Design Tips for Non-Designers or Beginners!

I originally created this helpful set of “Design Tips for Non-Designers” as content for my social feeds! Here they are all in one place for your perusal. Design tips are (sort of) subjective and rules are meant to be broken. So if you strongly disagree with any of my suggestions, feel free to do as you like! Make that logo bigger. 😉

Whether you’re just casually making things on Canva or a more skilled business owner trying to handle your own design needs, there are some basic design tips that will help you along the way!

FIRST, pick two or three fonts and use them for everything for your brand. Using too many fonts can be overwhelming for the reader, so culling your choices down and sticking to them will be good for your brand and sales! 😉 Having trouble picking fonts? Think about how you want the viewer to feel and pick something appropriate. Choose a font for headings, one for sub-headings, and one for body copy.

Read more on Smashing Magazine!

Pick three to five colours and use them for everything for your brand

Just like having a small selection of fonts to use across all your marketing materials, you should have a small selection of colours! How do you choose your colours? Each one triggers different emotions. For example, you will see red and yellow used commonly throughout fast-food restaurants! Red to stimulate hunger and yellow to convey speed and energy.

A string logo will let the client know what you expect before the even visit your business

Your logo is the staple of your brand. It lets your customers know what to expect before they even speak directly to you or your employees. So you need to make some serious decisions about who you are and how you want to be perceived. Because as much as we preach “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – WE DO! Everyone does and your logo is your book cover. I recently wrote a blog post on just this!

Don't be afraid of white space

You don’t need to fill every pixel. Let the elements breathe! I know it’s tempting to make the logo bigger, increase the font size, use up every stitch of space – but you really shouldn’t. You don’t want your readers to get overwhelmed and keep scrolling without receiving your message, so just take a moment to cut down the copy, scale down those logos, and keep it simple 💛

#PROTIP: Facebook only allows you to have about 20% text in your ads (before they start reducing your exposure) and this is a great rule to follow in general. Besides, you can load up the description of your posts with tons of great content like I am right now! 🤪

Be mindful of contrast

There’s a real trend towards tone on tone designs, and while I personally love the look, it’s not appropriate for all businesses or applications. Contrast is a very important part of accessibility and without it, you’re automatically shutting yourself off from a large client base.

Want to check to see if your website is accessible? Check out this awesome test! Simply type in your web address and it ill guide you in the right direction for improving your site.

Use hierarchy to order your content

Hierarchy is SO important in the display of information. It helps the reader know where to look first and what the most important information is! Something I find myself saying a lot is “If everything is large, nothing is large”. There’s no reference point. No way of knowing where to start.
I’ve found this article helpful for understanding visual hierarchy:

Create a mood board

Really like a specific aesthetic but not sure how you emulate it? Break out the Pinterest and start a mood board! As you begin bringing all the examples of what you like into one easily digestible place you’ll start to recognize the similarities! Reoccuring colours, font styles, textures, layouts, etc will help you recognize what has been drawing you in.

When I do this for clients I make notes of the top 5 similarities and then start collecting items to help you. Choose fonts, select colours, purchase high-quality stock imagery or organize a photoshoot with a Photographer who matches your style (I cannot stress this enough). Before you know it, you’re on your way to creating a great set of brand guidelines!

Feel free to reach out if this is something I can help you with!

Avoid using pure black

We’ve all seen those websites. They’re a sea of black with a stark white block of text. It’s hard on the eyes and subconsciously you’ll choose to leave before you finish reading because of the strain it causes on your eyes.

Instead of black (#000000), use dark gray (#444444) text on a white background so the change in brightness will not be as jarring. This allows users to be able to read for a longer period of time because their eyes won’t get tired as quickly.

Learn more here!

Need some professional help making these choices? Contact me.