Whether you are a small business owner or a blogger, the images you post to social media and across your web properties say a lot about you and your brand. The good news is you don't need to be a graphic designer to look like a pro! Familiarize yourself with these three basic rules of design to help make your graphics go from bland to grand!
1. The Rule of Thirds
This basic rule can be applied to anything from photographs to custom graphics. Look at your image, imagine three vertical and three horizontal lines spread equidistance apart. Your image would be split into 9 squares. It is at the corners of these squares that the human eye is naturally drawn. Placing items of interest near these corners will help put their eyes exactly where you want them to be. You can also use the lines to aid in placement of items to ensure your images is properly aligned. Landscapes often may use one of the lines as a guide for the horizon line.
In art and design hierarchy refers to the order that different items within the design are viewed. This applies to photographs, graphics and even website elements. On websites you might be familiar with the use of heading tags to help support hierarchy within a site. Near the top is usually the site title in a large H1 tag followed by secondary information, like blog posts headlines and subheadings in smaller H tags. The circle in the image below is the most important element due to its size and central positioning. The squares are less prominent, but balance the image as a whole.
Contrast can come in many forms; from colors, to fonts, to line weight. Contrast can be a great tool to add visual interest and personality to your works. Generally you want to keep your contrasting items at a level that keeps some balance within your work. For example, when choosing font colors for a website or graphic, you want to keep the contrast in colors high enough so that it is easily read. However, if you are choosing colors for a particularly modern and edgy graphic you may want to use high contrast colors. For a very soothing and classical graphic you should lean towards colors we a decreased contrast. The image below demonstrates contrast between the squares and circle, as well as in the colors of the background to the shape colors. The burgundy shapes have much more contrast to the white background than the grey shapes. The grey squares themselves have even less contrast as they are both slightly different shades of grey.
Learning some of the basic tenants of design can be beneficial to the artist in all of us (not just the pros!) Taking the proper steps to improve your website, social media, or blog graphics will help them stand out in the vast visual web!