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How do: Design Basics

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Fokkusu avatar Fokkusu
Retired Moderator
Level 43 : Master Fox
I write this with intentions of educating some of the lesser informed users, not to patronise those who try. Also because I haven't posted anything for awhile. Credit goes to OliverFrenchie for the idea.


Colour is essentially, very important. If you use the wrong ones the entire piece can look wrong. This also recalls back to my years in school when designing forms. Do NOT use light on light or dark on dark when using text on a background. It makes it hard to read and can strain the eyes. A common example would be red and either blue or green. Red and green do in fact work well together, but not when they are the same lightness. (That probably isn't the correct term). The idea of using text is normally to get a message across like "Hey, my server is awesome". If the user/audience struggles to read the text then that will reflect upon your product. The more you do for people, the happier they shall be. If you are trying to get a message across you would naturally want the text to stand out from the background. Using light text on a dark background achieves this, or vice versa. It also makes it easier to read, ignoring choice of font and colour.

When choosing colours you should take your target audience into consideration. For example if you were targeting something at a younger audience, using dark and 'gloomy' colours probably isn't your best bet. We'll also use the stereotypical example of using pinks, purples and reds when trying to appeal to females. (Don't hate me for using that example). Though I would be surprised if anyone designing a post on this website would take these things into consideration.

I would like to clearly state that bold, loud and eye catching colours are not always the best choice, personally I appreciate a minimalistic approach to designs. Rather than stating some colours that work well together, I'll leave that to you, to analysis colours you see and how they work or how they do not work.


Hey, minecraft related submission, why not use the Minecraft font?! In short, it's been done a thousand times before, it's over used, dead, annoying. No. So not that font ok, how about Comic Sans? NO. Comic sans is only suitable for writing invitations for a child's birthday party. While we're here, don't use any tacky fonts, please. They suck.

When picking a font, please think of the audience. Pick something that is clean, easily read and not a pain to try and understand. Some personal favourites of mine:

  • Harabara
  • Bebas
  • Century Gothic
  • Hand of Sean

Those are the main fonts I use for a variety of things, from bold titles to small details on work. For example, Bebas is a large, bold font which I use for titles, Hand of Sean or Century Gothic I would use for noting detail and smaller writings.

Using Blur:

If you so decide to use the blur tool to make something fade into the background or stand out please do not over-do it. Think about why you are using the affect, do you want to make something stand out? or completely distort the backdrop? Sometimes, it is best to just blur the background slightly rather than making it look like a dog just had its way with a glass pane.

Drop Shadow:

You're all guilty of this. Use and abuse. Stop. Does that text really need a shadow? Probably not. Did you know, 500% of drop shadows are not actually needed? Inner shadow has the same affect, spam spam spam. Stop. Again, it's probably not needed. Just because you can give something a shadow and give it another perspective doesn't meant you should.

Fun fact:

I was very upset with anything I made because I felt it was too 'flat' and I needed to launch my designs into the third dimension. After playing with cinema 4D I returned to my 2D ways and continued happily. I like flat. I actually dislike 3D affects most of the time!

Bevel and emboss:

Are you starting to pick up on a theme? Stop using so many effects? Good, you're learning. Yes, this effect is very pretty and can work very well, but overuse makes it just.... not so special any more.

I think by now, you should get the point I'm trying to convey to you. Stop using so many un-needed effects for images. Whereas a 'bad' image says "I didn't try" an overdone one screams "GUESS WHO JUST FOUND PHOTOSHOP". Yeah, other peoples' perspectives are important, pay attention to them.

Now, why should you listen to me? You tell me. Did I make sense? I am an Interactive media student. I am studying a BTEC, which is equivalent to an A level. I get about 3 of them. I haven't studied visual communication or anything to specifically give me an 'edge' in graphic design, but I do pay attention. I also hate all these low quality images!

Gimme all the love pls. lolololol.
CreditOliverFrenchie - Idea, Retrovoxels - spell checker

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03/14/2015 3:17 am
Level 81 : Elite Fox
CraftyFoxe avatar
So cute fokkusu
04/17/2013 9:58 pm
Level 42 : Master uwu
mrjrbacon avatar
Great tips. I'll keep them in mind when I use Photoshop.
03/13/2013 2:13 pm
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
Rockstargman14 avatar
dude im sorry to say but there is alot easier ways to do all this, your tips kinda suck
03/13/2013 2:17 pm
Level 43 : Master Fox
Fokkusu avatar
To do what?
03/13/2013 2:24 pm
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
Rockstargman14 avatar
alot of the tips you gave is just your opinion, not what the public like
03/13/2013 2:36 pm
Level 43 : Master Fox
Fokkusu avatar
I'm open to peoples' opinion, but in this case yours is wrong. As it a lot of peoples. E.g the people this blog was aimed at.
03/13/2013 2:38 pm
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
Rockstargman14 avatar
im telling you all the tips are setting people up for failure.
03/13/2013 3:23 pm
Level 43 : Master Fox
Fokkusu avatar
Care to explain why?
12/05/2012 4:57 am
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Nerd
RedJohnxS avatar
k kewl.
12/03/2012 9:05 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Artist
the3rdnumber avatar
Nice mate, there was need for some education out there... :P
12/02/2012 9:16 pm
Level 55 : Grandmaster Engineer
peonftw avatar
This is gud.
+ Respect.
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