Graphic design is the icing on your brand cake. The cake may be delicious, but if the icing looks unappetising, no one will take a bite. Follow these 10 rules to ensure your design encourages your audience to devour your message.


1. Get briefed

Graphic design is about proposing solutions. You’ll need clear objectives to do that.

2. Refer to your brand guidelines

These guidelines are your design toolkit. Use them to do something surprising but in keeping with the tone of your brand.

3. Read the copy

Spend five minutes before you start laying it out to engage with the messages. It will pay off.

4. Establish a hierarchy

Decide which parts of the copy should stand out and which should stand back. Treat them consistently so the right message is promoted.

5. Choose fonts carefully

Use a hero font, a workhorse font, and, if needed, a complementary font. Any more than that will result in work that’s too busy to be effective.

6. Treat your logo with respect

Your logo is the king, so always show it at its best. Ensure you use the right version for your output and never, ever distort it.

7. Kern, kern, kern

Bad kerning smushes letters up against each other or leaves large gaps. Take the time to kern and you’ll maximise your message.

8. Grids are your friends

Grid lines line up your copy, imagery and other elements in a systematic way.

9. Don’t go crazy on colour

Work from your brand’s colour palette, but don’t use all of the palette every time. Use colour to reinforce the tone.

10. Watch your line lengths

The shorter the line length, the easier the copy is to read. Shorten your lines and ensure there is consistency along the line lengths.

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