Design Help for the Artistically Challenged by @lieshapetrovich

Graphic courtesy of Canva

by Liesha Petrovich | Featured Contributor 

I have no artistic skills. Both my mother and daughter are artists but the creative gene skipped me entirely.

Yet, as a small business owner, I’m constantly creating social media content, blog post media, and advertisements. We don’t have the budget to hire a graphic design team so I’ve had to learn the basics. I’ve made some really horrible graphics but learned a lot along the way. Now, even though I can’t draw a stick figure, I can create effective graphics for my business.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be an artist to understand these basic design principles:

1. Follow The Rule of Thirds

Images are the lifeline of marketing. Whether you have in your own website or share an image across social media in order to generate maximum engagement, images can play a critical role in the overall branding of your business. Hence, it is necessary to apply the rule of thirds in your images and layouts.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

The Rule of Thirds divides every frame into nine boxes with two equally spaced horizontal and two equally spaced vertical guiding lines. The grid is like a map and the four main spots are the prime focal points in your design. Bring the primary element in the graphic closer to one of these spots because it’s what your audience will focus on first.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

2. Use Colors Strategically

Colors have a direct psychological impact on the purchasing behavior of your prospects. You can use colors strategically so that they are able to evoke a wide variety of emotions.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

One of the most important elements of your business is your brand logo. But as a business owner with no artistic skills and a tiny marketing budget, it’s challenging to create a professional logo on my own. Designhill Logo Maker is an excellent tool that lets you create unique and impressive designs with your preferred choice of colors. This logo designer is powered by artificial intelligence and helps you to generate beautiful and colorful logos within seconds.

When creating logos and other marketing material, always consider your goals and choose colors that fit your brand. For example, green is associated with peace, growth, and health. Yellow evokes optimism, clarity, and warmth.

Graphic courtesy of Design Hill

3. Understand Visual Hierarchy

Our brain is hardwired to focus on certain things. That’s why visual hierarchy is one of the most important design principles because it highlights the order the human eye perceives what it sees.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

The below image provides a clear idea of the visual hierarchy in the order of importance. The most important element of the webpage image so it is most prominent because this is what you want to pop out to your target market. Next is the heading and the subheading which are displayed at decreasing sizes based on the order of their importance.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

4. Using Negative Space

The concept of negative space can be complex to apply to our graphics. Negative space is the empty white space that you have in your design and allows the prospects to focus on the main image without any distractions.

The principle of negative space is based on the Yin and Yang theory which states that opposite forces complement each other. Think of day and night, fire and water, expansion and contraction, all these are natural occurrences that prove the existence of Yin and Yang theory. The Chinese Tai Chi symbol beautifully illustrates this belief that negative space actually compliments the positive.

5. Apply the Von Restorff Effect

According to  Wikipedia, “The Von Restorff effect, also known as the “isolation effect”, predicts that when multiple homogeneous stimuli are presented, the stimulus that differs from the rest is more likely to be remembered”.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

The Von Restorff effect draws your audience’s eyes to one spot. What jumps out at you in the image below? It’s obviously the red tomato because it stands out from the crowd. Try using the Von Restorff effect in your marketing materials to lead people to your call to action or brand message.

6. Use the “F-Pattern” For Text Heavy Elements and “Z-Pattern” For Image Heavy Elements

There are two predominant reading patterns namely the F-Pattern and the Z-Pattern. If you can use these patterns intelligently in your design then you can make it easier for the reader to scan your content.

The “F-Pattern” is based on the principle that most of the users won’t read every word of your text. The first two paragraphs should contain the most important information and the CTA followed by subheadings, and bullet points.

The “Z-Pattern” is based on the principle that users will follow a left to right reading pattern. The eyes will focus on the top and when the end is reached, the attention will shift down and left.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

Try following the F-layout or the Z-layout based on the type of element you are using. The idea is to understand how consumers perceive your graphics which can give you a path to your CTA in the hopes to make more conversions.

Design Help for the Hopeless

I’ll never be an artist and that’s okay.

Even though creating graphics is part of my job, I don’t need to be an artist. However, I do need to understand the basics of designs so I can create engaging content. The basic principles of design are not hard to apply and there are plenty of tools to help us get the job done.

So do yourself and your marketing budget a favor and try creating your next graphic. I guarantee if I can do it, you can do it.



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