70+ Graphic Design Tips

70+ Graphic Design Tips

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Graphic Design Tips

Below are some graphic design tips that were submitted by JCD readers earlier this week as part of our 5000+ subscribers celebration.

Submit Your Own Graphic Design Tip & Win $50

If you leave a design related tip on this post (or already did on the other post) you could win $50 to spend on any design related paraphernalia at Creatives Outfitter courtesy of the kind Jon Phillips of Spryre Studios.

You could also win a 30 minute design consultation via Skype or Email with David Airey, the much respected designer and blogger from Edinburgh, Scotland.

All you have to do is submit your own design (or business or freelance) related tip! Be creative as you like however remember that the prize will be given to the person with the best tip as chosen by Jon and myself!

Winners Announced

$50 for Creative’s Outfitter Prize Winner:

The winner of the $50 (picked by Jon) to spend at Creative’s Outfitter is Toon who gave us this tip below.

“Remember YOU are the designer, no matter how many ideas the client may have make sure you’re controlling the direction of the project, after all you are the professional, if they could do it themselves they wouldn’t be paying you.
Sometimes being forceful with a client can save you time and money in the long run.”

Update: Toon kindly asked to pass the prize on so the next winner me and Jon agreed on was Bruce Colthart who gave us the tip below. Congratulations.

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“Learn all you can about business marketing in particular so that your design work is as relevant as possible to your client, who in most cases, wants your help attracting prospects and growing their business. Become more than an art monkey; become a valued consultant, an unofficial ‘partner’ in the success of your client’s business. Don’t think in terms of “I like this because:” Rather, think “this will work best for you because:”

Design Consultation with David Airey Winner:

The winner of the design consultation is Kerry Jessep who gave us the tip below. What I liked about this tip was how Kerry mentioned “Exert all of your communication skills to ascertain what your client needs.” – something all designers must do.

“Clearly state how many revisions you will do on a design and exert all of your communication skills to ascertain what your client needs. If you have a difficult to please client, offer them an hourly rate, so they can revise as much as they like and you will both end up happy.”

Design Tips from JCD Readers

Ever get a unusable logo from a client or need a particular logo that hasn’t been provided? Go to the company’s website and see if you can find a PDF with their logo:a brochure, their annual report, something. Download the PDF, open the PDF in Illustrator and then, if you are lucky, you will find the vector version of their logo inside.

from Meroko

If you provide a potential client with an estimate of say $1000, and they respond with “Well, can we make it $600. Deal?”; Respond confidently, and say “We do not discount our work and quality so we do not discount our prices.”

from Brian Yerkes

Never show a client a concept that you don’t love and believe in:it will be the one they pick.

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from Kai Chan Vong

Always assume your client will say “What about this:” When you’re done with your project try to pick apart your work and prepare answers for the most likely “what about this” situations.

from David Klien

Design for the ‘little’ clients, like they were the ‘big’ clients.

from Alex Charchar

Let the world know that you mean business. Take a stand and don’t accept anything less.

from Doug Cloud

Lights

Create quality work, get quality work in return. You reap what you sow, basically. If you are always producing crummy work because you think you just have to get by until you make it big, you’ll only ever get low-quality work to do in return. You attract the quality you put out there, so always do your best.

from Lauren Marie

For all your designs use space for enough air, balance & readability. Think before you use a typeface, ask yourself what is the purpose of the design I’m making right now? Then select the right typeface and take a close look at kerning and alignment within your design.

from Sander

Never use the font Comic Sans MS.

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from Edwin

More often than not, simple is best.

from Kristarella

Nothing is ever a “final” draft in this industry. And the problem with this as a designer is you need to be able to find that “final” draft and stick to it. Accomplish your goals, and stick to your guns.

from Dan Raftis

Even when you are a solopreneur, you are the leader of your tiny company. Make sure you, your website, and your printed materials look and behave accordingly, and someday you’ll lead a company as large as you hope for. You’re not “just” a freelancer. Be a leader.

from Kelly

1. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

2. Listen and thus learn.

3. Be honest.

from DreamSpeaker

Stay up to date. Be current in your approaches to design and always try to improve upon yourself. Look at things you see and admire, and strive your hardest, not just to achieve the same, but to surpass it.

from Zach LeBar

71 thoughts on “70+ Graphic Design Tips”

  1. Always pay attention to these four things:
    1. Type – your font must be the perfect size
    2. Lines – strokes/thickness to invoke message
    3. Texture – appropriate ones
    4. Shape – not too overpowering

    All these four things must come together in perfect harmony and not overpower each other. If you want to deviate, do so only to prove a point about your design and your client’s message or product. not haphazardly experimental.

  2. Work with your client, not against them. You have to build trust in order to be given the creative freedom you want.

  3. Think back to the people who gave you the inspiration to get started. All the people who gave their time and effort in order for you to succeed. Always give back to the people that helped you get where you are and never stop giving. It will advance you faster and in ways you would never imagine.

  4. I’m not a designer, but love your site and offer this distinction. When going for a extraordinary result (like 5000+ subscribers!) remember that there are 5 phases of breakthrough and you work differently in each phase. (1) Formulation – bring creativity, openness, create multiple options (2) Concentration – pick one option, focus action with lots of intention, put 10 in get out 1, don’t lower vision! (3) Momentum – things start working 3 – 5 in and 5 – 8 out, don’t let up (4) Breakthrough – give that last effort to get result over the line, then celebrate, offer contest! (5) Sustainablity – ask: what did I learn, how can I replicate it? and do it.

  5. Clearly state how many revisions you will do on a design and exert all of your communication skills to ascertain what your client needs. If you have a difficult to please client, offer them an hourly rate, so they can revise as much as they like and you will both end up happy.

  6. Respect those that take the time to give you advice, even if you disagree, advice is one thing that you can never get enough of.

    liams last blog post..32 Examples of Websites with a Brave colour Scheme

  7. While we all heard of the saying “The client/customer is always right” But as the service provider we know this is sometimes never the case. It’s our job to make them feel like they are correct.

    A lovely piece of advice that my boss told me in terms of customer service.

  8. Remember YOU are the designer, no matter how many ideas the client may have make sure you’re controlling the direction of the project, after all you are the professional, if they could do it themselves they wouldn’t be paying you.

    Sometimes being forceful with a client can save you time and money in the long run.

    [email protected] Forums last blog post..Givesto Wine Bar – Logo Design

  9. Time and management is a key factor while surviving in the world, without good time your project will fail, without the right management your project will fail. Always keep your work load to a mininum for what you can handle under pressure and plan your way through to success.

  10. Take time to practise outside of work projects. A chef doesn’t try new things on unsuspecting diners and athletes don’t show up to competition to ‘see how it goes’.

    It takes practise to develop any skill and doing it on the side allows for the freedom to push the boundaries and embrace failure. Now you can take what you’ve learnt and apply it to your next client project with confidence and experience. Relax, you’re a professional!

  11. If the customer gives you a small sized logo that is only one color and expects it to be used on large format print, and doesn’t have a vector file of it. Here is the quickest tip I know on recreating it. Magic wand the logo in Photoshop and then switch to your paths palette and select “Make New Work Path”. After you have a path you are then able to fine tune it, saving you much more time than just recreating it from scratch. Once you’re done go to Edit-> Define Custom Shape and that will put their logo in your shape palette so you are able to open it up in the future on other projects. And, if they need a vector file, just export your paths to Illustrator and save.

  12. Never work without a signed estimated cost document by your client, followed by an account. (Sorry, it’s hard to explain that in English huhu)

  13. There are three *NEW* things that you can do to be a good designer – have, read and write a good blog.

    Rafies last blog post..2008 Design Survey

  14. Learn all you can about business marketing in particular so that your design work is as relevant as possible to your client, who in most cases, wants your help attracting prospects and growing their business. Become more than an art monkey; become a valued consultant, an unofficial ‘partner’ in the success of your client’s business. Don’t think in terms of “I like this because…” Rather, think “this will work best for you because…”

    Bruce Coltharts last blog post..Visual brand vigilance

  15. In many times you can get future projects out a client by educating them to the fact that their brand is only as strong as its weakest piece. (and maybe you won’t end up seeing your logo on a brochure made in Word and printed on orange paper)

  16. Design in black and white first. Save color refinement for the end of a project. This focuses your attention on more important things like layout and great typography instead of prematurely worrying about which specific shade of blue or yellow goes in a particular spot.

    Chris Papadopouloss last blog post..Spice up your Rails app with regular expressions

  17. Take time to ask the client as many questions as needed to create the best sketch possible right from start.

    Asking clients the right questions to get all the information required to complete the task is an art and science. The sooner and better you perfect that the easier it will be to come up with the work that the client will be happy with.

  18. In each project, think about the target. Forget other profiles. The look and feel is a slave to the target.

    Some clients dont want to miss oportunities making messages that some targets wont understand.

    They dont want to miss a single bullet. So, convince them that they will miss bullets if they dont point all shots to where most interesting public concentrates.

  19. I have two.

    1. Your clients never really know what they want, only what they don’t want.

    2. You are designing for your client, not for yourself. You need to have some self control – not every peice of work can be the most brilliant, amazing, original, complex of all time if that is not going to work for the client’s style. Don’t be afraid to lower the advancement of your work to make it work for your client.

  20. I prefer to make a $10 website for adidas rather a $10000 site for a grocery shop. There isnt bad publicity.

    valerio vazs last blog post..del.icio.us com novo site

  21. Be selective of the elements you use in your designs. Designs are like puzzles. Each puzzle has its own pieces that need to be placed in precisely the right spot. You can’t jam a bunch of random pieces together and expect a finished product.

  22. Learn to love type. A good design is always the result of a good typographic selection. Understand the mood of the project so you can achieve this.

  23. Some clients do not know what they want, so, they would ask for more than one study. Still not satisfied, and they would ask for more and more. In the end, after presenting, say 10 design studies or more, they would leave you. So what I do, I charge for every study requested and submitted. My first study usually comes the best. So I tell the client, “If you like the first design, take it. You’ll save a lot of money.” In my end, it saves me time. It favors me because I can accommodate the next client; rather than dwelling on a number of design studies for one client alone.

  24. I wrote a post with some graphic design tips. It’s not about the business or process, it’s about the actual design work and how to create clean design.

    Adrian | Rubiqubes last blog post..A Freelance Designer’s Daily Schedule

  25. I have two:

    Proof & Preflight
    Check, double check then walk away for a tick & when you come back, Check Again.

    And always ad 24 hours onto any expected turn around times, if things run over (and lets face it they often do) you have the extra time up your sleeve, and if things don’t run over then the client thinks you are wonderful for being so prompt.

    Both have saved my arse many times.

  26. My first will be…
    In the first interview with the client, JUST LISTEN, NEVER give solutions, just ask questions and learn what he need!!

    My Second…
    Never listen to your EGO.

    My Third…
    A little feedback is always welcome

    and Final…
    Always return to the basics, why you use that color, why that shape, “Rules were made to be broken” (True… but first you have to dominate that rules)

  27. Request the information a needed to make a serious professional job to any client. If they dont know how to right it down, lets ask them what we must know.

    pelayos last blog post..madera

  28. The client is not allways right. The creative isnt allways right neither. Nobody is allways right.

    The advice: Try to be right. 😀 Allways study.

    pelayos last blog post..madera

  29. before the computer use your head, read, see, taste, and now use pencil and paper.

    the computer is a tool, no the final solution.

    your brain is the beginning of the succes design

    IhateDesigns last blog post..Editorial / Ocupado

  30. I believe that developers often take “control the flow of the project” too seriously. You are the developer, and you certainly know your craft, but you have to remember that you’re a part of a bigger plan for a small business – you’re a vehicle through which they’re furthering their brand.

    So, while you may know your color schemes, your layout design, and your typography, in the end respect the client’s decisions.. and don’t change the tone of the relationship because your ego is bruised (that’s bad business.)

    The fact of the matter is that in the end, the client is left with the understanding that THEIR decisions caused a failure… thus leaving them to come BACK to you – thus having to pay you again – to try out an idea that you believed in.

    Erikas last blog post..Miami Web Design

  31. BE Organize, the most important thing for a designer must be meeting the delivery dates(death lines) so, organize your pictures, your logos, your sources, your color palette, brushes and everything you normally use to make your designs and you will Save time when designing. And saving time is always saving money.

  32. Translate emotions to ideas, ideas to words, words to images. Then, when the client says “mhhh… don’t like it”, start all over again.

  33. I have two;

    (i) Using two fonts or less can help transform design work from amateur to professional. Use variations such as bold, condensed, italic and so on. Keeps your design looking consistent.

    (ii) Get 25% up front!

  34. Pingback: » Blog Archive » TIPS de diseño gráfico.
  35. Learn that everyone likes to create, even if they’re not good at it. Therefore, give your customers always two or more solutions to the same issue:
    It will make your customers choose, making them involved and a part of the project.

  36. “Ever get a unusable logo from a client or need a particular logo that hasn’t been provided? Go to the company’s website and see if you can find a PDF with their logo:a brochure, their annual report, something. Download the PDF, open the PDF in Illustrator and then, if you are lucky, you will find the vector version of their logo inside.”

    This literally just came in handy when I had to go back and edit a logo a designer gave us. Great tip, never would have thought it would work.

  37. Never present anything you wouldn’t be proud to have in your portfolio.

    Be honest. Remember that design has the power to change.

    Stay humble.

  38. Pingback: Graphic Design Tips (Submit Your Own & Win $50) | WhiteSandsDigital.com
  39. Communication is key. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the client wants. Once you do that, give the client what he or she wants, but make it better!

  40. BE Organize, the most important thing for a designer must be meeting the delivery dates(death lines) so, organize your pictures, your logos, your sources, your color palette, brushes and everything you normally use to make your designs and you will Save time when designing. And saving time is always saving money.

  41. Never think that you have completely mastered the art of graphic design. It is one of the fields in which you have to learn new things everyday or you won’t be able to keep up with the times.You have to be a keen learner and have a thirst for more knowledge with every passing day.
    keep doing new online tutorials. You will learn a lot of new things. Do look around for inspiration, it definitely helps in the warm-up stage, BUT please do not COPY someone else’s ideas. You wouldn’t like it if someone copies your idea,then why copy others’.

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