For graphic design students and people that do graphics professionally, there are seven elements of design. I want you to know what those are but then I also want to give you some beginner tips. Specifically, 7 tips to help you get better at making graphics for yourself and your business.
Element 1: Color
Color is obviously an important element of any design. Some of the most aesthetically pleasing designs put colors together that are actually opposites on the color wheel. You have to start with good colors to get a good design. If you don’t start good it’s not going to end good. End well. End like you want it to end, let’s just say that.
Element 2: Line
The next element is line. So what does that mean? Lines convey mood and movement. Some examples of line are an arrow to draw the eye upward or a frame around your wording. Use line to draw the eye to what you want it to see.
Element 3: Scale
People sometimes called this element size but it’s actually scale. This is how you set your focal point. Make sure what you want people to see is your largest point. Scale matters.
Element 4: Shape
The next element on our list is shape, and that can be geometric or organic. Think outside the square. Shapes can be a great way to enhance your graphic.
Element 5: Alignment
Make sure, whatever you do, that you are lining up your text. It needs to look balanced. One of my personal pet peeves is when someone has an amazing font and then misaligned their text. You need to know where the best place to showcase your text is on your graphic.
Element 6: Contrast
In my opinion, contrast doesn’t get enough attention. Contrast is huge. It can be as simple as light versus dark. It can also be something like the difference between small and large. If you aren’t using contrast to your benefit, your graphics will not look as polished as they could.
Element 7: Space
Space is the most abused element of all the design elements. You have to effectively use your white space. Many times, people want to jam as much information as they can into a graphic leaving no white space. This can actually make your reader confused and they won’t know where to look. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed and not get the message that you are trying to convey. Use your space in a way that allows people to know exactly where to look.
Now that we have the elements of design, let’s look at some beginner tips to put these elements to use.
Look for Inspiration
You can look for inspiration everywhere. Start noticing what you like from other businesses. Inspiration doesn’t have to only come from businesses just like yours. If you are a realtor and you get inspired by a graphic posted by your favorite ice cream company, that’s totally okay. Start collecting folders of inspiration for your business. A great way to do this is with Pinterest. You can put it on a secret board so that you don’t share it with others.
Take Note of Exactly What You Like
First, you need to find your inspiration, then you need to find out what it is about that inspiration that moves you. What was it about a specific graphic that jumped out at you and caught your attention? Is it the use of shape? Is it the use of balance? Is it the colors used in the graphic? Why that one graphic?
Target that Attribute and Get Specific in Your Instruction
For instance, if what really grabbed you about an image was the use of contrast you need to research how to effectively use contrast in your graphics. Once you know what you like, learn as much about that quality as you can. Google is your friend.
Use Your Inspiration for Your Posts
If you find an awesome graphic that you like, you can recreate it. I don’t mean plagiarize the graphic and make it look exactly the same. Instead, if you like the colors and the way the text lines up down the side of a graphic, you can use that to create your own material. Don’t copy but do be inspired.
Negative Can Be Positive
Please don’t be afraid of negative space. Do not try to squeeze all of your information into one little graphic. If that’s the only thing you get from today, that’s an awesome takeaway. Too much is too much. Think about the last time you saw someone that had on all the jewelry with a ring on every finger, and necklaces, and bracelets. It’s overwhelming. This is more. Lean into your negative space.
Be afraid to ask for feedback. Ask other business owners. Ask your employees. You can even ask your clients. “Do you like this?” People will tell you what they think. Most people love to share their opinion and you need to know.
The more you do it, the better you get at doing it. It makes me laugh. I’ve been doing social media exclusively for the last 10 years and when I look back at my earliest graphics they are so terrible. They were good at the time. I mean, no one else could do it better when I was doing it. At least that’s what I tell myself. Yeah, they were bad. There is an evolution there. I can look back on my team’s work from 2 years ago, a year ago, or even six months ago and see the evolution. The more you do it, the better it gets. It takes practice.
Design Like a Pro
With these tips and the elements of design, you are on your way to creating stunning graphics. For more information on how you can improve your social media presence, be sure to check out our YouTube channel. We post new content every Tuesday and Friday at 2 pm.