All Non-Designers Should Know These  Graphic Design Tips

All Non-Designers Should Know These Graphic Design Tips

This is a gathering of a list of graphic design tips that every non-designer should have in their arsenal. If you are able to follow them, you will be well on your way to creating incredible graphics to meet any online need.

1. Begin With A Nice Color Palette

color palette

Have you ever noticed that some of the best designs out there will have wonderful colors? This is no accident, as selecting a great color palette is a key to amazing design.

Before you balk at the thought of picking your own colors, know that you don’t have to. Using a website such as ColourLovers will allow you access to millions of stunning color palettes. All you have to do is find a hex code that you like and you can use it in your design.


2. Never Get Carried Away With Your Fonts

In an ideal situation, you should think about limiting yourself to a couple of fonts. This will help to keep you from worrying about tons of combinations. If you would like to use multiple fonts, having one for the header and then another for the body will be best.


3. Set Up A ‘Swipe File’

This is a term that comes from the world of copywriting, but it applies here as well. A swipe file is when you have instances of good copy that a copywriter will see. In our situation, it will mean instances of great design that you see.

When you take the examples, you need to store them on your computer, or your dropbox, somewhere that you can easily access. You can then bring them back whenever the time is right. Provided that you are not taking anything from someone else in its entirety, there is nothing wrong with borrowing a small amount of brilliance.

If you are putting together images for a Facebook ad, you can check the AdEspresso gallery for Facebook ads. You can also look at design sites like and


4. Never Be Afraid To Blank Out

This does not mean blank out like spacing out. This means never be afraid to leave some white, blank space in the design. The saying is true that less can be more.

Designs can sometimes get very cluttered to where the white space will have nothing occupying it and really enhance the overall design. It can call for a good bit of mental adjustment as a designer, but if you have the right change, you can use the concept to mimic that of an expert designer.

For a lesson on how to properly use white space, you can view any of the marketing images created by Apple.


5. Aligning Your Objects

This will help with keeping design elements in an order that is presentable, no matter the size. Good alignment will be a smart way to give all of your images a professional and sophisticated look.


For dragging items into Snappa, the grid lines appear automatically so you can easily line up objects.


6. Using Icons For Supporting Messaging

You can think of icons like black pepper, where they can be sprinkles on whatever design you are cooking. The icons add a bit of spice to the design, making it a tasty one.

Icons are used quite extensively at times to reinforce blog post content. If you want to understand what the masters do, you can look to the Helpdesk blog for inspiration.


7. Follow Your Design Rules

The rules you set for yourself may not be specific rules, but instances in your design where you could use a certain set of lines, colors, textures, etc. If you are set on that choice, never turn around and undermine it. Stay consistent with the design rules you put out to ensure consistency with your images.


8. Rinse And Repeat

If you have multiple designs in your website, ad campaign or another project, it might be easy just to rinse and repeat. Copy the design and then swap out any elements that you need changed, which will ensure the format remains the same, even if you are changing the content.


9. Using Font Variants

Variety can be added while still keeping everything feeling fairly consistent. The key will be using text from one font family.

font variants


For example, a font family would be Arial, which includes the basic Arial and a list of variants such as Arial Narrow, Arial Black and more. The will all look different, yet there is a common thread that will give you a sense of consistency when you use them together in a design.


10. Take Advantage Of Contrasts

Using contrast will help add attitude to the design while making sure that certain elements are able to stand out. There are a number of ways that you can generate contrast as well. You can use contrasting fonts, colors or the amount of space within your design between elements.

You can think about it in real world sense as well, which will show you how this makes sense. If you have a very tall person next to a very short person, you are going to notice. The same will hold true when it comes to contrasting design elements.

adobe color

You can use a color wheel such as Adobe Color when you want to identify the colors that contrast.


11. Using Lines For Creating Order

The lines will anchor items in images, creating a sense of overall order. Using lines in the image by putting them around a block of text will then anchor that text.

You can also use lines as a separator between elements of the image. In this case, the elements being separate will further the feeling of coordination and planning in your design.


12. Plan Your Design

Instead of having planning as your first step, many non-designers will think about planning after they are well into their design process. The planning stage could be just a minute or two, but if you are able to understand what you want to tackle before you start designing, it will go much quicker.

The more that you look at these tips, the quicker you will see that graphic design is something that does not have to be difficult. When you follow along with these tips, you will be well on your way to putting out incredible images online that will get noticed.

Markustudio is a freelance graphic designer based in London, specialising in logo design, brand identity, print design & web design.



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