8 Graphic Design Principles That Will Boost Engagement
By nature, we are highly visual creatures. Research consistently shows that humans engage more with visual content than any other type of content. In fact, eMarketer found that around 75% of American internet users search for visual content before making a purchase. Visual content is also more memorable than text-based content.
Eye-popping graphics and creative video content are a must for any marketing strategy and a great way to showcase your business. But, not everyone is a graphic designer, especially when your priority is running a gym or boutique fitness studio. How do you create images or videos for your blog, social media, email, or other content that engages your audience?
Many business owners have turned to DIY graphic design software like Canva, PicMonkey, and Pixelied. These platforms are easy to use and offer free design tools that can help boost your graphic design skillset without much experience. However, there are some essential graphic design principles to keep in mind. Here we’ll review eight graphic design tips that will educate, inform, and entertain your audience, while helping you stand out online. Let’s get started…
1. The power of white space
What’s the number 1 tip for non-designers? Take full advantage of white space—it’s the space that surrounds your pictures, graphics, fonts, etc. The use of white space (also called negative space) brings a feeling of order and calmness to your audience. A simple design is your friend!
Amateur designers often make the mistake of cluttering their designs. The fear of forgetting to include something or leaving out important information drives them to clutter—a graphic design’s arch-nemesis.
Here are some simple ways to increase the white space in your design:
- Use wide margins around images, text, and unrelated elements.
- Remove anything that doesn’t add to the design, like extra images or text.
- Use images with white backgrounds.
Surrounding words and images with white space create a fluid design that allows elements to breathe. Negative space calls attention to the important elements and focuses the eye on the point of the page.
Be selective about which objects you want to include in your design and you’re sure to wind up with stunning and uncluttered visuals.
2. Fonts: balance readability with style
When creating effective visual content, your primary goal is readability. You can have a great concept for a blog graphic or social post, but it will fall flat if your audience finds your font too small or hard to read. Legibility is non-negotiable.
Don’t get carried away choosing hundreds of different typefaces. The eye can struggle to switch between fonts quickly and having too many on your social media page or email offer can decrease its readability. Stick to similar fonts or variants within a font family. This keeps your design cohesive and legible while conveying intentionality in your font choice.
Find a font that is easy to read and matches the vibe of your fitness business. Here are a few choices to consider:
- Nunito Sans (regular or bold)
- Code Pro
- PT Sans
- Museo Sans
- Bebas Neue
3. Keep your visual content well organized
You need to know the hierarchy of your elements in your graphic. What do we mean by that? Basically, it’s all about organization and how each element grabs the attention of your audience. The most important elements need to be the dominant features of each piece of visual content. Experiment with different colors, shapes, font sizes, and layouts. Keep in mind:
- Your call-to-action should stand out (even make it flash in the graphic from time to time).
- Use smaller font sizes near the bottom of the graphic.
- Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much copy or too many images.
4. Consider your brand
Ultimately, your design needs to reflect your brand while communicating to your audience. Studies suggest that presenting your brand consistently across all platforms—your website/blog, social media, and email—can boost revenue up to 23%.
What elements can help your brand stay on point?
- Your logo is the face of your business, so include a small version in the corner of your graphics or videos.
- With fonts, stay consistent with no more than two to three typefaces.
- Choose three to six different colors that represent your brand’s personality.
5. Think about your colors
The colors on your graphics become part of your brand, so pick colors that match the tone of your business. Use bright colors to grab attention and encourage engagement on your blog or social media post. You can also use color to direct viewers’ attention to keywords, icons, or other important features.
You can build a cohesive design from any color palette if you know how to balance different tints, shades, and tones. These might seem like the same thing, but they have key differences:
- Tint refers to how light a color is. A tint is created by adding white to any color.
- Shade refers to how dark a color is and is created by adding black to a color. You can visualize this by imagining putting colored paper into a shadow.
- Tone tells you about the intensity of a color. You create a tone by adding gray. Playing around with the tone of your colors alters the emotion they convey.
Build the base of your graphics with similar colors in varying tints, shades, and tones. Introduce complementary colors to draw attention to key information.
6. Adjust contrast for clear, crisp imagery
Contrast affects everything in your graphics from mood to legibility. That’s why it’s important to adjust the brightness of background images to offset text color and make everything clear and easy to read. Play with the brightness of background images so they contrast with the text color. A good rule of thumb is to stick with lighter text on dark backgrounds and vice versa.
7. Pay attention to alignment
Alignment is another essential part of your graphics. When everything is not aligned, it becomes difficult to read. You want text and images to line up flush with margins and baselines. With platforms like Canva, there’s a built-in alignment and grid system so your graphics look clean and professional.
However, as long as the elements line up with each other, you can experiment. While not everything has to be centered, keep in mind how it will be viewed on a mobile phone or Instagram grid.
8. Keep it simple and unified across all platforms
The quality of each element is more important than the quantity of elements. Don’t ruin your design by overdoing it. Before deciding your design is finished, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the design have enough white space?
- Does every element in the design have a purpose?
- Can I remove any elements without affecting the functionality of the graphic?
- Are my eyes drawn to the most important part of the graphic?
Bonus: Get the dimensions correct across all platforms
After you’ve created your graphics, you need to ensure the dimensions are correct for the platform. Here are some of sizes for the different platforms:
- Email: 600px to 650px wide
- Blog cover: 1,200px X 800px
- Secondary blog images: 630px X 420px
- Facebook: 940px X 788px
- Instagram: 1,080px X 1,080px; for portrait (4:5) photos recommended dimensions are 1080px X 1350px
- LinkedIn: 1,200px X 627px
- Twitter: 1,600px X 900px
Improve your graphic designs skills and attract more business
Good graphics help showcase your business and build your brand. Your audience is also more likely to engage with visual content over text-based content. We know that not everyone has the skills to design graphics for social media, blogs, or emails. By following these principles, you can create graphics that stand out with white space, the right fonts, colors, organization, and more. Now, even as a beginner, you can create gorgeous visual content for your fitness business.
The right graphics are just one component of a successful marketing strategy. What else can help? An all-in-one business management software. WellnessLiving offers an automated marketing suite with custom email, text, and push notification templates to attract leads or engage and retain your clients.
And that’s not all. WellnessLiving’s direct mail, advanced reporting, customer reviews feature, and a custom website builder are just some of the ways they can take your marketing strategy to the next level. Book a free, no-commitment demo today to learn more.