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How to DIY Your Graphics Without them Looking DIY [Streamline Your Graphics Series - Part 2 of 4]

Hey, friend, and welcome back to the ‘Streamline Your Graphics’ series. If you’re new here, I’m showing you exactly how to streamline your graphic creation process, so you can create profesh-looking, on-brand graphics in half the time, using Canva!

In this series, you’ll learn:

  1. How to ensure brand consistency in your graphics 
  2. How to DIY your graphics without them looking DIY (this post right here, yay!)
  3. How to Marie Kondo your Canva Pro setup
  4. How to speed up your graphics creation with Canva templates

 

 

If you’ve gone through Part 1 and have your brand elements all figured out (and hopefully printed off somewhere so you can show off all the gorgeousness), you’re probably like… now what?

“This is awesome, Nicholette. But… I know nothing about design. How do I use my brand elements to create scroll-stopping graphics that don’t look like a 3-year-old put them together?”

I so get it, love. This is a great question, so let’s discover how to DIY your graphics without them actually looking DIY.

 

  

5 Graphic Creation Tips from a Graphic Designer

There’s so much advice I could give you on this topic, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with #allthethings — and I also want to encourage you to play around and discover your own style!

Be sure to take this one step at a time, especially if you’re brand new to making graphics for your business. Any progress is to be celebrated! 🥂🥂🥂 

Graphic design is not everyone’s superpower — maybe cooking or drawing or writing copy is your thing. I personally struggle to write great copy when I’m designing, but I get better every time! Don’t expect to have this 100% right from the start.

To get you started, here are 5 general tips to follow when creating your visuals.

1) Know the goal of your graphic

The important thing to keep in mind is that your graphic isn’t just pretty, but communicates your message. So, the first step is to know what that message is.

 Knowing WHY you are creating your graphic in the first place will keep you focused and help you include only the essential copy and visual elements to convey that message. It also helps you know what’s important and what’s not, so you don’t waste eons of time overanalyzing your graphic.

Main takeaway: every graphic should have one clear goal and, if applicable, one clear call to action (CTA). No more.

2) Use visual hierarchy

When everything is important, nothing is important — so think about the most important part of your graphic and make sure you guide your audience’s eyes towards it. If there’s a hierarchy of important messages, also make sure to use visual hierarchy so that their eyes go through the messages in the right order.

Isn’t it amazing that we can do this with our visuals?! 

Here’s an example of what that would look like:

Once you know what the goal of your graphic is, use a bigger font size, bold font, and contrasting colors (in keeping with your brand colors) to put emphasis on that part of your graphic.  

Main takeaway: Guide your audience to the message you want them to see + the action you want them to take.

3) Embrace white space

There’s nothing that makes people scroll right past your post faster than an overcrowded graphic. 

 

Eek!  

Take a scroll through your Insta feed right now and pay extra attention to the graphics that catch your eye, or the visuals you already have in your save folders. You’ll see they all have something in common: well-designed visuals have breathing room, which makes the message or graphic easier to see and read.

When we over-crowd or over-design our graphics, they become hard to understand, hard to read and WAY less appealing. The more words or elements we add the less intentional our graphic looks. Less is always more in design. 

Main takeaway: Less is more! Remember you can almost always share the same message with fewer words, so dwindle it down and then give those words some space.

4) Remember font rules 101

You’ve already picked your brand fonts in Part 1 of the series, so we won’t go over that again. But, there are some simple font rules you should follow to make sure your visuals are easily seen in the feed and can be easily read. 

  • Choose legible fonts: Stick with readable font families like Sans or Sans Serif fonts 
  • Use a good font size: Make sure your fonts aren’t too small, otherwise your reader will get frustrated + won’t bother reading what’s on your graphic
  • Use no more than two fonts per graphic: Too many fonts visually overwhelm us. You want to make it easy for your followers to read and understand our graphic.

Main takeaway: I don’t care how pretty a font is — if I can’t read it easily (on the first try), scrap it! Toss it - Elsa style!

5) Use contrast

When picking your brand colors, it’s a good idea to include some contrasting colors — in non-design speak, that’s a mix of light and dark colors. If you didn’t include contrasting colors in your main brand color palette, you can create a secondary palette to serve that purpose.

If you use two competing or similar colors in your graphic (e.g. white text on a light pink background), the whole thing becomes hard to read — and ain't nobody got time for that! 

The same thing can happen if you put your text over a similarly colored image (e.g. black text over a dark, moody image). When this happens, you can either use a different image or introduce a shape to make your words pop. 

#1 thing to remember: A crystal-clear, readable visual is always the priority.
 

BONUS TIP: Create an inspiration folder!
The best way to learn what makes a design good is to pay attention to the graphics that stop you mid-scroll.
Store screenshots of visuals you like so you can start understanding what makes up a good design. You can use Pinterest boards or your Instagram save folders to keep this nice and organized.


Practice makes better

Remember that your visuals are only going to get better over time — so keep practicing these tips and you’ll look (and feel) like a profesh in no time!

In Part 3, I’m going to show you how to keep things organized, so once you do come up with a design that works for your biz you can easily replicate it over and over again.

See you in part 3 where I'm going to show you how to streamline your design process,  workflow!

xo, Nicholette

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