Communication is essential in our society, specially today. Thanks to it we can express ourselves, our ideas, and the ideas of others. Visual communication is perhaps the most frequently used. From the cover of a fashion magazine to the latest TV network ad, they all follow the same basic creative process. They all require a fair knowledge of graphic design.

Like any other skill, this isn’t learned overnight. There are some basic principles of graphic design that you should fully comprehend. And only when you embrace them do you get to deliver the best product you can. So here there are, to help you begin your journey:

Don’t be afraid of negative space

You don’t need to fill every inch of your canvas with objects and text. You want objects to be seen, and for that they need their own space. There’s nothing wrong with leaving some space untouched. In fact, this is a golden rule of graphic design. The negative space will give the eye the rest it needs to understand information better. And that’s exactly what you want to achieve.

Geometric center vs. Graphic center

The center of your design doesn’t have to be at the center of your canvas. This is probably one of the first mistakes we make when we make our first steps into graphic design. To know where to place the center of your design, you need to establish a clear hierarchy between the objects and text you’ll use. Once this is clear, locating the graphic center will be an easy task.

Use a three-color palette

When you become an expert in graphic design, you can manage more than that. But you need to walk before you can run. So, for your first couple of projects, a three-color palette is more than enough. A perfect palette for beginners is formed by black, white and any other color you prefer. Or two colors of your choice, bearing in mind that the third color should be black or white. This will allow you to handle issues like negative space, balance and composition easily.

Find specific sources of inspiration

Surely you’ll find creations of other designers and illustrators that reflect your style. These are references that should always be consulted first. Of course, experiments are always welcome in graphic design. But your essence will most likely be the same, no matter how many variations you make. If you keep these references in mind, you will be closer to perfection in your own projects over time.

Love the graphic design experience

It might seem like an obvious statement, but it’s something we tend to forget sooner or later. If you work on a project you don’t like, a project that doesn’t inspire you, then you’ll end up making the wrong design choices. And of course, the final product will be unsatisfactory. Choose projects that are of your liking. And if you can’t, then find a way to adapt them to your own style. Poor graphic design can be the consequence of a lack of experience, but it can also be the product of a lack of commitment.

Whether you’re trying new techniques or not, you can choose to design only posters or invitation cards. But if you’re barely beginning to learn about graphic design, then you better take these principles as seriously as you can. That way you’ll avoid running into more dead ends than necessary.