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You Don’t Need to Be a Graphic Designer to Create Engaging Content

By Wyatt Hessler

Steve Jobs was perhaps one of the most influential designers, yet he was not an artist by trade. However, he understood the importance of design and its ability to reach the consumer.  

The purpose of design is to be a vehicle for consumers to understand the product as well as garner their attention and trust to your brand. With that, Apple’s simplicity in designing their products is intentional and in order for anyone to be able to identify and use their products. 

“Design isn’t just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” -Steve Jobs. 

Design continues to be an essential tool of any business, and in response, technology has evolved. More affordable design programs such as Canva have given people who may be unfamiliar with design or those who wear many hats in the business the ability to here are some Canva design basics to help you maximize your external communication. 

  1. Keep It simple 

 Try to stick to a branding guide and limit the variation of your elements. As a rule of thumb, decide on 1-3 primary colors, 1-3 contrasting colors, and 2 fonts to develop consistency in your designs. The audience recognizes a brand based on that consistency and how it stands out among other brands. Additionally developing new color schemes and designs can be time-consuming. Maintaining a consistent font and color scheme can help in alleviating stress and maintaining a professional feed.  

If every element of your design is different, it can be difficult for a consumer to find the subject of the design. In that time, when they are trying to search for the subject, there is a greater chance that they have already lost interest and scrolled past it. 

  1. Scaling & sizing 

A lot of times, scaling is something that can be overlooked when looking at fonts and colors. Leveraging the size of the elements of a design to get a certain message across can guide the audience’s attention. You can use Scaling to help get across the importance of an element in relation to the others. For example, you may want to put the word “FREE” in capital letters when stating: “contact us for a FREE consultation” on a graphic making it much larger than the rest of the sentence and allowing it to stand out.  

It will attract the attention of the consumer and get your main message across first, hopefully hooking them in to read the rest of the post. When you are scaling your elements, you can also take the placement and composition of your elements into account for the message to be translated as well as serve as something that is visually appealing to the audience. The templates in Canva offer many examples of scaling, placement, and layering and serve as a great starting point when getting inspiration for a design. 

  1. Space is your friend 

“White space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background.” -Jan Tschichold 

Jan Tschichold was a calligrapher and designer in the 20th century and was noted for his significant role in the development of what’s known as modern graphic design. It is clear in his work, that he valued and understood the advantages of negative space. 

One of the hardest to do when you first start designing is refraining from filling every single space with a photo, text, or element. Empty space can give emphasis to the subject and can balance out a design. Try to think of empty space as an element you must place in the design. If there are too many elements to a design, it can be distracting and confusing to the viewer. 

  1. Have fun 

The most important part of designing is to be creative and enjoy yourself in the process. These are the basic tips to help you get started, but Canva has many features that can allow you to use your creativity to take your designs to the next level. 

Spend some time finding what design elements and styles you like, and which reflect the brand and compliment the message you are trying to convey. Try implementing animations, photos, and audio to grab the audience’s attention even more. You can even upload your own photos and audio and use them in your designs or choose from the thousands of copyright-free photos and audios that Canva has right in the design hub.  

Use these basics to make your own designs and feel free to tag us at @Opake.institute on Instagram and @OPakeinstute on Facebook if you use tips from this blog. 

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