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The Don’ts of Graphic Design - 6 Basic Principles to Get You Started on Your Design

1. Don’t Use Too Many Fonts

Choosing fonts can be fun! But incorporating too many fonts in your design can distract the view and make your message hard to read. The rule of thumb? Don’t use more than three fonts. We suggest using just two fonts that are different enough to emphasize main points in your message. If you would like to see examples of fonts that pair well together, check out this article.

2. Don’t Rely on “Trendy” Layouts

Asymmetrical layouts are in. However, when viewers come across such designs, they aren’t sure what to look at first. Content tends to get lost when your layout is too funky. It is best to stick to the basics: symmetry, repetition, and balance.  

3. Don’t Use Bold Typography

Bold fonts are difficult to interpret. Use bold fonts only on a few words in order to emphasize key points. When choosing fonts, refer to the three font rule discussed in Tip #1 above. Make sure each font is clear, contrasting, and has a purpose.

4. Don’t Overuse Bright Colors

Although pops of color can be good for catching attention, bright colors are tough to match and can be uncomfortable on the eyes. Like bold fonts, only use bright colors to emphasize key points or add contrast.

In addition, think about what the colors you use suggest to the audience. Psychologists have discovered that colors have a profound influence on perception. Red implies passion and drama, and creates a sense of urgency for the consumer. Blue implies peace and tranquility, and creates a sense of security. Orange and yellow imply optimism and are good to attract window shoppers.

If you would like to understand more about the psychology of color, check out this article from Small Business Trends.

5. Don’t Use Google Images

Google has everything, but there are two major downsides to using pictures from Google Images. First, the photos found on Google might not be of appropriate quality. If you choose an image that is too small and expand it on your visual, the image will become blurry and pixelated.

Second, you don’t own the rights to the photos found on Google. This can have major legal implications and lead to lawsuits involving rights to privacy, rights to publicity, copyrights, and trademarks. When using photos in your visual, consult your graphic designer to understand the required dimensions and quality standards and hire a professional photographer under a made for hire contract in order to have full rights to all images.

6. Don’t Overdo It

All in all, viewers prefer visuals that are easy to look at and easy to interpret. When planning a design, consult your company style guide, other online examples, or a graphic designer to draw inspiration. One final tip to help you keep your designs simple: remember, white space is not wasted space.


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