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5 Graphic Design Tips for the Artistically Challenged

Written by Deb Strout on Mon, May 20, 2013

graphic designerSo, you need to create a new brochure or company newsletter but you have the artistic ability of a six-year-old. Just because you are artistically challenged doesn’t mean you can’t create something that will work in a pinch! Here are five professional graphic design tips that will point you in the right direction.

1. One point per page

When EVERYTHING is important in your brochure, ad or web page, then nothing is important.

Too many large fonts, too many words, too many bright colors like red actually confuse the reader and obscures your message so nothing stand out.

Instead, choose just one thing on the page that is the most important and highlight only that. This way your readers will clearly understand what you’re trying to emphasize, who you are and what you have to say.

If you have more things to emphasize, then add pages to your layout. This is easier to do with a website redesign, but equally important.

2. White space is a good thing

Have you ever seen a house so cluttered with furniture, curtains and wall coverings that it made you want to run out screaming like your hair was on fire? Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but that’s what happens when you clutter up a website or brochure. If you cram too much onto one page then your readers won’t have a clue what to look at first.

Instead, leave plenty of white space. Open areas in your design will actually focus attention on the parts that matter – that is, your message. Don’t make your readers work too hard to figure out what you have to say. They don’t have the time, or the inclination. Next thing you know, they’ve turned the page or back-clicked from your website. Ouch!

3. Photo resolution

If you don’t know what resolution is, I can assure you, it doesn’t happen just on New Year’s Eve. That picture you pulled off the Internet may look fine on the screen, but if you’re printing a flyer or brochure, PLEASE use a high-resolution photo—300 dpi. If you don’t, your photos will turn out pixelated and blurry.

If you are in need of stock photography and can’t afford a photographer, look online to a stock photo source and purchase the largest dpi photo you can get. You can always reduce the size of the photo, or reduce the dpi for web use. Remember to name new photo versions with a new name and keep the original!

4. Consistency

Your website, business cards, brochures and postcards should all match. That doesn’t mean they have to look identical, but colors, fonts and images should all look like they are all part of the same suite. That way when someone reads your brochure and then visits your website, they will instantly recognize that they are in the right place because they coordinate. You don’t want your marketing materials to look like someone with a multiple personality disorder created them!

5. Repetition

The best promotional materials are ones that, at first glance, can be identified with a brand. Think about ads for the ‘Got Milk’ campaign… iPhone…  Lincoln cars. You don’t need to spend any time reading the fine print to know what product is being promoted.

You can create ads, brochures and web pages that are variations on a theme. That way, the consumer becomes familiar with your brand or style and comes to recognize you without having to spend time thinking about it. When you’re trying to grab the attention — seconds saved are crucial.

Even if you don’t have an established brand identity, design like you do.

Visual consistency can tie your business cards to your brochures to your employees’ nametags. This will help you establish a recognizable brand and make it easier for your promotional materials to leave an impression! Go Team!

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Topics: Marketing, graphic design, typesetting

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