Ducks Instruct: Basic Graphic Design Tips

As a small business owner, we know you’ve got to be scrappy with your resources and sometimes that may mean some do-it-yourself design. If you’re quickly turning out your own social media asset or need to throw together an event poster pronto, our designers have some basic design tips to provide you with a bit of direction. Here are the top things to keep in mind when you design!

White Space is Your Friend

Your designs will be more impactful if you allow space for the eyes to rest as they gaze upon your work. Don’t overwhelm the reader or overcrowd your creation with too much text or too many images. Try and keep things visually clean and attractive.

Use A Maximum of Two Fonts

Too many fonts can start to make a design look a little chaotic. A good rule of thumb is to use fonts from the same family. For example, using Arial Bold for the headings and Arial Regular for the body text. Those two fonts will always go together! Allow readers to focus on the power of your words and their message instead of being distracted by your variety of font choices.

Stick to a Visual Hierarchy

When you’re putting a visual together, ask yourself “What is the most important part of this message? What do I want people to see first?” Whatever thing is most important and most relevant needs to be the biggest and most central part of the design. Visual hierarchy requires giving visual importance to certain elements over others. If everything is important, then nothing is!

Be Intentional with Your Use of Color

Designs usually turn out better when you predetermine the color palette. Decide on a central color first and then pick out one or two other colors that complement that first one nicely. It works out best if color is one of your final considerations after determining the layout and messaging. Use color with intention! There’s a reason that art schools offer an entire class on the psychology of color. Think about how it ties into the tone of the message you’re looking to convey!

Develop A Visual Brand Guide

Having established brand standards can be helpful in providing some base guidelines and establishing consistency in your designs. A good brand guide will have already considered what colors and fonts to use, how to properly space your logo, and so on. Brand guides aim to help you strike a balance between consistency and variety to create cohesive designs that are unique but still fall within your brand family.

Of course, Fuzzy Duck can help you with any and all of the above, but if you’re going it alone, we hope these tips provide you with some guidance. A note from our designers: Trust the process. A lot of times, the first solution isn’t the best one. Do some rethinking and retooling. It’s likely the answer will come out of trying something different than your first go.

Ultimately, clear and effective design leads to clear and effective messaging. Keep it simple! And if you’re frustrated and just don’t know what to do, simply give us a call. We’ll help you make something great!


  • Brenna Connolly

    As Fuzzy Duck’s copywriter, Brenna works diligently to make your brand voice shine. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she honed her craft in the natural foods industry where she contributed to professional websites, industry-wide publications, and social media initiatives. Brenna has written for clothing companies and newspapers alike; she’s even edited a novel. A bona fide wordsmith, Brenna is eager to help you tell your story.