Whether you’re creating a simple design or something a little more ‘out there’, these basic design steps could help you to overcome the blocks of your creative process and improve your design skills in no time.
1) Limit your typefaces (and font sizes) – When creating a simple, clean and effective design, it’s important to use fonts that are legible to read. Depending on the document being created (some require less than others), try and stick to around 3 font sizes and weights, and a maximum of 2 typefaces at one time to ensure there is consistency throughout.
2) ‘Paste in place’ – This is such an easy step on InDesign, but it’s surprising how many people haven’t heard of it. If you are creating a document with various pages and want certain elements to be in exactly the same place on each (for example, a range of social images with the same logo and same size content box), select the ‘paste in place’ option rather than the standard ‘copy and paste’ function to ensure that everything is consistent.
3) White space – Let your elements breathe by creating a good amount of white space around them. This makes a design easier to read and much more attractive to the eye, rather than a cluttered, busy space.
4) Think outside the box – The best designs are the ones that stand out from the rest, which is why it’s so important to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to create something different. Avoid trends and generic elements and create designs that are more personal to your own unique style of work.
5) Trial and error – When creating a document, playing around with elements on a page to see which layouts work the best to create something visually appealing can be helpful. Not only is this a way of making concepts and creating different options as you work, but it allows you to see exactly what looks best after a few attempts. Don’t worry if you had an idea in your head that doesn’t look how you imagined originally, it’s all about trial and error to see what makes that perfect design at the end of it.
6) Choose colours that complement one another – Be clever with your colours and make sure you choose ones that actually work together. Using different tones and opacities of the same shade can be useful in this case, but also make sure colours work on top of each other. For example, a lighter colour on top of a dark background makes text more legible and creates a stronger distinction to the eye. It’s also important to take into account that certain colours can be difficult for people to absorb and can cause a strain on the eyes. A prime example of this, is pure black text on a white background. Try using a lighter percentage of black, (or a dark grey) instead.
7) Use clean and clear images when text is being placed on top – There’s nothing worse than seeing an image with a busy background, holding important text on top that is impossible to read. Using clean, crisp and airy images can help get the message across in a simple, yet effective way.
8) Give your eyes a break every now and then – Focussing on the same document for hours on end can cause disruptions to your creative flow, which is why I would always recommend having a break and coming back to it with a fresh set of eyes if the opportunity is there. This can usually boost inspiration and generate new ideas, creating a much better design.
9) Request the right materials before you begin – Have all the details needed before starting any design. Whether it’s materials and objects such as brand guidelines, company logos and image libraries, or facts and information on the project, having everything provided will save time when your head is in the design process.
Design is forever evolving and creating a document that is unique can be harder than you think. Sometimes we need to work with people that have been doing it successfully for years. As with most things, there are a lot more complexities and steps that can be learnt along the way through experience of using the Adobe suite.
If you have a document that you think needs a sprinkle of ResourceiT creativity, send it over and we will take a look for you!