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8 Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

October 10, 2019
Matt Southam

Give your graphic designs a professional look with these handy tips for non-designers!

Whatever your role within your business, you probably do end up wearing more than one hat sometimes which can mean trying your hand in areas which aren’t necessarily your skillset. You might find yourself designing attention-grabbing social media content or promotional graphics to advertise your business or event. From font pairs to colour palettes, composition and scale, there is a lot to think about when trying to communicate information visually. So, here are 8 tips to help you!

Limit your typefaces

When choosing fonts for your headings and body text within your design, make sure that they are easy to read. Too many fonts within a design can be difficult to read too, so stick to two or three at most. Make sure your font choices look good together. You don’t always need more than one font – you can create visual uniformity by choosing one with different variants (e.g. italics, bold, extra bold, light).

Don’t overcrowd your elements

Make sure to give the elements of your design some breathing space around them. You can use letter spacing to tighten up text which is taking up too much room, but be careful not to reduce the spacing so much that the letters become crowded. Likewise, adding more letter spacing can look elegant and clean, but don’t over do it to the point that the letters look lost from each other.

Make smart colour choices

If using colour in your design, be smart about your choices. Stick to a limited colour palette of 1-3 primary colours and 1 or 2 accent colours that all complement each other. Keep in mind that different colours have different meanings (e.g. blue is calming, red is associated with anger or passion, yellow is joyful). Colours create visual harmony, and by choosing a warm, cool or monochromatic palette you’ll set the tonal foundation of your design.

Choose the font for your mood

Like colours, fonts can convey different meanings too. Serif fonts have an elegant and sophisticated appeal, geometric sans serif fonts are strong and powerful, and fonts with soft rounded edges are friendlier. Make sure to choose fonts which convey the right message for your audience.

Keep it simple

It’s better to keep your design simple than fill it with unnecessary elements. Make sure that every element of your design is absolutely necessary to convey the message you are trying to get across.

Hierarchy is key

Use scale, typography, colour and placement to achieve a hierarchy within your design. The most important part of your message should be the most visually dominant. This helps the get the attention of the audience and deliver the key message in just a few seconds.

Negative space is not empty space

Negative space is often referred to as ‘white space’, although it’s not always white. Applying space around your shapes, text, images and other elements lets them breathe and makes the design clearer and easier to understand.


Contrast is key to good design – it can affect the mood, make it stand out to the eye and also helps legibility. Contrast ban be achieved through colour choices, mixed fonts and other graphics. If you are working with a dark background then use a light colour for text, and vice versa.

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