10 Top Tips for DIY Design for your business

Design is an integral part of a professional-looking business, but you may not want to invest in outsourcing the work. If you have decided to DIY design and don’t know where to start, these ten tips should help you on your way.

Introducing Guest Blogger Rhian Lonergan-White from dare to know Ltd, a North Lincolnshire based multi-disciplinary creative services agency.

1. Get to know your printer.

A good printer can tell you the most cost-effective way to print, advise on paper weight, resolution and colour management. They will also tell you what format they can print, something you need to know way before you even get started on your design project.

2. Get more than one printing quote.

Printing prices and quality vary massively from printer to printer and most expensive does not mean best quality or service, so always shop around before you decide.

3. Buy Books.

There are some great books available for ‘Non-designers’ who want to design their own promotional literature. Learn simple rules that if you follow your designs will vastly improve, so invest in some books and take time to learn.

4. Collect stuff.

If you find yourself in front of a leaflet stand, close your eyes, open them and take the first leaflet that you notice. Chances are, this will be well designed. If you keep a box full of designs you like and you think are good, these will help improve your designs and provide inspiration.

5. Ask people what they think.

Always get a second opinion on what you have designed. You might have missed something important or may not be getting the right message across with your use of colour, fonts or images.

6. Use good software.

Adobe InDesign is what I use to do Graphic Design and I wouldn’t recommend using anything else. However, it is not cheap. But, you get what you pay for and it is an invaluable tool in producing professional design.

7. Avoid Clipart.

How often I have seen a poster draped in Clipart and avoided the event advertised simply as a result of this. Clipart is often used by design novices and makes the design look like it has been designed by a novice. Avoid at all costs!

8. No image is better than a bad image.

Too many times have I seen designs with poor images, pixelated and inappropriate to the context of the design. You can easily tell when someone has sourced a low quality image off the internet and plonked it into a layout. It makes you look bad. If in doubt, take it out.

9. Be consistent.

Find a design style that is appropriate for your business and stick to it. Consistency is vital in creating the right image.

10. Be Bold, show personality.

Don’t be afraid to use striking colours or abstract images in your design. There’s nothing less inspiring than a brochure full of pictures of people in suits sitting round tables.

Feel free to contact Rhian of dare to know ltd if you need any help or guidance.

My spec:
Rhian Lonergan-White BA Hons graduated in 1999 from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in TV production. She spent 5 years with the Oxford University museum, The Ashmolean, as an in-house graphic designer, where she was responsible for exhibition, book and front-of-house design. During this time Rhian was DJ-ing in Oxford, running her own club nights and designing many books and other assorted material for prestigious organisations such as The British Violin Making Association and The Association for Cultural Enterprise. She also held two successful graphic art exhibitions in Oxford.

Rhian moved to North Lincolnshire in 2007, setting up her multi-discipline creative services company, dare to know ltd. Her time is now divided between being commissioned for bespoke graphic art for businesses and individuals, graphic design projects, photography assignments and film production jobs. Rhian’s colourful style of graphic art has been described as ‘hyper-surreal and fantastical’, where the use of photographs to transcend the ordinary becomes ‘visual alchemy’, as described in The Journal, to create something truly unique. She also works as a creative workshop facilitator in all things creative and including podcasting, film-making and animation, as well as giving tutorials in creative software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro and all things ‘Mac’.

With dare to know, Rhian has enjoyed a very busy and successful first two years in business, with many workshop projects winning awards, most notably an animation won the Children’s section at the International Animation Film Festival in the Czech Republic in 2008.

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