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Graphic design for beginners


If we have eyes we can see. And if we can see we can design. At least that would be true if we knew why a design was designed the way it was. Welcome to graphic design for beginners.

Let’s face it, we are all frustrated designers at heart. We all like to objectify and justify that which we see around us. Judging the world makes us feel better about ourselves and makes us feel a little more important than we perhaps are. We judge people, clothes, houses, decor, pretty much everything we see. But what do we really know about graphic design?

Take the classic client comment designers get. “Could you make the phone number bigger?” This must be the biggest (pardon the pun) request designers get when creating marketing material. It seems to be a global misconception that if your contact details are big people will automatically contact you. I can’t imagine where this began, or the rationale behind it.

Imagine this. You hear a knock on your front door, you open the front door and a very smart lady or gentleman says, “Contact 0800 555 6666 or email hello@we wantwork.co.uk”. You would quite rightly think they had gone mad and be already three digits into calling the men in white coats so the crazy person at your front door could be assisted to a quiet place where they could be assured of the expert help they are so clearly in need of.

You see this is not how to sell yourself. What they need to do is greet you first and then quickly and clearly state how you could really benefit from what they have and how your life will be so much better if you listen to what they have to say or buy what they are selling. If they said they were selling iPads at half price because of overstock, for example, I suspect most people would be interested. They may even be interested enough to actually ask for a contact number, or how they can buy one. Yes they may be suspicious of such a great offer, but they would almost certainly want to know more.

And this is the point of good advertising and selling. People don’t buy things because contact details are big. People won’t contact someone because their number was large and clear on a leaflet or ad. If only it was that simple! No, people react to things they see benefit in. If an advert shows them something they see and they would really like it they will find contact details even if they’re tiny.

All you have to do to sell is offer people something they want. Whether it’s a product, a service, an opportunity, whatever. As long as there is something there that will be of benefit to them they will take the offer up and contact you.

So get the offer right first. Think benefits. Think how your offering will help people and make their lives better. Once you have that: sell it and people will contact you. Just don’t shout your number at them first.

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