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TNB131205 — Design Tips for Beginners

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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Design Tips for Beginners

When you’re just learning to design things, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I guarantee, though, that if you use these tips, your work will immediately look better, even if it still doesn’t match what’s in your head.

Remember the rule of thirds. Imagine that your piece has a “tic-tac-toe” board superimposed on it. Now put the most important things at the top third line and at the junction of the left third or right third if you want to really add visual interest. But things of secondary importance on the bottom third.

Simplicity and white space. Don’t crowd your work. Let it “breathe.” This isn’t a competition to see how many pixels get used or how much ink you can take up. If it doesn’t need to be there, remove it. Simple almost always works better than complex.

Use the right kind and number of fonts. Some fonts are “body fonts,” best used for larger blocks of text — like Arial (and other sanserif fonts) and Times (and other serif fonts). Some are “title fonts” that should be used for just a few words at a time. Grunge, caligraphic, script, and other specialty fonts fall into this category.

Avoid the tempation to use more than 3 fonts in anything without really, really, really good reasons. You want to avoid the “ransom note” look unless you’re creating a ransom note (and then please turn yourself into the police now).

Design for the medium. If you’re designing for an embroidered polo shirt, that should be different than designing for a screen or a billboard. Keep the limitations of each in mind.

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