December 16, 2014 | Casey Owens

Graphic Design Tips and Tricks We Use Every Day

Graphic Design Tips and Tricks We Use Every Day

As a graphic designer, I'm constantly looking for different graphic design tips and tricks to improve my processes, better my designs, and save time.

Some of the most useful tips aren't anything fancy, but just help you improve essential elements of your designs. Along those lines, here are a few basic tips and tricks that I use on a daily basis.

Graphic Design Tip #1: Choose a Font Palette

Choosing a Font PaletteWhen you're starting a design, you need to pick typefaces that are going to work well together, not just the ones you like.

Pick a font that stands out for your titles and headers, but for your subtitles and body content you want to pick a simple font that is visually appealing and easily readable. I like to use Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit when picking my font palette.

One cool tool that I have found is typegenius, which helps you pick complementary fonts. All you have to do is type in the font that you want to use, and it will generate a range of fonts that work well with it and show you real-life examples!


Graphic Design Tip #2: Use Contrasting Colors

Use Contrasting ColorsColor selection is a science as much as it is an art. When picking background colors and font colors for your design, use contrasting colors.

This will help your text stand out from the background or any accompanying images. A good rule of thumb is if you have a light background you’ll want to have a dark-colored text, and vice versa.



Graphic Design Trick #1: High-Quality Images, Small Files!

You want smaller file sizes, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality of image quality... so what do you do? One trick I use on a daily basis is to save my images as PNGs and then compress them. Once I’ve created my image in Photoshop and I’m ready to save it out I use File > Save As, instead of File > Save for Web.

It is important that you do it this way because Photoshop does its own compression when saving for web which can keep the next step from working well.

Once I have saved my file, I upload it to This useful site compresses the file to a much smaller size than Photoshop can, helping my images load faster on the web.

Saving high quality images with a small file size with tinypng


Graphic Design Trick #2: Transform Images, Protect Quality

When you create, copy, or paste images in Photoshop it is a good rule of thumb to convert them to a "Smart Object." A Smart Object can be resized, warped, and transformed without destroying the original image.

If you don’t do this, the image will lose data when you resize or warp it, making the image less sharp than it was originally. In Photoshop, you can do this by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel and selecting "Convert to a Smart Object," or you can select the layer and go to the menu bar Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Transform images to smart objects to preserve quality

I hope these graphic design tips and tricks are helpful to you. If you have any tips or tricks you use on a daily basis, please share those in the comments!

Here's another helpful graphic design "shortcut"—use to-the-pixel templates to make custom images for your social media profiles!

Social Media Image Sizes Guide and Templates


Casey Owens

Casey Owens

As a UI/UX specialist, Casey was responsible for consulting on the user interface and user experience elements of all of VIEO's web designs. He also managed PPC campaigns for our clients, working directly with a Google representative to get the best results with the client's budget.

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