Design rules for non graphic designers. With an overwhelming number of step by step tutorials and easy, free to use Apps, everyone has access to dabble in Graphic Design these days. And why shouldn’t you? You are likely to know your vision better than anyone else, plus sometimes what’s in your mind is hard to interpret to a ‘professional’. Whether you’ve got a creative urge or simply no budget to spend on designers, it’s certainly worth a try to spice up your marketing and be seen. You never know, you might enjoy it! 

Before you start, here’s 8 design rules to remember.

1.    Design For Your Audience

First things first, before you begin designing a piece of artwork it helps to have a think about what it is you need to design. If you’re working on artwork to support prewritten content then you need to make sure it’s relevant to what’s being said in the copy. Consider the key message/s within the copy and how you can make this more visually pleasing. Is there a clear call to action that you’d like to share on the artwork? Perhaps there’s a need to include dates, times and a phone number? 

Furthermore, the colour scheme and font selection of your artwork should also be suitable for your audience. Corporate communications and invitations will need a more ‘official’ look and feel whereas events for teenagers and children should be more relaxed and ‘fun’.

2. Design For Your Destination

Whether it’s a Social Media Platform, your Website or a Print Ad, consider where your artwork will ultimately be shared and what you need to do to ensure its suitable. Is there a specific style it needs to be, perhaps even several different versions are required for different mediums. If it’s for Print do you need to have larger text or fewer colours? Text size and tone of voice may change depending on your audience too, which differs from platform to platform. Once you’ve considered ‘where’ your work will end up, might get more inspiration for ‘what’ it needs to look like.

3. Size Matters

As with the above, it’s crucial to know what size or sizes your artwork needs to be to ensure you’re making the most of the space. Different size specs will influence the amount of copy or visuals you can include, how big your copy can be and generally have much information you can get across. A Facebook Image will be very different from an Infographic for a website, for example.

4.  Complementary Colours

It’s may sound like Basic Art but it works. Complementary colours are two colours that appear directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. This could be red and green, for example, and together they ensure maximum contrast whilst maintaining a satisfying visual. Although you may want to expand out from the rather basic range of the colour wheel, use this concept of high contrast to ensure your artwork appears bold and clear.

5.    Spacing

It’s important to get you spacing right on a piece of artwork. Whether that means your copy as you’re playing around with fonts, kerning and sizing or your graphics and their positioning. You don’t need to fill every inch of space and you mustn’t overdo it or you’ll end up with a busy, confusing piece of artwork that won’t grab your audience’s attention. 

6.    Alignment

If your piece is going to contain text then think about whether it will be left, right or centre aligned. Left alignment is the most common and what everyone is used to which ultimately makes it easy to read. Right alignment will likely be for decorative purposes, perhaps on an Infographic where both left and right alignment is commonly used. Whatever you decide on, avoid the dreaded hyphenated word split across two lines!

7.    Use Rulers Or A Grid

There is nothing worse than copy or a graphic that is slightly off centre or unnaturally low compared to the rest of the image layout. Creative platforms such as InDesign or Photoshop have built-in tools to help you avoid this so please use them. Your artwork will likely be used to share an important update or call to action so avoid anything that will distract your audience.

8.    Be Consistent

Visual content is a great way to build brand awareness and recognition. However, this is only likely to happen if you’re consistent. This can be done through similar font and colour pallets across all of your artwork that ties in nicely to each other. Think about your Instagram grid and how satisfying it would be to see a consistent flow of images side by side. 


If you’re feeling uninspired or you’ve hit a creative wall, have a think about adverts and artwork that’s caught your attention before and stayed in the back of your mind. Perhaps it’s something that you found yourself thinking or talking about days later. Find inspiration from pieces that you admire and go from there. If you want to just hand it over to someone else to do at an affordable price check out our services.