Not being a designer is not a disadvantage. What becomes a real disadvantage is when you can’t identify what makes a good design. Even as a designer, I can tell you that the greatest and most technical skill to have is the ability to look at a design, scrutinize and accurately tell what’s wrong or right about it.
The real work in designing is knowing when a design is bad and when it is good enough. Knowing when there is nothing else to be added can be a difficult task. But therein lies the hallmark of being a designer.
One of the most popular tools you can easily download to use right now is Canva. The truth is, even some professionals indulge in it. With this tool and their rich blog on design matters, I doubt if you can get it wrong. Good news is, it runs on both desktop and mobile and you can work (or continue) on a project from anywhere.
Now, getting tool is not enough. Let me also take you through some design principles (or ideologies) to give you a head start on how to come up with mature designs that sell. These ideologies are the bedrock of every great design.
What are these simple tools and principles for non-designers?
1) Little is much:
In any design, you attain perfection when there is nothing more to be removed. In other words, any element you put in a design that is not playing a role in the overall aesthetics should be removed. Simplicity is simply, the highest form of sophistication.
2) Design is about gaining attention, first! Details come second.
We live in a world where attention is expensive. That is why the job of a designer is to look for ways to gain attention at all cost. And with every design, you have less than 5 seconds to get this attention. So, in all your designs, ensure the most important thing to attract the viewer is made really obvious. Keep every other element down. You achieve this focal point by doing any of the following (with discretion):
- Making the most important element bigger than every other thing,
- Putting it far away from where every other elements are congested
- Giving it a colour that is in sharp contrast with the background environment.
3) In most cases, the more the colours, the more confusion and visual harassment you create.
Every colour carries a visual weight. That is why if you must go easy on people looking at your design, use fewer colours. At most, 2 or 3. If at all you must break this rule, make sure you’re really a professional who understands the colour wheel. And then, when combining colours, always give your text a colour that is in sharp contrast with the text background for readability.
4) You can’t get it wrong with white spaces.
Always allow space in your design. Except you’re designing a Christmas tree. If not, allow some breathing space. I know it scares you, but it reliefs the sight and adds beauty to the overall design. White space is your friend.
Now, these are not all! But if you can understand and apply these few simple tools and principles for non-designers, the difference will be very clear between you and another ignorant fellow.