially if you have plenty of projects to be done.

Instead of creating individual images or banner sizes for your design, you can use a template from Canva for your social media posting. They come in various sizes for different social media channels, reports, infographics, invitations, logos, and more.

Use Icons

Icons can make your design simple. Instead of writing or placing a text on your design, choosing an icon to represent your message can work. But remember, when picking an icon, you don’t necessarily need to follow the rules. You can think outside the box to create unique designs.

Know the Type of File You Need

There are various file formats you can save your designs, but you have to learn about them and where you can use them. Before starting the design process, get to know where you’re going to use the design to know which format to use.

Get Feedback

feedback graphic design
via Pixabay

Remember about networking and joining communities and groups? You can get feedback from them. Share your designs and ask them what they think about your work. Get constructive criticism from experts to learn how to improve your skills.


Finally, keep practicing, whether you get your first client or not. Professional designers practice until they can create designs faster. They know what elements work with one another.

For amateurs, the best way is to practice this skill. Join online contests, try various assignments, and so on for you to learn and get used to working with your field. Also, remember that the graphic design industry is broad. You can choose to work in a specific field like logo making or web designing or be a jack-of-all-trades.

Check out what tools you’ll need with this graphic design software article to begin your work.

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