Daily Archives: October 9, 2020

Graphic Design 101: Marketing and Data Visualization Tips for the Non-Designer

I ‘attended’ another SLA2020 session today. Sarah DeWitt, a former graphic designer talked about graphic design for the non-graphic designer. This was another 30 minute session, which I am beginning to appreciate more and more. The session covered:

  • How to create a layout
  • Choosing fonts
  • Choosing colors
  • Information visualization

Grids, type and color are the three most important components of a design.

I have created forms, signs and marketing pieces in the past. I have never been afraid of leaping in and just doing it, but I thought this session would help me improve my skills.

The first tip she had, which made a lot of sense, was to visualize your information in a grid. Why didn’t I think of that?

Sarah talked about fonts and noted that Serif fonts are primarily used in print while Sans Serif fonts are used more frequently on websites. I find that interesting and will need to think about it some more. It is good to know that I should just use one or two fonts in my design, but I can mix up the look by including bold, italics or regular fonts in the final product. Size is also useful.

Ms. DeWitt talks about Lorem Ipsum text, which we all have seen as it is used as a placeholder for text. I didn’t know much more than that and the presenter gave a brief overview. She included the information that there are generators that could be used when you need text, but don’t have the final version yet.

Another tip had to do with spacing. It was interesting to see how space between columns could make text easier to read without looking like the designer had intentional put a big space in the text.

Color was also covered, though Sarah said that she didn’t have time in the presentation to do the topic justice. I thought she did a great job. One aspect of color that she talked about was evoking mood with colors.

i was impressed that Sarah covered color blindness in the section on color. I have never heard a presentation on color mention color blindness. It is an important topic and I am glad she talked about it. Coblis is a color blindness simulator you can use to test how your colors look to those with a variety of different types of color blindness.

Other important components of a design are:

  • simplicity and white space
  • alignment
  • focal point
  • flow
  • repetition

These tips or components track with design classes I have taught.

Information visualization, such as Infographics, were also discussed. Information visualization is a way to help us think about and understand data. In information visualization, less is more. One of the examples used a treemap example. I was interested to see how that type of graphic showed proportion.

Towards the end of the session, Sarah includes a list of free and subscription based resources. A couple that I had never heard of were Google Data Studio for information visualizations, Unsplash for images, and Gimp, which is design software.

For a 30 minute session, this one was packed with useful and easily understandable information.