Understanding graphic design basics could make the difference between success and failure as an online entrepreneur.
Using visuals that get the attention of your audience is super important. It doesn’t have to be hard. One option is to use pre-designed templates, which is fast and easy.
However, take a few minutes to understand the basic elements of design. Get the skills to create stunning images and then you’ll be able to easily create visual content for your marketing, blog and website.
Take a look at these six simple elements of graphic design. Each one has an example. And, you’ll learn how to use these basic design features in the Web Graphics Creator (start your free trial).
Space will make or break your design… really! “White space” (also called “negative space”) refers to all of the areas in your design only filled with the background. Keeping space around the elements of your design gives it a clean and open feeling, rather than a busy one.
You’ll notice whether a design is visually pleasing to the eye, even though you’re not a graphic designer. It’s super important to pay attention to this because it determines how your visual content is perceived by your blog readers and customers.
Take a look at the examples below. Which graphic catches your eye? Which graphic do you want your potential customer to see?
What’s wrong with the design below? There are too many things going on. It’s colorful, yes, but very cluttered. Many people try to use too many design elements at once. Instead, keep it simple.
Now check out the design below. It looks clean and professional. And it follows the graphic design basics we’re talking about in this article.
Nice, clean design with ample space between elements
Color is extremely powerful in the life all around you… and it’s no different when it’s applied to graphic design basics. Color brings out emotions, which have a big impact on how your customers will be influenced – red is passionate, blue is calm, green is natural.
Mastering the colors in your marketing design could make the difference between an okay design and an amazing one. As your designs advance, you might even want to understand color concepts such as hue, tone and saturation. However, for now, just focus on how a color might influence your audiences’ emotions.
Choosing the right color for your marketing graphics could make the difference between getting a sale or having a potential customer leave your site empty-handed. Just look at the images below… all of them make a unique visual impact.
“Value” represents how dark or light a design is. It sets the mood of the design. When considering the audience who’ll be viewing your design, you’ll want to determine whether a lighter or darker design is best. You can include the same basic elements in a design (your logo, objects, text) yet create a very different feeling based on the light or dark colors you use.
Check out the red and blue examples above. The blue design has a much brighter and relaxed mood.
First, notice how lines can play a role in design. They’re most often used to separate different sections of a design and to give the viewer a focal point.
Lines can be long, short, thick, thin, straight, curved, dashed, textured, or any color. They create different visual effects and, therefore, give a unique visual impact, depending on how they’re used.
For example, a thin, blue line can elicit a feeling of calm and unity. However, a thick, black line, will draw attention in a powerful way.
Color and Value (from above) play a significant role here. Whereas darker lines may be easier to see and grab more attention, lighter lines may bring a more minimalistic or subtle feel to the design.
Every design uses at least one “shape”. The shape, or “form” of a design helps it to stand out. You can use squares, rectangles, circles, triangles or any abstract shape.
Shapes can be used somewhat like lines. They’re both associated with different movements and flow. Therefore, shapes are a graphic design basic that improves an image’s uniqueness. So, while squares are often seen as very structured, circles are associated with movement and continuation. Using these elements, therefore, can actually change a viewer’s perception.
And, as an online entrepreneur, you need to present your product or service in a way that holds your audience’s attention. Therefore, using the shape in your design that makes the statement you want is important to your business.
Take a look at the computer monitor image above. It’s clearly a rectangle. The arrow image below is clearly a softer shape with rounded corners. It gives the feeling you could easily “enter” into something helpful.
Textures are wonderful, easy ways of making a graphic unique! You can use a textured background in place of a single-colored background to give the design a totally different visual impact. It can also be used within the text for an unusual look and feel.
A texture can be subtle, where a viewer would have to look closely to see that there’s a pattern. Or, they can be blatantly obvious, having a more powerful visual impact.
There are many styles of textures. These include wood, brick, concrete, paper, stone, fabric or natural elements, such as grass, bark or water. If used sparingly, they’ll be subtle. But if used liberally, the texture can be quite pronounced.
Since you’re not a designer, you may not realize the impact that using textures can have on your designs. So, spend some time playing around with textures using the same objects or elements to see the amazing differences.
Here are a few other ideas that’ll help you bring order to your design.
Since you’re an online entrepreneur, it’s understandable that going beyond graphic design basics is not something you want to spend time on. However, you also wouldn’t wear one shoe that’s higher than the other, right? So, these last few features are just as important and won’t take up a lot of space in your overcrowded mind.
To balance your design, you’ll need to distribute the elements evenly in order for it to look like a professional has created your design.
“Balance” can be symmetrical (where elements are spaced evenly on both sides of the design) or asymmetrical (in which elements are contrasting in order to give it an even flow… dark elements balanced by light ones).
Alignment and proximity will ensure that you’re placing your elements in an ordered fashion. You’ll want them to look good together because they’re grouped based on relationship. This will keep it from looking cluttered.
One way of doing this is to group related elements together. Another way is to connect elements by color, font, or size.
Alrighty, are your creative juices flowing?
It’s time to put what you’ve learned into action.
You can use all of the graphic design basics you’ve just learned in the easy-to-use Web Graphics Creator (use the wonderful pre-designed templates or get have even more fun creating your own designs).
Start your trial now.
Hey there! Along with my partner (& husband) Marc, I help small, online businesses & entrepreneurs whip out graphics fast... for social media, marketing, website & blogs. With our online tool, the Web Graphics Creator, a big expense account & graphic design experience are simply not needed :)
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