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7

Design

How to Get Comfortable With Creating Visuals for Your Brand

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

If you’re going to be designing the visuals for your own brand, you’re not alone! When you’re getting started as a creative, it’s not always possible to hire a brand designer to help you, so it’s super common to design your own!

Designing your own graphics is easy enough if you are a designer or have some design experience, but if not, it can be a challenge to take that on. But although it’s sometimes a necessity, it doesn’t need to stop you from putting your work into the world and sharing your content with your audience!

Whether you feel confident designing or not, I’ve got some tips to help you design graphics for your own brand.

Choose the software that works for you

Firstly, you’re going to need to choose a design software that works for you. The most popular options and ones that I recommend are:

Canva

  • Free or Paid plans
  • Recommended for beginners

Figma

  • Free or Paid plans
  • Recommended for beginner/intermediate

Adobe Illustrator

  • Paid only
  • Recommended for intermediate/advanced

Affinity designer

  • Paid only
  • Recommended for intermediate/advanced

Use your brand guidelines

When you have designed your brand elements and created your logo, it’s helpful to create a set of brand guidelines, even if it’s just a one-page PDF or Airtable database.  

These guidelines will guide you on what colours, colour combos, fonts, font combinations, patterns, icons, logos and other brand elements to use across your visuals, whether that’s on social media, your signage, your website, or other aspects of your business..

This is going to make it easier for you to design your own graphics as it reduces the amount of decisions you need to make. Instead of having to choose what colours to use or patterns to apply, and being unsure about those choices every time you go to create graphics, those decisions have already been made for you!

Instead of an infinite amount of options for you to choose from, you’ll have a set suite of brand elements that you can confidently implement, knowing that they’ll represent your brand perfectly!

Create/use templates

You can also use templates to make the design process easier, faster, and more efficient.

You can either create these yourself, or you could use pre-existing templates on Canva that you can customise to match your brand. Some examples of templates you might use could be:

  • Instagram feed posts
  • Instagram stories
  • Instagram reel covers
  • Twitter posts
  • Pinterest graphics
  • Slide decks
  • PDFs

This means that everytime you go to make a graphic for the same kind of content, you don’t have to start from scratch.

For example, with my podcast, I don’t need to create the episode graphic from scratch every time. I just use a template that allows me to swap out the copy, add in a new photo, and I’m ready to go!

This makes it really efficient and fun! Instead of worrying about making the design each time, I can have fun within the template and create graphics I love.

Understand basic design principles

When you’re designing for yourself, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the design principles that you can utilise throughout the process. These are:

  • Alignment
    How text and other graphic elements line up with each other and the environment they’re in. Usually left, right, or centered. You probably won’t notice when something is aligned, but you definitely will when it’s not!
  • Hierarchy
    Arranging elements in a way that implies importance through scale, colour, and composition. Something bigger, brighter, and higher up is going to seem more important than something small, dark, and low down.
  • Contrast
    Using colours, textures, sizes, fonts, and other graphic elements that are drastically different to help create visual interest. When everything is the same, a design can be bland and boring, but contrast makes it engaging.
  • Repetition
    Repeating the same or similar design elements to create unity, consistency, and cohesiveness. RRepetition, pattern, and rhythm emphasize your point and help to create a sense of reliability and comfort for the viewer.
  • Proximity
    Putting related items together, and making sure that unrelated items are separated to give structure and clarity to a layout. Elements in close proximity seem connected and become one visual component
  • Balance
    Distributing graphic elements so that the design feels balanced. Balance can be asymmetrical, or you can intentionally make something off-balanced to create the effect of movement or uncertainty
  • Colour
    The use of colour and combinations of colours to suggest specific connotations, create hierarchy between design elements, and/or make the viewer feel certain feelings associated with those colours
  • Space
    The space in a design is just as important as the graphic elements. This empty, blank space is called white or negative space. It draws the viewer’s eye to the elements and helps to emphasize the design.

Use your design elements:

You also want to know the key design elements that you have available to you to use as you design. Those are:

These are the main design elements you have to play with, so have fun with those. Playing with colour, trying some illustrations, and including patterns are all fun ways to make your designs stand out.

These few tips will help you get started designing graphics for your own brand. The more you practice, the easier and faster it will be, so take your brand elements, use some templates to get you started, and have fun creating! Can’t wait to see what you design!

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Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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