Have you ever had to create designs – even though you weren’t a trained graphic designer? As a non-designer, you might look at your designs not as polished and professional as you’d hope for. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
By following these basic 9 rules, anyone (and I really mean, ANYONE) can make Facebook ads, websites, logos, and creative assets that seem as if a trained professional created them.
Allow me to help you bring your brand’s message and its identity into the spotlight.
9 Rules of Thumb in Design for Non-Designers
1. Aligning text
Align all your text to the left, unless you have a good enough reason to align it to the center (ask yourself ‘why?’ rather than ‘does it look good?’).
- It’s more professional
Especially if you have a lot of text.
- It’s more readable
Usually, your text is the most important thing in your design. Don’t make it hard to read. Simplicity is key.
Which newsletter looks more professional?
By following these basic 9 rules, anyone can make Facebook ads, websites, logos, and creative assets that seem as if a trained professional created them.
2. Don’t use goofy or playful fonts
If the font you chose can be used on an ice cream package or on a comic book, you probably picked the wrong font.
- It’s not professional
You’ll never see a bank use a goofy font. Even the ones that have a ‘playful’ brand identity show it with their color palette rather than their font (see PEPPER for example).
- It’s hard to read
Which gift card looks more expensive?
3. When to use colored text
If in doubt – black and white should be your default choice.
- Colorful text can cause eye strain
Some combinations such as blue and red or red and green may tire the eyes.
- Keep in mind the colorblind
Make sure your combination consists of a very light color and a very dark color.
Having green text on a purple background might sound like a great idea, but color blindness makes different colors look very similar, if not the same. Remember! Contrast is your best friend when coloring text.
Which banner is easier to read?
4. The importance of hierarchy
There are three separate sections that create a visual hierarchy of text: The headline, subheading, and body. Having these distinct sections makes the design visually stimulating and easy to navigate, allowing readers to quickly scan for information.
- We are scanning, not reading
- The right hierarchy makes long paragraphs easier to read
Don’t be afraid to use different font sizes, weight, or color.
Which webinar title feels shorter?
5. The power of ‘white space’
White (or ‘empty’) space is simply unmarked space around or between visual elements in a design. Make good use of spacing! A telltale sign of an amateur designer is a shortage (or misuse) of white space.
- Don’t overwhelm the viewer with information
- The emptier space you use, the fancier your design looks
That simple, and yet super effective.
In which story does the product look more luxurious?
6. Avoid runts at all costs!
A runt happens when the last line of a paragraph ends with a single word.
- Avoid leaving one word per line
Use a different font size or extra conjunction to avoid this problem.
Which banner is easier to read & follow?
7. Always use margins
Margins separate the content from the edge of the page, which frame and define the area type of the design. If you’ve ever done any banner design, you’ll appreciate how much a good mount can increase a banner’s impact.
- Small margins = crowded composition
- Big margins = clean design
Which ad looks cropped? And which one looks fine?
8. Alignment is crucial
When you’re aligning design elements, never eyeball and guess. Alignment is a design principle that refers to lining up text or graphics on a page. You probably won’t notice when elements in a design are aligned, but you will almost definitely notice when they aren’t.
- Use guidelines, rulers, or margins
Which ad looks messy? And which one looks professional?
9. Use authentic images
As it turns out, cheesy stock photos can be a huge turnoff because they’re so impersonal. Simply put, most stock photos don’t do a good job on their own and may hurt your brand or message.
- Try alternative stock sites
A good stock site is Unsplash that features photography by hobbyists
- Invest in a photoshoot day!
Which site feels more credible? And which one feels just a little… off?
I hope you’ll use these tips to go out and deliver a memorable design!