The key to a great shop sign is a great image. As one of the first things prospective customers will see, it is important to make a good first-impression. How to get a great image, however, is the tricky part. Graphic design does not always come naturally to people, either because they’re not sure exactly what they want to see, or because they know exactly what they want to see but have no idea how to realize it. The best practices in graphic design, therefore, often look at ways of countering these problems, while at the same time offering new ways to exploit the natural talents and strengths of the designer.
So here are some of graphic design’s best practices to help you get started on your new designs for your signs, and thus present the best face for your store.
Despite what dismissive peers may have you believe, there is a lot more to graphic design than merely drawing things. It can actually be rather difficult, so if you find yourself struggling then don’t worry. If you fuss and stress about the problem, you’ll only make it worse and not better.
If you find yourself at a point where continuing is just making you feel rotten, then by all means step away. Sometimes the best practice when struggling is just to let yourself cool off, refresh, and try again when you are feeling more at ease.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Of course, like any skill graphic design does take practice. If you do not, then you’ll quickly find it harder to get the designs you want, and your overall execution will be rusty to boot. Whenever you are not actively designing a new sign or banner, do take time just to sit around and keep drawing and designing anyway. Set yourself little projects, such as creating a banner for a store that sells a particular item. Also regularly draw things around you. Doing you will help you master basic shapes and patterns, which come in handy later when you start drawing for major professional projects.
Nothing motivates a person more than having someone to set themselves against. We do not want you to become petty and jealous, of course, and we especially do not recommend trying to “beat” the opposition. What we mean instead is to use the standards other people have set as a marker for your progress.
Say, for example, you spot a shop sign design that catches your eye. Ask yourself always: “If I was drawing that, how could I have executed it more effectively?”
Entering into actual competitions is also very useful in improving your skills in graphic design. If you find any design contests in your area, be sure to enter them. Having the challenge of other opponents who want the prize you do can often be an excellent drive towards discovering new talent and unrealized strengths.
Study Other People’s Work
Take the time to go to an art gallery and look at the things other people have produced. This practice allows you to get an idea of what you could be capable of, as well as allow you to study the works and techniques of other designers and artists. This is a valuable experience and can significantly broaden your understanding of graphic design. It may also inspire you in your own projects, which is immensely useful if you find yourself unsure how to proceed with a current project.
Online, many artists also offer to broadcast them at work live or through videos on Youtube as well. Taking time to watch how they work can give you new ideas on how to tackle aspects of graphic design, as well as allowing you to ask them questions about their work personally if it’s a live stream.
Don’t be Afraid to Imitate
Along with this, don’t be afraid to imitate what an artist has done as well. If you noticed a way they drew or designed a particular shape that you find easier, more enjoyable, or just plain more effective to do, then by all means ape it. Likewise, if you just like their visual style, there is nothing at all wrong with working that design into your future work. They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery after all.
Of course, there is a difference between imitation and plagiarism. It is fine to be inspired and draw influence from artists and designers you like. However, don’t lift things from them wholesale. Use them as an inspiration and drive for originality and creativity, not a crutch or a replacement.
One last practice to help you in your graphic design – do something different. Nothing will stifle your creativity like doing the same thing over and over. Branch out a little and do something you do not usually do. If you mostly do images for shop signs, for example, do a comic. If you mostly do cartoony things, try some still life. If you mostly work with colors, try something monochrome. This can help you break out of creative ruts and into some new. It may also help you realize talents you never thought you had before.
It is also good for a working portfolio. Prospective patrons will want to see that you can be varied when called upon, and it opens up new doors and new avenues for you. It is good to specialize, but sometimes versatility is equally valuable.