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Graphic Design For The Non Graphic Designer

So you want to dabble in graphic design and just are not sure where to start? Well, you came to the right place. Most people are scared to try it, but once you get the hang of it, graphic design isn’t scary at all. Graphic design can be anything from your logo design, to business cards, and even down to your web design. Having roots in graphic design does not necessarily mean you are the world’s greatest artist; it could be something as simple as knowing what looks good and what doesn’t.

Becoming a graphic designer, or even just periodically presenting some creative elements, is a skill that can set you a part from others within your workplace. It is all about finding what works well for you and how you can create graphic pieces that will reflect your creativity and your assigned task. When being assigned some design work, here are some tips you can follow to get your creative juices flowing and how to keep them flowing…

Start by getting comfortable with your setting
Grab a coffee, sit in your favourite chair, put on some tunes, whatever it takes to make you feel relaxed. Designing can become frustrating if your head is not into it. Make sure you are in an environment that will foster creativity, not hinder it.

Identify your goal and key elements
There is nothing worse than not having a clear vision. Knowing what your end result should be ie. ‘An image that will direct my clients to the shop page,’ will make it easier for you to come up with a design. Without a clear goal, you will be swimming around in a circle for hours. Having an end goal will keep you focused and will and will allow you to use your time wisely.

Research designs
There is nothing wrong with researching and looking at what others have done. Doing a little bit of research will help you to determine what you like and do not like and how you can shape your assigned task. Sometimes you will find that inspiration will come from the most unexpected places and elements.

Decide on your layout and colour palate
Unless specified, choosing your colours and page layout can be a bit of a task, mostly because you will have hundreds of ideas running through your head. Deciding on a main colour design and page layout will help to keep you on task. Obviously your page design will change throughout the designing process, but having an idea of what you want will keep the actual execution of it on the right track. Sometimes I find it best to sketch out a really simple and basic outline on a piece of paper, that way when you get lost you can easily refer back to the drawing and attempt to rearrange your roadblock.

Be open to opinions and criticisms
When it comes to designs, you will not always see eye-to-eye with everyone who reviews your work. You have to remember to stay open minded, regardless of how much your work is criticized. Everyone has their own ideas and being able to take criticism and alter your work will make you a better designer. Design criticism is not a personal attack; it is a way to get everyone’s goals met.

Before sending your work to the client or publishing it, make sure to look back and ask yourself “What am I trying to obtain with this piece?” Next, ask yourself “Did I get that message across?” If your answer is “No” then you may want to spend a little bit of more time on it before you send it off. If you answered “Yes,” double check that all copy, file sizes, file types, bleed (if needed), and requirements are met, and then feel free to submit your work for print or upload to your client. You are done!

Almost as important as it is to have a creative eye, having a default program that you are with comfortable using is completely okay, Adobe Photoshop CS6 being my go to program. But you should never limit yourself to only one program. There will come a day when a client will need something changed ASAP and they will send you a file for a program that you will have to learn on the fly. So be sure to experiment and dive deep into various designing programs that are available – this way you will always be prepared for the unexpected.

Getting the hang of designing is something that does take time, but it is a great learning experience. In the beginning you will find that your designs may not be working out, but eventually with practice and experimenting, you will get the outcome you hoped for. It is all based on trial and error; do not get discouraged. Sometimes your greatest works will come from a mistake or an unplanned tool selection. Don’t be afraid to experiment; you will thank yourself later for it!