Struggling to know where to begin or start when it comes to designing?
Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur in the beginning stages of ideation or looking to polish the aesthetic of your product – there might be specific design techniques that are hurting, not helping you in solving a problem for your ideal customer.
Design is a process, built upon widely acceptable and vital fundamentals like having the right file type, size, and resolution. These product design techniques can impact future implementations.
Completing specific steps and phases lead to better user experience and increase brand recognition.
Taking into consideration the following graphic design techniques will improve how you are perceived in the marketplace.
Here are the six design techniques that could be hindering your success in business:
Resolution can seem like a foreign concept to the everyday consumer, but once understood can make a world of difference.
Impacting marketing collateral, resolution directly affects every aspect of design including image size, logo design, and web performance.
A good first step is to identify what the design or file will be used for. Will it be displayed on a website? Will it be printed in a brochure or incorporated into a banner?
Whether you are saving an image, design, or graphic ensure the resolution is scalable or ideal for your specific project.
Having a clear direction prior to creation can save time and allow the design to be utilized specifically for what it was created for.
To ensure you get the right resolution, understand the difference between PPI, DPI, and LPI.
- PPI (pixels per inch) — stands for the number of pixels displayed horizontally and vertically on a screen (not to be confused with the measurement of the screen size).
- DPI (dots per inch) – alternatively represents dots per inch and is generally used in print services.
- LPI (lines per inch) – is another print term meaning lines per inch and how close together the lines are on the grid.
Subconsciously, the human eye observes pixels, dots, and lines continuously– we just don’t stop to think about it. Look around and identify the resolution of the designs you are looking at.
For example, it is obvious when a web image is saved and used for print material because it is distorted making the image fuzzy and difficult to identify.
Protect your business identity and reputation from being harmed by utilizing resolution to your advantage and always saving files, images, or logos in the highest version possible.
Image size is not to be confused with file size.
Tip: To prevent your image, graphic, or design from being distorted, pixelated, or fuzzy when being printed ensure it is higher than 300 dpi at its final size.
For the web, images and graphics are commonly saved or presented at 72 dpi, and if they are larger, they will be reduced to display at less than 96 dpi.
2. Jumping straight to the final product
When thinking about design techniques, it is easy to quickly jump to the finished look because this is what you have in mind.
It is tempting to start adding highlights, colors, and textures prior to solidifying the direction.
This could lead to long-term consequences because you’ve already invested time, energy, and resources only to find out the design is a complete “miss”.
General design techniques should be thought of as a process – like baking a cake – you don’t just toss everything into a bowl and stick it into the oven – hoping for the best.
The ingredients need to be mixed up, bit by bit and the directions need to be followed, and the same goes for design.
There are elements and principles in design that can enhance your overall effectiveness.
Designs are completed in steps, process by process. Although not linear there are general directions to follow.
Unlimited renditions and refinements might be necessary throughout each phase before getting to a polished and complete design, product, or outcome.
According to a Google Publication, when it comes to visual complexity, most users form opinions through first impressions in as quick as 17 seconds – making it a small amount of time to make a memorable impression.
Most companies, products, or designs want consumers to dive deeper into their product benefits whether it be displayed on a website or in print materials.
Therefore, be strategic about your design and don’t skip to the end. If you are looking for more insight, read 4 Reasons Why Your Website Need Creative Graphic Designs.
3. Not sticking to the basics of design techniques
Great design elements work in the most basic form.
Establishing a strong foundation, not thinking about the basic design first can quickly digress a product or company.
If the logo, brand emblem, or graphic element does not work in black and white then you are not making a solid design.
Adding dimension, flare, bold colors, or typography is easy and only makes a good designer better once the foundational elements are evident.
The basics extend beyond color and incorporate lines, shapes, texture, value, and negative space.
Whether you are aware of it or not, these elements translate value to everyone who interacts with your design.
- Lines are usually used to direct a viewer’s vision in a specific direction. The visual impact is based on the effects applied and style implemented.
- Shape or form is the second most used element when it comes to design. Similar to lines, shapes are often associated with movement.
- Textures, usually used in backgrounds and to specific shapes make subtle differences in the overall design and are becoming more and more utilized.
- Value incorporates mood but generally represents how dark or light design is. Lighter designs have a different impact than darker designs, and it is through experimentation and trial and error you find which one works best for your specific needs.
- Space is crucial to design and creates balance. White space or negative space allows the human eye to rest and focus on what is most important.
Tip: It is important to keep in mind the viewer’s perception, as a change in the color, style, background, or texture will alter it.
4. Failing to ideate
Not putting all your ideas down on paper can be a hindrance to your success, regardless of what stage in the design process you might be in.
Sketching is an important part of the development process and can become a vital design technique.
Putting a pencil to the paper should not be overlooked as it can help convey ideas, demonstrate functionality, align content, and illustrate user interaction.
Sketching can also save time throughout the workflow process.
Participating in a brainstorming session and collaborating ideas with team members can eliminate layout and functionality issues as you begin to think through the different aspects of the process.
In the beginning jot down any ideas on paper, as you never know when it will blossom into a great design. Simply, let it all out, as there is no perfect form.
They can be rough sketches, animated, informative, or as detailed as time allows. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity and ideation.
Try to get past the “oh, this won’t work stage” as ideation is a powerful technique and one that is often overlooked.
5. Lack of functionality
The great debate continues as to whether or not consumers prefer form over function.
Research indicates there are consumers on both sides of the fence. However, functionality is more preferable.
Having a functional brand, meaning it serves its purpose and allows you to become more reputable.
Be in control of how your brand is perceived by creating a balance between the two – you can have a product, design, or brand that looks pretty and serves a purpose.
For more information regarding brand image and reputation, check out 9 Ways to Control your Brand Image and Boost Your Reputation.
Steve Jobs once said, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like.
People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think the design is.
It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
This design principle also extends far beyond the actual product or brand itself. It extends into the messaging around who you are or who you will become.
The type of content or copy you provide in relation to your brand, product, or design also contributes to the user experience.
The positioning statement contributes to the mission, tone of voice, and promise to your customers.
Tip: Design your product or brand with function in mind and then follow it with aesthetic — the look and feel.
Continuously improve each to increase brand image and reputation.
Stop struggling to know what is holding you back – as an entrepreneur or at the final stages of prototyping – when it comes to design, by hiring design professionals who understand every detail within the design process.
They can help walk you through every step.
Learn how to solve a problem for your target customer, increase brand recognition, and excel in your niche marketplace by overcoming these design techniques.
6. Build a relationship and invest in a professional design company
It can be difficult to navigate all of the different aspects of design, product development, packaging, or establishing a successful start-up business.
Not to mention, it can be overwhelming to conquer the thousands of little tasks, including all of the design techniques, to be successful when launching a product into the marketplace for the first time.
Discover professional designers who can help you with every step of the process, by minimizing design catastrophes. Learn more by discovering How to Best Utilize Product Development Companies.
By utilizing premium graphic and product design services and expertise in the industry, your product or dream company can become a reality, relatively quickly.
Easy flat-rate subscription pricing can save you money and time upfront, so you can focus on what really matters – solving a problem for your customers and making them happy.
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I am VP of Design at Jupiter Design and have over 25 years of design experience with companies both large and small, including Hasbro and Sevan Design & Marketing for many years. I am a leader in cutting edge packaging, product and branding design trends and have led the development of thousands of successful current and past products in retail.