Graphic design is a fairly broad discipline of design. It deals with graphics, illustrations, photo manipulation, typography, layout, branding, print design, packaging design, web design, advertising design, motion graphics, and many more.
This can be pretty overwhelming for those who are fairly new to graphic design. There are lots of fields that you can study, and often times when we do study, the resources we find only cover the basics.
You encounter some of the important stuff you need to learn through practicing and then just finding new design secrets along the way. But what if you can learn some of those secrets right away?
In this article, we’ll tell you secrets in creating custom graphic designs that no guidebook will tell you. These are open secrets, if you will, that are not been talked about as much in the graphic design industry.
Hence, this guide is made with beginner graphic designers in mind. Experienced experts in the field might already be familiar with some, if not all, of these concepts.
These “secrets” dig deeper into the graphic design basics and rules that you often come across and break them. As opposed to art where expression is king, design leans towards rational problem-solving which makes it have set rules and principles—in which breaking them gives you creative liberty and the ability to stand out.
Making a custom graphic design doesn’t always mean that you need to make illustrations, vector graphics, or add images in every design work that you do. Turns out, you can use plain text as the main hero of your design as well.
Generally, the text is used as a supplementary element to the main image. They usually just contain information that the main image couldn’t convey, but if you know how, you could actually make your text appealing enough to make it the primary art in your design.
This secret isn’t just about making the headline and body text look beautiful—it’s more than that. Using text (or type) as the hero image means using it as the main “image” in your design by incorporating design principles to it as if it’s an image itself.
Doing this gives a much cleaner and sleeker look that works well with just about every type of design.
One of the main principles of graphic design is making it as clear as possible, so as to make it perfect, and so it could communicate better to any person who sees it. This is the reason why most graphic designs tend to look clean, minimalistic, but also flat and plain.
But we’ll let you in on a graphic design secret: imperfections are beautiful too. Texture adds imperfections to clean designs, but it also makes them look more natural and unique.
There are plenty of ways of adding texture to your designs. One of those is adding grain to your art, like photographs, graphics, illustrations, typography.
Who says that graphic design has to stop on digital mediums? Contrary to popular belief, graphic design can be mixed with craftsmanship to enhance its tangibility.
The craftsmanship gives a final touch to your graphic designs by paying close attention to its details and finding ways to enhance them with additional handiwork.
Applying craftsmanship in your custom graphic designs can be done in numerous ways:
- Specialized printing (risographs, letterpress)
- Scanning illustrations, letterings
- Scanning custom brushes and brushstrokes that digital just can’t replicate
There are thousands of font styles out there and it can be difficult finding the perfect one for your graphic design project. Why not take it another step further by making your own custom font?
In fact, British type designer Erica Masi said that “having a font is the truest visual expression of your mind and craft.” She also believes that the physicality and imperfection of penmanship can also be a manifestation of personality.
Semi 3D designs are actually 2D designs that look 3D. This style can be applied to your graphic designs so they can pop out of the background.
The Semi 3D design can be achieved by adjusting drop shadows, light source, perspective, adding depth, etc.
Check out this article that explains how a 3D logo design is useful for your business.
Did you know that you can still apply graphic design to nothingness?
Negative space is the empty space in a design that highlights the main positive image or forms into another image. Utilizing empty spaces to your advantage can give your designs a “breathing space” and make them look nothing short of magical.
If beauty is subjective, then ugliness should be too. As we strive to make beautiful designs, we should be comfortable with ugliness as well.
This is a step further from making imperfection. Ugly art makes use of irony to come up with designs that are truly unexpected and kinda weird.
Why choose between illustration and photographs when you can use both?
Overlapping illustration over a photograph gives it a distinct style and personality. It gives an additional artistic expression to realistic photographs to make them a notch more interesting.
With the balance of mathematics and nature, the golden ratio, also known as the Fibonacci sequence, the proportion of 1 is to ~1.618 can be found in nature, art, design.
You can use this mathematical proportion when creating layout designs like graphic designs, web designs, and even architectural designs, etc. as a guide to make them naturally, harmoniously, aesthetically pleasing.
Designers have long been using grids as guides when it comes to making symmetrical and proportional graphic designs.
But breaking this design standard or rule results in asymmetrical layouts that are more dynamic and attention-grabbing. This kind of free form approach to design works because its skewness instinctively piques our interests.
Making use of these secrets in creating custom graphic designs will help you, as a designer, stand out from the rest of your competition. Because let’s face it: there are lots of graphic designers out there that more often than not think the same way and do the same things that you do.
Knowing the rules and knowing how to break them will certainly set you apart from your competition. Just like how the saying goes, “learn the rules so you can break them.”
Our graphic designers at Graphics Zoo know all the secrets when it comes to making exceptional graphic designs. To get started, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.