The other day I was giving a friend a few suggestions for something she had designed, and an idea came to me: what if I did quick redesigns on amateur work and gave design/layout tips in the process? Most people encounter graphic design projects, both at work and in their personal lives, in the form of invitations, signs, cards, banners, etc. The tips I will discuss are mainly for beginners, and can be applied to many types of software (or even markers and posterboard).
So as not to overload this post, I have started a disclaimers page in case I decide to make this a regular feature. Have a look. Now let's dive in to this first design!
A friend of mine graciously volunteered this PowerPoint slide that she made for work. Like many people, she has ended up in charge of creating slides and other publicity pieces in her job even though she's not a designer. I think this is a common situation. Thank you, M, for letting me make a few changes to your slide!
[ETA: I forgot to mention that I did not design this in PowerPoint--generally I design slides in another program (like InDesign or PhotoShop) so I have control over how they show up on other computers. If I want some text editable to anyone with PowerPoint, I'll just add that after designing the more permanent parts.]
Okay, I'll just point out some of the main changes and why I did them.
1. An important part of design is to grab the viewers attention with something that'll keep them reading. The most interesting thing this slide has to say is that there is a game night. The rest of the details, important as they are, are secondary, and shouldn't steal the show. They only matter to people who actually have an interest in that sort of event. Therefore, I let "Game Night" be large and central enough to draw the eye first.
2. In this particular case it was simple for me to use the same slide background, so I did so for the sake of easy comparison. (In some makeovers I might have to change the pictures used.) Any number of designs and colors would work on such a slide, and this one works fine. But if I were going to be spending more time on it, I'd possibly find a background that was more game-related.
3. I flipped the background to be a mirror image of itself. Why? This might just be preference, but I tend to think a border design like this works better on the left. I think one reason is because we all start reading on the left, and it helps comfortably guide the eye instead of drawing it over past the wording and then making it backtrack.
4. Choosing a font can be a huge task. My coworkers and I often lament what a pain it is to find exactly what we're looking for. It's easy to spend too much time on it, but there are definitely things to consider in choosing an appropriate font. That information could be a post (or book) on its own, so for now I'll just say that I went with something very basic and clean here, and I chose something with a round feel to reflect the roundness of the polka dot design.
5. I removed unnecessary text. I only include things like "when" and "where" when it's adding to the design or if the information is confusing without the labels.
6. I added a few dots to the right to give it balance and frame the message. It felt a little heavy on the left, so this particular background was simple enough that I could add some circles on the right in the same color. The large green dot to the right of "Game" attracts the eye to the title more than itself, which is handy.
Okay, so those are the basic changes. Any questions? I tried to stay concise, though I don't know if I succeeded. :)
If you have a piece you'd like to submit for me to possibly makeover, please email it to me at jessica @ greengatephoto.com. Thanks!