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Best Practices in Graphic Design

As an e-commerce site for online printing, Overnight Prints receives hundreds of questions about graphic design. We’ve heard your questions, frustrations and comments. In response, we’ve interviewed several successful graphic designers in the Southern California area about their suggested best practices.

Wes McDowell, the Lead designer at The Deep End Design did a great job in summarizing the sentiment of most designers we spoke with. Here were his best practices.

  1. Remember the fundamentals: color choices, fonts, and layout.
    • Avoid using too many fonts, and use only fonts that work well together.
    • The color selection should match the client’s branding, and the colors should complement each other.
  2. Be loose with the rules of graphic design. Make it interesting; don’t play it too safe.
  3. Make sure the design is appropriate for the business and target audience.
  4. Avoid including too much information. This is especially true in print marketing. The goals of brochures and postcards are to peak interest, persuade people to visit your website, and/or pick up the phone. The goal is not to sell.
  5. If you are a graphic designer, always ask your clients for several examples of designs they like. If you are a client, provide several examples to the designer.
  6. Don’t copy other material. Use it for inspiration, but make the design your own.
  7. Keep your customer at the forefront of your design strategy. Just because the design appeals to you, does not mean that it will resonate with your customers.
  8. Focus on what you’re good at. If you need to add html coding into the design, hire someone with expertise in that area, and work together.
  9. It pays to hire a good designer. It will save you time and effort. If you don’t know where to look, start by asking for referrals.
  10. Good design will add credibility to your brand and boost traffic.

These images, designed by McDowell, illustrate well-executed design:

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McDowell gives advice to anyone who is thinking of hiring a designer.

By:Courtney Knapp

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