Creating graphics with a tablet and stylus

Graphic design – get graphics done

by Valens Quinn

What does the logo say about your business?  Does your website design and images make your business look attractive to the readers?  Are you sweating on a big presentation but the text-based version just does not cut it?  Chances are unless you are artistic yourself you are going to need some help. This guide will look at some graphic design options to help you improve your image and get graphics done.

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem solving using typography, photography, iconography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages.
They use typography, visual arts, and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common applications of graphic design include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging, and signage.
(Source Wikipedia)

WHY is graphic design important?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you were going to the most important face to face meeting of your life would you wear a dirty shirt, ¾ pants, and sandals? No, because you would not be creating the best impression.  Similarly, you want your business to create the best impression and no matter if it is your logo, website, business card, brochure, Facebook post, presentation, or the sign on the side of your workplace.

Not only do we want your business image to be impressive we also want it to be memorable.

The use of graphic design can help with this. If we use the example of a logo it helps customers to identify your company. A good design will be simple and memorable.

WHAT do I need to understand about graphic design?

Graphic design has gone through an evolution over the last few decades starting from being done by hand with paper, pencils, crayons, and paint. Then came the introduction of computers and specialist software for those same artists to work with in this new technological medium. Today cloud-based tools are made available at a low cost that allows anyone to be a designer, supported by lots of helpful templates.

A template is a predesigned image that you have the right to use and manipulate to suit your needs.  Templates are available for many needs today but for reference think of a template for a social media post or advertising flyer.

A really important concept to understand is usage rights of templates and photos.  There are many free templates and photos you can use but some are licensed.  This means you cannot simply copy them, rather you must either seek permission or in most cases pay to use them, possibly for a set period in a set geographic location.  The more famous/better the photo the more expensive.

If you wanted to design a logo, for example, these are possible steps you might follow:

  1. Think about why you need a logo
  2. Define your brand identity
  3. Find inspiration for your design
  4. Look at and compare what the competition is doing
  5. Choose your design style
  6. Find the right type of logo
  7. Pay attention to colour
  8. Pick the right typography (arrangement of the image)

HOW can I get graphic design help?

What help you need will depend on what your own capabilities are and what you need to do.  For example, if you want a company logo designed you are probably going to need help but if you want to improve your presentation slides there are simple tools that can make a world of difference for the novice. Your options for graphic design include:

  1. Outsource – On the internet, there are many services to get quotes for and find graphic designers. 
  2. Add on services – If you need to get business cards printed you will often find the printer or retailer will have a design service available as an additional service. This can be a cost-effective method.
  3. Graphic design business – Seek out a graphic design agency or freelancer directly
  4. DIY graphic design  – Will the help of templates and simple to use tools the average person can now produce amazing results. A great Australian cloud-based company offering this solution globally is “Canva”.
  5. Stock photos – If you require photos for your marketing needs many internet-based repositories are offering a free, subscription, or peruse option. For example, Shutterstock offers a free trial.
  6. Templates in your apps – Applications like those discussed in the Office Applications guide such as PowerPoint or Slides offer various free templates to use in your presentations.

HINTS

Before choosing a designer make sure you see a portfolio of their work.

It is better to get a fixed cost for design work rather than pay by the hour as the hours can easily blow out.

Remember everyone’s tastes are different so get a few people’s opinions before you decide on a design.

SUMMARY – improve your image

Good graphics representing your business will make a good impression and help you build your brand identity.  Graphic design will help your image and can be done yourself using templates and tools right through to having the assistance of an expert.

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