Good graphic design tend to follow a set of basic principles founded on what has become common practice. They came about after much trial and error over time, leaning towards what seems to work best in most cases.

These principles do tend to change as design trends shift. Their fundamental concepts stay relatively the same, but they have to adapt to the times as well. Now in 2019, a lot of those principles look different from what they used to a decade ago.

Here are eight of the most effective ones you should implement in your graphic design today. Check out this infographic.

Mind Your Typography

The main reason for taking care with selecting your typography is readability. You want headline text that catches the eye, body text that’s easy to read, and anchor text that stands out from the body text. You want all the typography to be clear and easily distinguishable.

A major factor in readability is having the proper contrast. You certainly want enough contrast to make the text visible, but you may want to consider not having too much contrast so it won’t be too glaring, especially when read on bright screens.

Also, mind the number of font faces used in the design. You may want to stick to around two or three different font faces, and three may already be too many. If you can, stick with only one and just use different font weights to differentiate between two different types of text.

You can contrast font styles to differentiate between two different types of text. For example, you can have a heavy sans serif font for the headline and a regular serif font for the body text.

In the body text, have two font weights at most—regular for most of it, bold or italics for text you want to emphasize. As long as different types of text are easy to recognize, then you’re going in the right direction.

Finally, make sure the font is fit for the theme of the graphic design to begin with. Make sure it doesn’t clash with the visuals as every element must work in harmony.

Use a Grid

Designing with a grid can be helpful in creating a balanced and organized layout. Line up visual elements in boxes, grouping similar elements together while separating them adequately with white space to have better organization.

You need not strictly follow the grid all the time, but it’s good to use it as a guide to create a balanced layout that makes it easy for people to distinguish between different visual elements in the design.

Keep Everything Simple and Balanced

This seems like a vague and broad tip, but think of it as more of a rule of thumb. Keeping your design simple and balanced is about doing three simple things.

Make it even and symmetrical whenever possible. Symmetry pleases the eye and helps with organization, and designing on a grid can help you achieve that.

Always stick with only what’s needed. It may be tempting to add more elements to the design, but it’s best to just work with only what’s necessary to keep the design minimal.

Avoid overcrowding by properly using white space. Don’t jam too many elements in one spot. Space them out and make sure each element can be distinguished by having ample spacing.

Know Your Audience

This goes without saying, but it can be easy to get locked in on your own graphic design without considering the audience. Your target demographic can dictate the tone of your design.

For instance, if your audience is predominantly male, you may use bolder and darker colors with higher contrast, more sharp edges, and masculine themes.

If they’re mostly female, you’ll want to use softer colors, elegant-looking typography, and feminine themes.

If they’re mostly children, you have a wider selection of bright colors to choose from, as well as fun design themes and intricate designs.

If your design is meant to be family-friendly, you’ll want to use earthy tones and soft colors, as well as happy and calming themes that’s fit for both children and adults.

Learn Color Theory

Speaking of colors, you can’t just haphazardly decide on what colors you use for your design. They have to both complement each other and suit the emotion that the design is meant to exude. Pick your colors carefully as it can dictate how your audience feels when they view your design.

Cool colors with blacks and greys convey seriousness. Warm colors with blacks and greys also convey seriousness, as well as professionalism. Bright, warm colors all around can exude excitement, while darker warm colors can denote passion.

Lighter cool colors look happy and lighthearted, while some greens and yellows can make for a more casual tone. These are not hard and fast rules, but a part of the creative process here is figuring out a color scheme that gives the tone you want.

Review Basic Design Principles

These are namely balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, and unity. Each of them are their for various reasons and satisfying as many of these criteria as possible can help make your design better.

These criteria must work with each other and have the right ones be selected according to the design in question. Different designs may call for different criteria to be prioritized, depending on what they’re meant for and 

Inspiration is Key

Whether you’re still planning your design or stumped on what to do, you need to find some inspiration. The best places to get that inspiration on the Internet are repositories with designs from various sources that you can take ideas from.

The most readily available repository is Google Image Search. Just type in a keyword related to your design and browse the results.

You can also go to Pinterest and do the same thing. The pins can also be saved in your own boards so you can organize and show them on your profile.

Then there are design portfolio websites like Behance, which has designs from graphic design professionals. If there’s anywhere you would want to find design ideas from, it’s definitely from sites like Behance.

Always Revise and Improve Your Design

Once you’ve finished the first iteration of your design, find ways to make it better. Revisions may range from small adjustments to even overhauls of the design. Continuing to ponder on the design and ways to make it better are an integral part of the design process itself.

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