12 Awesome Graphic Design Hacks That’ll Make Your Work Stand Out


1. Choose A Color Scheme Before Starting Your Project

There are some basic things you should do before you start any project and choosing your colors are one of the first. The colors will determine most of the other aspects of the design. Not all shapes and typography work well in every color, nor do all colors complement each other. Choosing your color scheme early on will make your designs look uniformed and professional. It’ll also save you the time of having to go back and change a lot of things once your design has been created.




2. Use A Grid System To Align Your Images

Having images scattered all around a page is outdated. The only reason to have random image scattered about is if you’re creating an eclectic collage. Our brains respond to visual hierarchy. Having unaligned images can be confusing and hard to follow for viewers of your design. Do everyone a favor, and use gridding and alignment to organize and layout your images.


3. Add Horizontal Lines To Create Emphasis And Hierarchy

As a designer, you’re not limited to only the traditional bold, italic and strike through found in word processors. There a tons of ways to add in some hierarchy, but adding a vertical line is simple and effective. It gives the eyes and mind a little visual break, and leads into the next section or idea.


4. Use A Few Complementary Fonts To Add Depth To Your Designs

You shouldn’t be using 20 different fonts in a design, but having two or three complementary designs will add some well needed variety and style to your designs. By using two complementary fonts, you can create multiple levels to any design. Add in some variation of font sizes and weights, and you’ve got an entirely unique and professional design without having to do a lot of additional work.




5. Sketch Your Design Ideas Before Starting The Project

This ties into choosing your color scheme before starting your project. Sketching is equally important in the design process. It gives you a chance to express your thoughts and get your ideas out. You get a chance to see what works and what doesn’t without have to create each design digitally.




6. Use Subtle Shadows To Make Important Text Stand Out

Let’s face it: drop shadows are often overused. More importantly, their overused in a way that distracts from the elements of the design. Good designers however, can use very slight subtle shadows to draw attention to important text elements. It also can be helpful in making the text more readable and easy to see.


7. Learn The Keyboard Shortcuts For The Programs You Use Most Often

Learning the most common keyboard shortcuts for your design programs can really speed up your design workflows. It may not seem like its worth the time it takes to learn to use keyboard shortcuts, but it really is. You’ll save more time in the long-run, and you can spend more time working on the design itself.


8. Steal Ideas And Get Inspiration From The Best Designers

There’s a saying that good designers borrow, but great designers steal. There’s a lot of truth to this. Imitating designs that work well is a great way to improve your own design skills, and invent new ways to improve on existing concepts. Stick with what works, and everyone will think you’re a brilliant designer.


9. Use Bookmarks To Save Tutorials And Sources Of Inspiration

Using a website like Pinterest to save and bookmark resources, inspiration and tutorials is a great way to improve your design skill instantly. There’s a tutorial for nearly every skill you’d ever want to learn available online. Bookmarking all the great graphic design content will make it easy to find the website later. Then, you can go back and review what you’ve learned in the future.


10. Actually Learn How To Use Your Design Software

There are a number of designers out there struggling with Photoshop, Illustrator and other design programs. As mentioned above, there are tons of tutorials online to help you learn how to use the program of your choice. The Freekpik blog is an excellent resource, and will help you learn the basics. You’ll never become a better designer if you spend all of your time stumbling through your design program.


11. KISS: Keep It Super Simple

Whether it’s the real world or the digital world, no one likes clutter. Learn to keep your designs simple and purposeful. A great designer can get the point across without having to add several unnecessary elements to a design. Minimalist design is popular for a reason. It shows off great design skills through clean lines and minimal background noise.


12. Practice Everyday

Practice makes perfect, and design is no exception. Like any other skill, the more you practice the better you’ll become. Work on demo projects for your portfolio, do volunteer work or just make some designs for yourself. No matter what you decide to work on, practice, practice, practice!