How to Design if You’re Not a Designer

How to design if you’re not a designer

I get it. When you’re running a business, you have to be so careful with your budget.. Sometimes hiring a designer just isn’t an option. So I thought I’d help you out, and give you some advice for how to make your design look professional when you’re doing it for yourself.

So, here are my five top tips for how to go about designing for yourself and do it well:


Don’t overcomplicate it

Don’t try and bite off more than you can chew! The simpler the design, the easier it’ll be to make it look professional and give clients a good impression. Cluttered designs look amateur, and mean that often the message gets lost. You want your design to look good from both close up and far away, and often the simpler designs have a lot more impact. One of the mistakes that people most often make is using a busy background and putting text over the top, making it hard to read and consequently losing its punch. Whatever you do, don’t throw everything at the page! Less is more. Think about successful companies, and the design they use – the designs that have the most impact are simple, with high contrast and well thought-out layouts. Good design is as much about the ‘white space’ as it is about the things that fill it.


Take advantage of free help

I’m not saying that you should all go out and do long training courses, but it can’t hurt to get some knowledge both before and during your design process. Especially since there’s a vast wealth of free help online. From great Youtube videos to really helpful blogs, there’s so much available to help. Do take advantage of the other Ocean Breeze Creative blogs, and I’d especially recommend taking a look at my e-book – it’s 12 pages filled with tips and tricks to help you make your design look amazing when you’re doing it yourself. Download it here.


Find inspiration

If you’re not a designer, one of the best things you can do is to do some research. Have a good look at the equivalent designs that businesses in your industry are producing. Pick your favourites, work out what it is you like about them, and take particular note of the kind of imagery, colours, fonts and tone of voice that they use. Don’t copy them, but there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration and finding out what your clients will expect from a professionally-produced piece of design! You can also work out what you can do that’ll make your designs stand out against your competitors.


Ask others

If you’re not confident with designing, one of the best things you can do is ask someone else’s thoughts. Design 3 or 4 options and see which your friends like best. Or, even better, find someone who’s within your target audience, and see what they think. It’s often hard to view your designs objectively when you’ve been looking at the same thing for a while, so getting some fresh eyes on the design is really helpful.


Choose your software carefully

One of the best ways of making your designs look professional is to use the right tools. There are programs that are made specifically for design, so it’s worth using them if you can. The Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.) is the industry standard, and has so many features and is really powerful. Anything you are likely to want to do, you’ll be able to do on these programs. They have so many features that make designing quick and easy. I do, however, know that these programs are pretty expensive, so there are a few other options. You could try something like canva – a free website that gives you templates and helpful features to make designing really simple and easy if you’re a novice. Whatever you use, do make sure that it’s something that’s created for designing on – don’t just go for Microsoft Word! It’ll make your life a lot more difficult and it’ll be a lot harder to make something that looks amazing!



There you have it! My five top tips to help you make amazing designs that look professional and attract lots of lovely new clients. I really hope it helps you. And, as ever, you know where I am if you need anything designed for you.


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