Graphic Design made in Santa Barbara

Graphic design often gets confused with web design, illustration and photo editing. We do all of these things at Lakrits, but let’s go over how graphic design can specifically help your business.

 

So if Graphic Design isn’t web design, Illustration or Photo Editing, what is it?

Good question. Graphic design is visual communication through the correct use of typography, space, image, and color. It’s almost like you can think of graphic design as a room; the fonts, images, and colors are the furniture pieces in the room and the goal is to arrange the furniture in an aesthetically pleasing way. Similarly, in graphic design, the tasteful combination of fonts, colors, images, and space are employed to produce a visual representation of an idea or message.

 

What are some good Graphic Design practices?

In our experience, there is not one rule or method that works to make a successful graphic design. Again, think back to the room metaphor; each room is different, and in the same way, each client or project has a different set of goals and attributes. Problem solving is part of the graphic design process and that’s what we do to create powerful and impactful visual communication. However, there are a few elements to consider when achieving a effective design:

Space
Space is a vital part of any good graphic design, yet in our opinion, it is commonly underutilized. Space is the area around the elements in a design. It can be used to separate or group information. Use it effectively to give the eye a rest, define importance and lead the eye to where you want it to travel. If you let your designs and images “breath” more, it is more likely that it will stand out and attract more interest. Instead of trying to squeeze all your information into your landing page, why not remove the clutter and give the page more space and an airy feel. I guarantee you it will make the page look more modern and clean, and it will be easier to focus on your message. Less is truly more.

 

Typography
Typography is a powerful tool, yet similar to space, the use of fonts is another underestimated element of creating a successful graphic design. When used effectively, the right fonts command attention, elicit emotions, and create a voice for your brand. What type of message are you trying to communicate and is your style of font aligned with that message? To give you an idea of how big of a difference the use of font (and color) can be, look at these two ads from Apple. One uses Times New Roman and the other uses the font family Myriad Set Pro. Quite a big difference, right? Words are important, but the style of the words is equally essential.

 

Color
As Scandinavians, we love using lots of white, and believe there is elegance in simplicity. Color is a personal taste, but a general rule of thumb is to not combine too many colors and variety in your design. Stick with a maximum of 3 to 4 colors and try to be consistent with the use of these colors. For example, if at the top of the web page your title is a shade of blue, avoid switching the color of the titles to green further down on the same web page. In the same way, don’t overdue it on multiple background colors, commit to a simple palette.

When we are choosing colors for projects, we like to take inspiration from the surroundings or the industry itself. For example, when we worked on creating the website for Old Mission Santa Barbara, we wanted the site to have a welcoming, calming, and slightly feminine feel, since it is nicknamed, the “Queen of Missions.”  We chose a soft coral to be our main color on the site; it highlights the similar color used in the historical architecture yet also evokes a fresh and contemporary aesthetic. You may notice we have used white effectively on the site, but it is not especially dominant. Design should be influenced by the culture and color palette of where we live, and in this case, too much white on a website for a historic Santa Barbara building would not have made sense.

graphic-design-2

graphic-design-1

Summary

In as few words as possible, successful graphic design is when you correctly combine the color, typography, space, and symbols or images to effectively communicate a message or idea. At Lakrits, we believe great design is clear, functional and timeless. We honor these principles and engage our clients’ companies in Santa Barbara and around the world to create compelling designs and effective websites.

We hope this article gives you a better idea of what graphic design is and how you can improve your own work. If you are interested in having us look at your own graphic design, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love helping out local businesses in Santa Barbara, but wherever you call home, we are happy to help you out!