Do you want to improve your graphic design skills? If so, then this blog post is for you! Here are 30 tips that will improve your graphics and make them more aesthetically pleasing. We will cover the basics of graphic design, from choosing a font to using color theory. But we also have some more advanced tips in here too. You’ll learn how to improve the clarity of photos and use textures in Photoshop. Make sure you read through everything before getting started on your next project!
1. Size and Resolution
Photoshop’s default canvas size is based on the monitor resolution of the computer it’s being used on, which can result in photos and vector graphics printing out with low quality when they’re needed to be printed big. If you’d like your images to print without losing too much quality, create them in a size bigger than they need to be.
Using an unsuitable font can ruin your design, so choose them carefully and make sure you know their differences. Free fonts are great for playing around with, but don’t use them in professional projects as they often have poor legibility or lack the characters that you need.
3. Fills and Strokes
Outline shapes with a thin stroke to make them stand out from the background, and give them a fill color that’s similar to it for maximum effect. You can also use low opacity fills and strokes that fade into the background if you want something more subtle.
Give your designs depth by adding a shadow to text or objects. You can even use Photoshop’s Drop Shadow tool for more professional results.
5. Shadows and Glows
Just like with shadows, you can also add glows and soft light effects to your images. Be careful not to make them too overwhelming though – using a color overlay can be a great way of controlling the outcome.
You can create simple tiled patterns in Photoshop by using just one shape, duplicating it, adding color fills to all copies of that shape and then making them blend into each other with another overlay layer. You can experiment with different shapes, opacities and colors for unique results.
Adding a gradient along a box or circle is an easy way of making it look more three-dimensional. You can also experiment with different modes and opacity levels to see what looks best.
8. Layer Styles
Every layer in Photoshop has its own set of styles that you can apply, including shadows, glows, fills and strokes. You can also give your layers styles like noise, textures, patterns and more.
Group elements in Photoshop in different folders so you know where to find them when you need them in the future. You can even put small parts in their own layers within a larger folder for better organization.
Images made of pixels can be made smaller without losing quality, but vector images need to remain the same size. Use Photoshop’s Free Transform tool to make them fit your needs more effectively.
11. Vector Shapes
Using paths (the default option in Adobe Illustrator) instead of filled shapes means you can edit your elements later on without any problem. Keep in mind that you can also convert paths into shapes and vice versa.
12. Shape Layers
An easy way of making custom shaped selections in Photoshop is by using the Paths panel and converting them to shape layers, which will give you more freedom when editing them with the pen tool later on.
13. Gradient Maps
To remove a gradient from a selection, add a black to transparent gradient map. To add one, just reduce the opacity of your selection to 0%.
14. Blending Modes
Changing the blending mode of a layer can add an extra element that helps enhance or change the way it interacts with another layer below it. You can even use them in combination with layer styles and filters.
15. Clipping Mask
Use a clipping mask to apply different color grades, overlays or shadows to specific parts of your image that you just want to adjust, without having to go back and edit everything else in it. It’s similar to grouping layers but more advanced.
16. Smart Objects
Turning an image into a smart object lets you edit it at any time without losing quality or definition, and makes your designs look more professional because you won’t have to redo them. You can also use vector smart objects for maximum flexibility.
You can use built-in textures to make your designs more interesting, or create custom ones from scratch for a more professional look. You can then apply them as fills, layer styles and even as smart objects.
18. Keyboard Shortcuts
Learn the keyboard shortcuts Photoshop offers to speed up your workflow and work more efficiently. Your mouse will thank you for it!
Actions can be used to automate repetitive tasks in Photoshop, saving you a lot of time when editing your images. Make a few yourself or download some from online and try them out with different files – the results might surprise you!
Photoshop offers different types of overlays to help you work better, including guides, grids and more. Use them under the View menu or enable them separately for extra precision.
21. Adjustment Layers
Adjustment layers make it easier to change opacity or color-based settings on several layers at once without having to do each one individually on its own layer.
22. Filters and Effects
You can use Photoshop’s filters and effects to add some customized gradient fills, noise and textures to your images for a more interesting look.
23. Reference Images
Looking at the same design from different angles or with other designs on top of it can give you new ideas about how to edit it in the future. Photoshop allows you to open a bunch of reference images at once, which can make the process a lot easier.
24. Actions Palette
The actions palette keeps all your different action shortcuts in one place for easy access and lets you edit them while recording new ones. This is great if you want to automate repetitive tasks like resizing or saving your images for the web.
25. Reference Layers
Make a new reference layer to keep track of changes you make to any other layers that affect its opacity or color-based settings, such as gradients and fills. They’re really useful when working with filters and effects too.
26. Paths Panel
Paths can be converted into selections with the make selection command, or used with the pen tool to create custom shapes with more flexibility for future edits.
27. Layer Styles and Masks
Layer styles also give you the option of applying different effects to specific parts of your image using masks, which is great for controlling how your designs look.
28. Working with Pen Tool
The pen tool lets you create customized shapes, paths or selections in your images that will be more flexible than the standard freehand selection. It’s great for designing custom banners and logos too!
29. Auto-Align Layers
Putting two images together can often ruin their perspective, making them look weird even if you try to fix the issue with filters and effects. With auto-align layers, Photoshop will align their perspectives automatically so you can edit them together properly.
30. Layer Comps
Layer comps are useful for keeping track of different versions of your designs or ideas when working on your projects, or for exporting different states in one document for clients.
Which degree is best for graphic design?
For a career in graphic design, the best route to take is either an associate or bachelor’s degree. Most employers will want you to have one of these degrees. Obviously, a bachelor’s degree will get you further.
What makes a creative design?
Designers create designs that are unique, affective, and memorable. A designer must go out of their way to make it different. They can do this by making a font that’s not found anywhere else or by drawing a logo or making other graphics to make your client stand out in their industry.
Is graphic design a dying field?
Graphic design is not a dying industry. Recent studies have shown that the industry generates $15 billion with an annual growth rate of 3.5%. It is expected to grow even more at a rate of 2.7% to become a $14.8 billion-dollar-strong industry by 2019.
Lest we forget
Thank you for reading. We hope that we were able to provide some insight into graphic design and inspire you to take the next step in your creative endeavors. If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below!