Updated: Aug 11, 2020
What many don't know about graphic design is that it goes beyond just looking good. Design is also a science, containing rules and concepts that will automatically improve the skills once applied. In the online world, the technological side of design gets talked about a lot, but for some reason, these fundamental design concepts seem to be swept under the rug – which is super unhelpful for those trying to learn graphic design alone. The only place that I was personally taught these concepts was in the design school, and today I'm sharing them with you so you can be a great designer too!
I firmly believe that if you learn and take these design principles into consideration each time you design a new project, your work will immediately stand out from the competition and you will be one step closer to being a pro designer yourself. This may be one of the most precious posts I've ever posted, so keep reading!
You need to have a sense of balance in your graphics. This is not to suggest that each side has to be perfectly symmetrical, but the amount of visual weight on each side should feel seamless and intentional to establish that sense of balance.
Font pairings depend almost entirely on the balance of asymmetry. Pairing a powerful font (such as a bold font or attracting more focus like a brush font or a calligraphy font) with a more subtle minimal font (such as Helvetica or something that feels simpler) would establish a perfect font pairing by using asymmetric balance to your advantage.
To generate an efficient color palette you can build either symmetrical balance or asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical color palettes are going to use colors that all appear to have the same brightness or intensity – and therefore each one has the same visual weight. They should all feel like they work together in a cohesive way without especially drawing attention to any one color. Usually, an asymmetrical color palette uses one or two colors that stand out dramatically from others. Using a black, white and red color palette, for example, provides an asymmetric contrast as the red takes much of the visual weight but is balanced out by incorporating black and white colors with which it is combined.
Repeating those characteristics within your design (such as fonts, colors, templates, design features, etc.) can keep the design consistent and cohesive. This creates then a visual theme which creates unity and continuity. This is particularly useful when designing multiple similar graphics or a multi-page document, since the repetition of design elements can bind them all together and make them look cohesive and consistent. Often, consistency is the number one way of building identifiable brand recognition.
Implement these production strategies and you're going to be ahead of the curve and your visual style should quickly go up.