I’ve been working in the advertising industry for many years. Once upon a time, I was a designer and it was a tough job. But life changed, and if you need to create a design for your online communication today, you can make pretty good artwork on your own. Here are some ideas how.
Part 1. Less is bliss.
The better design — the lesser the unnecessary elements it has. Remove all redundant components and keep only indispensable ones to achieve perfection.
- Less means — readable fonts, it is better to use professional fonts (check some here)
- Less means — enough of breathing space around the elements of your design, also, it makes the design look more expensive. (Check Apple Ads)
- If you are not trained to design professionally, NEVER use this: gold decorations, free unreadable fancy fonts, and acid-bright gradients (unless you sell golden toilets to Russian oligarchs)
Part 2. To Know or not know the software.
Some people think that the software knowledge miraculously transforms them into designers. Wrong! If you just know Corel Draw or Photoshop you are not a designer yet, you are a person who knows Corel Draw or Photoshop.
The software is a tool. You have to know it without a doubt. But artistic taste, composition, understanding of colour, broad knowledge of typography, drawing skills, and many other artistries are more important then new devices and programmes.
Hint: Think with a pencil in the hand!
Part 3. Photography and design.
If you add a logo to the photo, it’s already a design attempt and it brings more information to the customer than a just photo or a logo itself.
- If your message is more important than the photo, check out the balance between both. Buyer’s attention has to be on the headline, message or call to action.
- If you plan the photo shoot, check out if you leave enough of space for the text in you photographs. Plan it in advance. (Check how to plan photoshoot)
- Click some backgrounds on location to add text over them later. Let them not be too cluttered. You can click interiors, landscape, textures and many other things to use them as backgrounds in the future projects. Try to keep in mind what type of business you advertise; it may give an idea which textures you may need, or what backgrounds will correspond with your concept more.
- Always remember the difference between commercial and editorial photography. While one product on a white base with little text may sell the phone, it won’t show the story behind. If you need a story, the creatives have to tell it.
Social media platforms and print media may be suitable for different type of design and photography. Do your research to find out which pictures will engage your audience better and on which platform to place them.
Part 4. Design as it is.
Many times you may like to use the design without any photography. And when you start to create your brand, it’s great to know how it will work via pure design; how it will work via pure photography; or how it will manifest itself via a combination of design + photography.
- The pure design aesthetic requires a clearer font solutions, careful colour choices and supporting elements such as icons.
- Even if we add an elaborate illustration or infographic to it, the brand message and style still have to be delivered to a consumer.
Part 5. Easy templates.
With easy technology in hands nowadays, more people can create good looking compositions. Use canva.com or fotor.com both of these online designing and editing sites will help the beginners via sets of fantastic templates and predesigned elements. Both sites have some advantages and disadvantages, so try them and choose one which you appreciate more.
- If you want to create decent creatives, follow the template to a T. If you see four letters in the template word — use a four-letter word. If they use some font, do not change it. If they use those colours, it’s probably on purpose.
- Eventually, you will be able to create similar designs on your own. But it will require some time, learning and practice.
- Both sites are amazing platforms to hone your creative skills and give a real push to your Social media.
Design and photography are the versatile elements of visual communication. They can work independently or in combination. The illustrations, icons, fonts and other components have to be used in moderation to crave the ideal brand message for people who are going to buy your product.
P.S. Read more about design and photography in my new book “Good photo = good brand”. Cheers 🙂