Five key tips to help all the non-designers out there
It’s easy to feel intimated by design, especially if you’re not a designer. It’s also alarmingly easy to take the “how hard can it be?” approach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking a stab at designing a website, trying to produce social media assets, or creating your own physical marketing materials, we’ve put together five key things that anyone trying their hand at design needs to remember.
Designing with type is tricky, and there’s far more to it than simply picking a font and positioning your text. Ever dabbled in letterform anatomy? How about leading, kerning and tracking? Type classifications? Didn’t think so. But that’s ok — you’re not a designer, and you (probably) don’t have time to work out what all that stuff is about. Instead, remember this one thing: style shouldn’t overwhelm readability. What good is a snazzy typeface if no one can immediately understand what you’re saying? Text is there to communicate information, so if your highly-stylised font is getting in the way of that, you need to rethink your approach. That doesn’t mean your type has to be boring, though. An easy way to enjoy the best of both worlds is to use stylised fonts for larger, easier-to-read headers and titles, and use a more minimalistic, ‘everyday’ font for the body. Something a bit like this:
But don’t get carried away. Using more than one or two fonts will set you back to a messy square one.
How to use space a fairly fundamental design concept that everyone should understand. While it’s tempting to cram anything and everything into a design or web page, the opposite approach is far better for giving users’ eyes a rest. You might be familiar with this website and its use of blank space:
Using white space (although it doesn’t always have to be white) in this way allows the elements of a website to breathe, and forces users to look exactly where Google wants them to.
Or rather, use contrasts to your advantage. On paper, choosing the right colours is easy, but it’s far trickier in reality, even for seasoned designers. When it comes to colour, consider that high-contrast colour schemes (colours that are found opposite each other on the colour wheel) are better for creating interest and depth in your design, and are useful from a user experience (UX) perspective. High-contrast colours serve as visual cues to help direct the user’s eyes around the design and towards important elements. Don’t know the first thing about high-contrast colour schemes, complementary colours and the like? No worry, because Adobe Color is a great free tool designed specifically to help you nail those colour combinations.
If you’re designing your own website or working on a larger document, remember to be consistent. Once you’ve settled on a colour palette or typeface, stick with it. If you start introducing new fonts or stylistic elements midway through, you’re only going to create a messy, unfocused, sloppy-looking design.
You’re not a designer, so why make this harder for yourself? You might not be able to create a design masterpiece, but you can definitely produce something that’s slick, polished, and professional. As you progress through your design, ask yourself whether each element absolutely has to be there. What’s the reasoning behind your choices? It’ll help with any unnecessary clutter. Keep the number of colours, fonts, layout choices, illustrations and media to a minimum and keep your project from feeling like the design equivalent of a Transformers movie (too many special effects...)
Still need a little help? Apps like Canva are super-helpful when it comes to making design easy for non-designers. But, of course, nothing beats the real thing. Hiring a designer doesn’t have to be expensive and time-consuming—at least, it isn’t when you work with a Buzzbar designer. At Buzzbar, you’ll sit side by side with our expert graphic designers, providing input and feedback in real-time to help bring your designs to life. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.