Things You'll Need
Pencil and paper
Photo or illustration, optional
Graphic designs are visual artwork created to communicate a message with words, images, colors and shapes. Graphic designers use a variety of typefaces, or fonts, for words in their designs, called typography. They use photos and illustrated images in their designs. Most graphic designs today are digital, created on computers. The elements of the graphic design are arranged in an attractive manner using specialized graphics software. Once the digital graphic design is complete, it may be printed with a computer printer, or sent to a commercial printer.
Prepare your design idea with pencil and paper. Decide what words, images, colors and shapes to use in your digital graphic design. Use the pencil to make a few rough sketches of how your design should look. Try several different layouts, combining the typography, images and shapes in an attractive manner that effectively communicates your message. Color information may be noted to the side of the rough sketch, or added using color pencils. These are quick sketches to develop your design idea, not finished designs.
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Turn on your computer and open a file in a graphics program. Among the more popular graphic design programs are InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator from the Adobe software company, and Corel Graphics Suite. Open Office Draw may be downloaded for free (see Resources).
Name the file and save it. Type in the words you will use in your design. Select a font for the words. Resize the words and place them according to your rough pencil sketch. Select a new color for the words if indicated in your rough sketch. Your words have become typography for the purpose of your digital graphic design.
Import any existing photo or illustration files you need into your digital graphics file using the design software's "Import File" feature. If you only have a hard copy of the photo, use a scanner to create a digital file. After importing, resize as needed and position in your design as per your rough pencil sketch. You may also simply open the photo or illustration file, copy it and paste it directly into your digital graphics file.
Use the tab features in the design software to add graphic and color elements as per your rough pencil sketch. Borders may be added to photos, for example. A variety of shapes may be added and colorized as needed.
Print out a copy of your digital graphic design to check it. Make changes as desired. Print your final copy or copies, or copy your project onto a CD or memory card and have it commercially printed. In some cases, you may be able to email the project directly to a commercial printer.
Some graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Graphics suite allow the shape of type to be manipulated. For example, type may be set on a curve or a circle. Type itself also may be converted to curves, which allows the shape of each letter to be changed. These features are useful in logo design. Simple digital graphic designs may be executed in word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and Open Office Writer.
If you send your digital graphic design to a commercial printer, ask to see samples of the printer's work to check quality. Get a price quote before placing an order. Ask to see a proof before approving your design for production.