Top 10 Tips for Design

Top 10 design tips

Whether you’re designing your own sales or marketing material, or getting a professional to do it for you, there are some important factors to bear in mind during the creative process. Getting them right will improve the visual appeal of the piece, speed up the understanding of the message or offer you’re trying to communicate and increase your Return On Investment (R.O.I.) in terms of both time and monetary cost. So, here are our Top 10 Tips for making your design a resounding success.

1. Don’t rush it

Take it carefully and methodically. Rushing your sales or marketing piece will not lend itself to great design, nor to clear communication of your message.

2. What’s the message?

Before you even start looking at the design and feel of your sales or marketing collateral, carefully consider exactly what overall message, service or offer you are trying to communicate. It may be obvious to you, but you need to make sure it’s crystal clear to prospects who are not aware of your product or service. So, make it clear and make it appealing.

3. Get your copy right

Your text, also known as ‘copy’, needs to be just right, before you start designing. Distil it down, keep it simple — you have only seconds, or fractions of seconds for your audience to decide whether to read on or to simply ignore your attempt to communicate. Aim for something punchy and easy to digest, even at a quick glance. Your copy needs to be balanced well, including your main headline, sub-headings, body text and any bullet points. Including those elements can help someone to understand your service or offer even at a glance — people are usually in a hurry.

4. Use a graphic designer

Unless you’ve got real natural flair with a sophistication for layout, communication and design, use a qualified graphic designer. Otherwise your piece is at risk of looking amateurish, which will reduce your R.O.I., waste your time and money and create entirely the wrong first impression.

5. Get the design balance right

Your graphic designer needs to perform a visual juggling act. Make sure he or she clearly shows your core message, loud (but not too loud) and clear in their design. Make sure the other headings, sub-headings and bullet points are given suitable weighting so as to not overpower the main headline, but still be easily noticeable, at a glance, so your prospects can get the overall message in a near instant, then read the smaller print if they want to learn more. The designer needs to achieve a fine balance between communication, styling and layout.

6. Try several different layouts

Except in exceptional circumstances, a good graphic designer will not generally settle on the first design and layout he/she comes up with. There are lots of different ways to present the same message. Make sure you have considered several before deciding upon a single design and layout. Perhaps ask around for several opinions before making your final choice, within reason of course (‘design by committee’ as it’s known, can be a dangerous thing).

7. Fine-tune the result

Even then, there are usually things that can be improved. Try some different fonts. Try some different colourways. Try fine-tuning the balance between sizes of the various elements on the page. You’re sure to improve things still further.

8. Print it out

It’s surprising how different proportions and sizes look when you’re comparing a ‘screen’ version (e.g. digital image or PDF on a PC) to a ‘printed out’ version. Print your leaflet, advert, flyer, brochure or other piece out, at the correct size, before assuming it’s perfect. Most times, you’ll want to further tweak the proportions and sizes of a few elements. It still surprises me every time, and I’ve been a qualified graphic designer for several decades.

9. Check it, then re-check it

Ready to print now? No! Before going to print, check everything. Spell check. Grammar check. Get a colleague to re-check. Order a proof from your commercial printer before committing to the full print run. Again, check that proof multiple times, via multiple colleagues, before thinking you can press the button. There’s nothing worse than a bad first impression.

10. It’s all in the paper

Ready to print now? Just testing … of course you’re not! You haven’t yet considered the most appropriate paper or card for the job. That’s all part of design if you’re a good graphic designer. Don’t just assume that your printer will come up with the best option although, of course, at Firstpoint Print we usually do a pretty good job! Ask questions — don’t just accept the default option. Ask for paper samples. Maybe even ask for another print-out on the actual paper you decide upon, or a short list of several. It’s amazing, for example, how the ‘feel’ and ‘atmosphere’ of a printed piece can totally alter depending upon whether it’s printed on uncoated paper, matt, silk, gloss coated or textured paper. Consider them all before committing to a full print run. Think about paper weights and thicknesses too … they can affect things like perceived quality and also practical things like ‘show-through’ (how opaque – or otherwise – the paper or card is). Also don’t forget to consider additional options such as lamination, varnishes and so on. They can make a huge difference to the overall feel of your printed communication.

If you’ve done everything above, you’ve done a great job and your finished job will not only look appealing but will also communicate your message seamlessly and instantly to your target audience. When you get all of that right, the success of your campaign is more likely to be high and you are far more likely to get the very best return on your investment.

Great graphic design & printing at Firstpoint Print

We hope that these design tips have been useful to you. If you have a design or marketing project coming up and need some professional help, don’t forget that we have our own, qualified, in-house graphic designers at all branches of Firstpoint Print. They’re ready to take your brief and do their magic before passing over artwork to our equally talented professional printers. For more information, or to receive a no-obligation quotation for design and/or printing, contact your nearest branch:

London Bridge:
Contact the SE1 branch on 020 7378 6754 – or send us a message here.

Clerkenwell:
Contact the EC1 branch on 020 7490 7588 – or send us a message here.

Victoria:
Contact the SW1 branch on 020 7828 0515 – or send us a message here.