Visual design is one of the most critical components of building a brand presence.
Without time, effort, and investment, the process results in something that has almost no impact. A great and unique design can set your business apart from the competition and help attract more customers.
The most significant impact of design is that it provides a consistent visual identity across all your communication. It allows you to build a credible and reliable online experience for your customers.
To help you understand this better, we spoke with 37 successful design experts and business founders who shared their most valuable design tips to keep in mind when building your brand.
Let's dive in!
1. Rebecca Hoffman, Founder and Principal, Good Egg Concepts
The one piece of advice I always share with people is that everyone knows good design when they see it. Good design should lead to positive tension with the user or viewer instead of an anxious one. Good design is compelling, and it brings people closer together.
2. Thomas Jepsen, Founder, Passion Plans
Craft the right feeling. No matter what you're designing, there's one thing that is always crucial. For a design to be successful, it needs to craft the right feeling in the recipient. If you can make a user feel a certain way, you can make them take action, whether it is signing up for your newsletter or buying your product.
3. Douglas Huegel, Owner, and Graphic Designer, Doug Does Design
If you're starting a logo design from scratch and don't know where to begin, do some research on similar companies in your industry and study their logos. Decide which ones you like most, then save them to use as a reference.
It can be daunting to come up with an entirely original logo, but having a bit of a framework can help. This is something every professional graphic designer does, so don't feel weird about it. That being said, never plagiarize. Only use your references for inspiration.
4. Emilie Dulles, Founder, Dulles Designs
Modern logos should be simple, clean, and easily readable, and they should look good in black and white before making any color decisions. Computer graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and PhotoShop allow for both vector and pixel-based artwork to be produced precisely and in layers to meet advertising, printing, or digital marketing industry specifications.
First, do your homework on logo design and typesetting terms. For example, kerning (which is the space between individual letters) can make a huge difference in how professional your final logo appears and reads. Designers can easily spot amateur mistakes like poor kerning in logotypes.
If you are going to be printing your logo on paper via retail signage or on apparel, design the logo to work well on these mediums. If your logo is going to be predominantly digital, you should definitely opt for more colorful or illustrative logos to take advantage of computer screens and finer pixelated designs.
Take the time to watch software-inclusive tutorials to learn how to do these steps yourself. These days, graphic designers are also computer software experts. They simply know how to use modern tools to design and create almost any kind of artwork.
5. Harman Awal, Beauty and Lifestyle Blogger, Your Girl Knows
White space! While creating any type of graphic, it is important to have white space for the elements and texts to breathe. White space doesn't mean white-colored space. It represents an empty space without text or elements.
It helps relax the eyes and makes the visual easily understandable, which allows for a pleasing sight. And anything that pleases the eyes is a sure win in graphic design. It can be one of the toughest things to conquer, but when learned, it boosts your graphic skills like magic.
6. Esther Babayov, Marketing Director, The Suit Depot
If someone wants to DIY their logo or design a mockup for a graphic designer, a platform like Canva is super helpful. You can play with different fonts, colors, and design templates to get a better feel for what you are looking for. It's beginner-friendly, free, and a great way to get comfortable with different designs to help you zero in on the look you're going for.
I'd also recommend researching some of your favorite logos and analyzing what you like about them (the color, the font, the weight, etc.). Then you can try and replicate those same elements in your own design.
7. David Farmer, CEO, Ad Giants
Leave it to an expert. You’ll be happy you did. Great design is created by great designers. Like any other art form, it’s not something that can easily be learned.
Design also sets and creates trends. When you start the process, make sure you are aware of these trends and whether they work or not. Simple is always better, and clip art always looks like clip art.
Creating a truly professional design is something I recommend you leave to the experts. There’s plenty of resources available to get this done without spending an arm and a leg. But your creative input for the designer is key.
8. Chris Campbell, Co-Founder and CEO, The Charming Bench Company
My advice would be to familiarise yourself with Adobe Illustrator. It's one of the most versatile tools available for making professional-looking 2D and 3D graphics.
There are thousands of tutorials online for how to do basically anything in Illustrator, so there's always something that can help you figure out what to do next if you're stuck.
Being proficient with Illustrator will also help you understand various design tools you might use later on. Illustrator uses and references many of the features that appear with other design software.
It also exports files in every format imaginable, so the graphics and logos you make in Illustrator will be compatible with pretty much every other system out there.
9. Kara Chun, Graphic Designer, ModOp
To anyone who is unfamiliar with this topic, it is crucial not to be overly ambitious about the number of design elements one puts on graphics.
The best designs are comprehensible and not confusing. There should be a strict visual hierarchy in the order of the headline, key image, body copy, and CTA message. Always ask yourself if this particular element is necessary to the message you’re conveying. Every design element should be justifiable, and it should be able to draw the viewer’s eye to the core message of the graphics.
10. Rick Hoskins, Founder, Filter King
As a business founder, I started out by creating my own logo until I could hire a professional graphic designer. My one tip? Keep it simple.
When you have a concept but not graphic design skills, it can be very stressful. You may be dissatisfied with your attempts and forget the reason why you are creating this logo.
If you intend to create a logo for an endeavor that will ultimately be profitable, then I advise you to do a simplified version now and hire a professional when you scale. You can even use it as a reference in a visual story of your company's history and growth.
11. Mike Chappell, Founder, Formspal
Utilize letter spacing to fill up blank spaces, align text, and compress words that take up an excessive amount of space.
However, make sure not to decrease letter spacing to the point that it becomes unreadable or where letters start to disconnect from one another.
12. Richard Mews, CEO, Sell With Richard
Avoid being afraid of the scale. Consider scaling typography, forms, and compositional elements that need proportional attention. Utilize the appropriate colors to improve this strategy while ensuring that the fonts are legible at larger sizes.
13. Paul Oppong, Management Consultant, Paul Oppong
Limit the number of fonts you use. When choosing a typeface or font for headers, subtitles, and body text, go for legible typefaces to maintain a basic and effective visual style. Multiple typefaces are difficult for the eye to scan, so stick to a small range of fonts.
14. Sara Abate Rezvanifar, Founder and Brand Designer, My Personal Brand
When creating graphics for online use, be sure to leave white space around your text. The message needs to shine through, so keep the design clean and simple by ensuring you have breathing room around your text or copy (as we like to call it in the design world). This will allow the words to stand out, giving your design a more professional look.
15. Shiv Gupta, CEO, Incrementors Web Solutions
Think outside of the box. The most productive people consider unconventional ideas. Don’t use regular symbols and patterns you see everywhere to illustrate your topic. Research, sketch, and publish fresh and creative icons to visually reach out to your audience.
Furthermore, recharge your creative batteries by letting yourself have a break. Relaxation promotes energy and capacity. So take a step back, catch a bite to eat, relax in the park, rejuvenate the brain, and restore your vision.
16. Brack Nelson, Marketing Director, Incrementors Web Solutions
Create a mood board of fascinating designs that reveal an identical look and feel to what you would like to include in your design. This introduces elements like fonts, color palettes, imagery or illustration styles, and generally, layout notes that deal with a related design context.
Aim for ample references to give you a variety of motivations to draw upon. If you only choose one, you’re in danger of accidentally designing it too intently. Browser-based platforms like Pinterest are great for starting digital mood boards and getting inspiration for related styles. However, make sure you check out the best model blogs to see what industry heads are up to. This is a good place to start.
17. Max Harland, CEO, Dentaly
As a marketing expert who understands the dynamics of designing, here's my number one design-related tip: Always prioritize using white space.
Most designers need to understand that designing is not about clubbing too many elements and graphics. There needs to be a balance that is soothing to the eyes. White space refers to the empty area with no elements and text. White space is important because this is where your design breathes.
No matter what online tool you use, always design while actively using the white space. If you're not sure how to start, study a bit about minimalistic design. This banks on the notion that ‘less is more’ and it will surely help give you a new dimension to your designing.
18. David Bitton, Co-Founder and CMO, DoorLoop
As a startup founder and marketer, the one piece of design-related advice I can give to graphic design beginners is to keep it simple.
There will always be new tools, trends, and ideas in the world of graphic design, but the best practice is to keep it simple. With most people accessing online graphics through their mobile devices, graphic designers work with such a small canvas that cluttering can happen too easily. I recommend the following graphic design tips for simple, impactful content:
- Utilize eye-catching graphics, icons, and 3D or vector illustrations.
- Use no more than two fonts.
- Limit your use of complementary or contrasting colors with up to three color choices only.
- Use space with a bold element to make it pop.
19. Thomas Hawkins, Website Owner, Electrician Apprentice HQ
Simplicity really is key, and you should embrace it. Whitespace on a home page or any other medium is never a bad thing. Actually, it is a benefit. The graphics should be simple, just make sure that the corresponding text is also concise.
Remember, in this day and age where people will see past bells and whistles, you can absolutely make your website stand out without a lot of fluff. For the most part, efforts in overcrowding your design are basically wasted time.
20. Avner Brodsky, Co-Founder and CEO, Superwatches
As the head of our organization, I work with designers to ensure that our corporate designs contribute to our business goals. Here’s one piece of advice for any novice designer: Keep your typography simple.
Choose sans serif fonts (the ones without the dashes or “tails” at the ends of letters) for their clarity and legibility. Classic sans serif fonts includes Futura, developed in 1926; Helvetica (with its current iteration, Helvetica Now), which was launched in 1957; and newer fonts like Proxima Nova, used by Spotify; and Monaco, which debuted just this year.
Don’t go overboard in your font combinations. Stick to a pair of fonts— one for display or title texts and the other for body text. Title fonts, which highlight your key points or messages, should look heavier than body text fonts.
Pay attention to typography because fonts project the identity you want for your brand. Fonts are also instrumental in evoking emotions among your audience that will help them respond positively to your call to action (CTA).
21. Israel Gaudette, Founder, Link Tracker Pro
Creating professional graphics used to be just for professionals. But not anymore, thanks to the emergence of online tools. Here’s one piece of advice on how to create professional graphics even if you’re not a graphic designer: Keep it simple.
You might already have heard this a million times, but I’m going to mention it again and again, especially for beginners and non-designers. In the world of design, there’s nothing worse than a graphic that is overwhelmingly hard to understand.
Simplicity is the key here. You need to keep things at a minimum, as the number of fonts and text. Colors should be balanced and the visuals must be controlled. For example, if you’re making a design that doesn’t have many elements, let the lively background do the trick. Then reinforce it with bold fonts to make it more attractive.
Graphic designing can be overwhelming for beginners. While there are many things to learn, sticking to the basics always does wonders in this industry. You need to understand that there is no one quick formula in perfecting your graphic design skills. It will take time and continuous practice before you finally learn to fine-tune every design you create.
22. Simon Elkjær, Chief Marketing Officer, avXperten
One thing about designing graphics that people tend to overlook is that colors and font styles have a depth that can either make or break the message you’re going for.
Before designing the actual graphics, it’s best to research what each color represents, what it’s associated with, and how an audience perceives it. It’s also good to choose fonts that go along with the tone of your message and that its size is visible enough for people to understand. Keeping these two things in mind will help you design visually pleasing graphics and deliver your message to the audience.
23. Mike Powell, Owner and Editor, Dog Embassy
The one tip that I would give to someone who doesn’t know much about design is consistency.
Consistency with the color palette, with the fonts, and with the images. Consistency in all these elements is what makes a brand recognizable. Some big brands can easily be associated with certain color combinations, regardless of what the image is. That’s how powerful consistency is.
24. Tim Sutton, Blog Owner, Coffee Geek
Though there are beautiful design samples available in online tools for those who aren’t design-savvy, creativity is limited. Also, the customization may not always turn out well once it steps outside of the mold. Here is my tip to create better online graphics without much experience in design: Stick to one or two fonts.
Many people, including designers, make the mistake of unnecessarily using too many fonts in a design piece, causing it to become disorganized with hard-to-follow jumbles of words and an inconsistent style. So the safe bet here is sticking to only one or two fonts.
- ONE FONT: Play around with the font-weight to make an emphasize where you want it.
- Use Bold for the title and Normal for the subtitle.
The contrast between the 'Italics' and regular text also helps distribute the stress of attention better, making them easier to read than having both types in Italics.
- TWO FONTS: Combine any two fonts out of these three categories— serif, sans serif, and decorative.
- Serif fonts are fonts with ending strokes or feet, expressing a classic and elegant feel.
- Sans serif fonts are blunt with no feet and neutral in expression.
- Decorative fonts are fun and dramatic typefaces and work best as headlines.
25. Carla Diaz, Co-Founder, Broadband Search
Formats are important! Creating graphics in an online space can be a lot more complex than traditional advertising design methods. In addition to considering all the general aspects of the design (i.e. how it fits into your brand personality, what it looks like in the space it’s in, etc), you also need to consider how easy it’ll be for customers to see the design.
One of the key considerations should be the format. When you’re designing anything that goes into an online space, the format plays a big role in whether or not the person sees the design, and if so, how quickly they see it. You need to pick a format that keeps file sizes at a minimum (to keep consistent loading speeds) while maintaining quality. This is known as optimization of an image for websites.
Some good formats to consider are .jpeg for still visuals, .gif for moving graphics, and if you really need to .png (but this will be bigger file size, so try to stick to .jpeg and .gif). The next time you create a great design online, keep in mind what file type to use and how it will work on websites.
26. David Attard, Digital Consultant, and Web Designer, CollectiveRay
I am very impressed by how creative yet subtle parallax scroll animations look and how easily graphic designing tools provide it to a website. When done in the right amounts, they look impressive and make your platform interactive. However, too much of it can create disorientation or dizziness, so be extra careful with it.
It's a fun way to let your users notice the important elements. The best part is that it makes grand gestures and can be used for subtle highlighting.
When using it, make sure it doesn't distract the viewer from what you want to emphasize. Gradually minimize the amount of movement. Designate a specific area, preferably a small part of the screen for the effect, and include the opt-out option for users.
27. Roy Morejon, President and Co-Founder, Enventys Partners
As an entrepreneur who helps other entrepreneurs bring their products to life, here are is a graphic design tip for successful marketing: More does not always mean better.
If you are brand new to graphic design, simple and clean is more effective than showing a bunch of skills off the bat. Much like you wouldn't try a brand new edgy haircut the day before a major event, designing a campaign or logo is all about timing when you want to try something new. Perfect your foundation skills, and then build on top of that.
28. Jason Wong, CEO, Doe Lashes
For those who are getting their feet wet in the design world, sign up for Canva. Canva is a fantastic and free tool for beginners. It is user-friendly and has thousands of templates to choose from for inspiration. I highly recommend it for anyone to use.
29. Nikki Takahashi, Digital Media Designer and Strategist, Fetching Finn Inc.
It's easier to scale down than it is to scale up! Always design for project size and resolution that's larger than what you're currently working on. For example, a web-resolution image for an Instagram post will be too small and low quality for a printed poster. Being able to properly repurpose your graphics later on saves time and creates brand consistency.
30. Michael Knight, Co-Founder and Marketing Head, Incorporation Insight
When it comes to creating graphics for most purposes, less is more. Because there are no distracting elements in the mix, minimalism in design allows you to guide an observer's line of sight to the most important aspect of the graphic.
Most consumers' attention spans have been shrinking over time, making minimalism effective at retaining attention and eliciting responses. Graphic design should now be simple, readable, and functional, with no distracting elements. Minimalist designs work regardless of your level of expertise in graphic design. After all, to be minimalist means being simple and straightforward.
To create successful minimalist graphic designs, you must choose your colors wisely and use simple typography that does not distract from the product. Begin by developing a color scheme and a font to go with it. When you're finished, remove all of the extraneous elements that aren't necessary to keep the focus on the product.
31. Fay Hao, Head of Marketing, OurPCB
First, you should know the purpose of the design. Make a proper plan for what you are going to design. Every time you are designing something, the outer look should be visualized well, and the requirements must always be considered. Select professional fonts and colors to have a unified tone.
Avoid using multiple colors. Every text block, button, and section should be aligned properly. Content should have a hierarchy. Try to maintain simplicity for your website with proper navigations and page links.
32. Lauren Bosworth, Founder and CEO, Love Wellness
Keep your designs simple. When creating visuals for your brand, have a distinct and consistent design that will not distract from the message you are trying to portray. Balancing these two main components of brand design will help you uniformly transfer designs from one platform to another to achieve the insight and audience goals.
33. Joe Parenteau, Co-Founder and CEO, Fable
Maximize your visibility by keeping it simple. Graphic design has limitless possibilities for creating unique and captivating images. By deciding on one brand aesthetic, you are able to create an entire array of designs for all of your media platforms without worrying about the proper spacing or which fonts to use. Creating content with your consumers in mind will maximize their viewing pleasure.
34. Tyler Boyd, Chief Strategy Officer, Squeeze
Create a design plan. When you are beginning to design for a brand or company, having a uniform for your designs is important. Create a design plan with a specific color palette, fonts for headers, subheaders, text, design themes, and templates. This will keep your designs consistent and organized to save you time in the process.
35. Michael Waxman, Co-Founder and CEO, Sundays for Dogs
Keep your designs simple. There are so many design options out there, but breaking these trends down to a very simple graphic ensures that you have plenty of room for your message. Minimizing your designs will allow you to maximize your design space and properly articulate your message.
36. Felix Maberly, Manager, Tiger Supplies
- Keep it simple: One key design tip for beginner designers is simplicity. Graphics should be easy to understand. Use the minimum amount of text and fonts. Keep the colors under control and the visuals balanced.
- Maintain visual hierarchy: Visual hierarchy is the ability to give visual importance to some elements over others. For example, headers should be larger than subheadings, and these, in turn, are larger than a box of text. When you use visual hierarchy rules, you bring attention to a key point in the design. This creates a visual balance that then starts a visual flow of information for the viewer.
- Ensure readability: Make your text easy to read. This applies to how you overlay text on backgrounds, the colors and fonts you use for headings, and how elements relate to the text and flow of the design. Choose the best typeface for your project, which matches your message and is also easy to read. It should be easy to read over a background image or texture.
- Limit your typefaces: When selecting a typeface or font for headings, subtitles, and body text, use easy-to-read fonts for simple and effective graphic design. The eye finds it hard to scan multiple typefaces.
- Originality: Summon all your creative abilities and graphic design skills to achieve original graphics. Be inventive and experimental. Choose and combine varied typefaces and filters. Do not use trends. Create designs that reflect your unique style, leaving a personal stamp on your work.
37. Divya Gugnani, Co-Founder and CEO, Wander Beauty
Keep your designs uniform. When you are beginning your design process, ensure the tools and software you are using can properly keep up with your brand’s optimal presence. Having a consistent design and color palette ensures that your brand is recognizable.
Suffice to say, this list of design advice is incredibly interesting. Evidently, one of the most important principles when it comes to design is simplicity. With a simple, straightforward, and consistent design, you boost your credibility and efficiency as a brand. We hope this gives you all the inspiration you need to start your journey!