The Golden Rules of Graphic Design

The Golden Rules of Graphic Design

You may not consciously be aware of this, but graphic design is EVERYWHERE. The branding of the device you are using to read this, the websites you have open in your tabs, the mug on your desk, your favourite series on Netflix… it’s everywhere. And with 2021 forcing a lot of companies to focus more on digital its more relevant than ever!

Graphic designers have a tough job of making marketing materials unique enough so you notice it and take action. They have to be experts in removing all the unnecessary visual noise and clutter, so what you see makes sense and isn’t confusing.

This is particularly true with our limited attention span and receiving too many messages from multiple sources! To add some clarity, there are rules graphic designers should never break. If they don’t adhere to the basics, your visuals will be a hot mess of fonts, colours, images and graphics that will make your brand look unprofessional, untrustworthy and inconsistent. This will reflect on your product or service too. 

With this in mind, we have compiled our golden rules of graphic design, so you know considered and effective graphic design when you see it.

Rule 1 - Consistency is key!

Use a regular format and design for all your branded materials. Everything you present externally is designed to establish rapport with your target audience, so it’s important to make sure it is consistent across your website, business cards, social media, brochures, flyers and merchandise. Customers will notice. And they will get the right impression that your business is reliable and steady.

Rule 2 – Don’t use too many fonts

Using two fonts is absolutely fine. Maybe even three, but anything more is messy and a lot to process for your customer’s brain. More importantly, your core messages – what you’re trying to communicate – will be lost. The purpose of graphic design is to set out what you want to say in a clear and understandable way. Too many fonts will overcomplicate the design and what you are trying to get across.

Important note about Comic Sans

The Comic Sans font was designed for comics. The clue is in the name – so unless you’re creating a comic, don’t use it. There are a huge amount of attractive fonts available. Many are free of charge, so find something that fits the purpose of your marketing and not one that is specifically for comics!

Rule 3 - Don’t use too many colours either

Using suitable colours can be very powerful. But experimenting with too many different ones can be a disaster, as it can be with using too many fonts. Graphic designers will compile a simple and consistent colour palette for the brand or the project so that your message isn’t confusing or distracting but clear and understood.

Rule 4 - Scale image proportions correctly

It’s wise to experiment with image sizes and scales, but be careful not to stretch photos or logos so they look untidy online or in print. Photos, where headshots or landscapes are distorted, will make your brand look unprofessional and like you don’t know what you’re doing!

Rule 5 - Align design elements correctly

Random design elements scattered on a page will look like you haven’t thought about the reader at all. No one wants to see a messy and disorganised advert or flyer when it doesn’t take much effort to align objects correctly. Think about the logic of the information being is displayed to someone seeing it for the first time.

Rule 6 – White space is important

White space is a good thing. It helps the design breathe and take in its surroundings. And it’s another reason why you shouldn’t use too many fonts and colours. White space means less clutter and it also gives readers a chance to rest their eyes and brains. The key here is to get rid of anything unnecessary so it emphasises the important stuff.

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