10 Graphic Design Tips for Small Businesses

Design is more important than ever, especially for small businesses trying hard to compete with bigger brands that have larger budgets. Today, good design isn’t optional; it’s essential to survive in a competitive world.

You know that your branding and visual content are crucial components of your marketing strategy. But with limited resources and budget, it can be difficult to create professional-looking designs that will help your business stand out. Here are 10 graphic design tips for small businesses that will help you create eye-catching visuals and elevate your brand:

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1. Keep it Simple

When it comes to design, less is often more. Keep your designs clean and simple, with a clear focus on your message. Avoid cluttering your designs with too many elements or fonts that could distract from your message.

2. Know your design’s objective

It's important to start every design project with a clear objective in mind. Objectives provide structure and help validate the success of a project. Before beginning a design, it's crucial to identify the specific objective you want to achieve. Do you want to increase sales or raise brand awareness, for example? By defining your objective early on, you'll be better equipped to create a design that's both effective and appropriate for your needs.

3. Choose a Cohesive Colour Palette (and stick to it)

Your colour palette sets the tone for your brand and should be consistent across all of your visual content. Choose a palette that aligns with your brand values and use it consistently throughout your designs.

  • 92.6% of individuals considered colour as a chief reason to make a purchase decision.
  • 90% of individuals make subconscious judgments based on the colour of products.

If you have brand colour, use them in your designs. United colour of Benetton (UCB) is a brand that uses their brand colour (green) in all their designs. If you don’t have any brand colour, don’t worry! You can use any colour that matches or communicates your brand message. And for that, you need to understand the meaning behind every colour. For example, green represents health, new beginnings, growth, nature, and wealth.

4. Be Consistent with Typography

Like your colour palette, your typography should be consistent across all of your designs. Choose a font that aligns with your brand's personality and use it consistently for headlines, subheadings, and body text.

Once you have finalized a design, it's best to use the same font in all of your graphic designs. Consistency will help your target audience recognize you. Unlike colour, there is no hard and fast rule about the number of fonts you should use in a design, but it's best to stick to a maximum of two fonts.

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5. Create Hierarchy with Size and Colour

Create hierarchy within your designs by using size and colour to draw attention to the most important elements. Use larger font sizes for headlines and bolder colour for important calls to action.

6. Use White Space

In graphic design, white space (also known as negative space) refers to the area between the content and the image. It can be any colour, pattern, texture, or even a background image. Many people think of white space as an empty space, but that's not true! It's a powerful tool that can be used to create balance, contrast, and emphasis within a design.

It's important to keep your designs clean and simple, with a clear focus on your colour. Avoid cluttering your designs with too many elements or fonts that could distract from your message. Additionally, be mindful of the white space in your designs. White space can be any colour, pattern, or even a background image. Generally, white space falls into two categories: active white space and passive white space. Active white space is intentional; it helps the viewer focus on the content area and provides a better layout and structure to the design. On the other hand, passive white space is the default space in between letters and lines of text or borders that make it readable.

FedEx is a great example of a brand that uses negative space in its logo design. If you look closely at the logo, you'll find a hidden arrow between the letters E and X. By following these design tips, you can create professional-looking visuals that will help your small business stand out. Remember, your branding and visual content are key components of your marketing strategy, so take the time to invest in your design efforts.

7. Keep it Legible

Make sure your designs are easy to read by choosing legible fonts and a font size that is appropriate for your audience. Avoid using cursive or script fonts that can be difficult to read, especially at smaller sizes.

8. Take inspiration from successful companies

Successful companies like Nike, Apple, and Starbucks understand the importance of investing in great design. Their iconic logos convey their history, values, and products/services. These companies know that design is a universal language.

As Steve Jobs once said, "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." Before creating a design for your business, take inspiration from the most successful companies and find out how you can create meaningful design. But while taking inspiration from others, make sure you don't copy their designs.

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9. Be Mindful of Composition

Composition refers to the arrangement of elements within your design. Be mindful of how your design elements are arranged and use the rule of thirds to create balance and visual interest.

10. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with your designs! Try new colour palettes, fonts, and compositions to keep your visual content fresh and engaging. Just make sure your experiments align with your brand values and messaging.

Entrepreneurs may find design confusing and time-consuming. But investing the time to create impressive design will show your audience that you care about your branding. In the end, it’s your brand. No one else knows more about your business goals, objectives, and the message you want to convey to your audience better than you.

And if you feel overwhelmed or just need help and or hand off the work, we at Made by Campfire are ready to help with all your design needs from print to digital! Fire up the dial-up and let’s work together on your next project! Contact us at

Don’t hesitate to experiment with your design skills to come up with innovative ideas. After all, graphic design is all about experimentation and exploration.

Before we head off though!

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