Digital Design for Non-Designers | Mary Ingrassia | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (57m)
    • 1. Digital Design for Non-Designers Promo

    • 2. Lecture 1: Equipment & Software

    • 3. Lecture 2: Copyright

    • 4. Lecture 3: File Types

    • 5. Lecture 4: Setting up your work file

    • 6. Lecture 5: Layers

    • 7. Lecture 6: Basic Tools

    • 8. Lecture 7: Typography

    • 9. Lecture 8: Color

    • 10. Lecture 9: Image Adjustments & Filters

    • 11. Lecture 10: Background Removal

    • 12. Lecture 11: Style & Layout Design Tips

    • 13. Lecture 12: Branding

    • 14. Lecture 13: Designing for Social Media

    • 15. Lecture 14: Photopea

    • 16. Lecture 15: Final Advice

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About This Class

Looking to learn the basics of creating digital designs for your social media posts or channels, but art or graphic design isn’t your specialty? You’ve come to the right place!

If you don’t have a graphic design department or you’re an entrepreneur just getting started with your own social media channel, brand or website, you don’t need to outsource graphic design work if you know how to do it yourself!

I have a B.F.A in Computer Graphics, and over 8 years of freelancing experience with graphic design & video production.

With this course I aim to teach the basics of graphic design in the digital world, from the technical aspects to the creative elements involved.

So whether you want to make your own social media post graphics, cover images, web designs, advertisements, ebook covers, twitch overlays/intros/offline screens or buttons, this course can help you get started on your creative journey!


  • How to Create Digital Graphics
  • Basic Image Copyright Information
  • Image File Type Differences
  • Basic Design Tools in Pixlr - A Free Browser Based Photo Editor
  • Layers
  • Typography Design: How to use the right fonts to create better designs
  • Color: The psychology & meaning behind colors and how to use it in design
  • Image Adjustments & Filters
  • Basic Background Removal
  • Style, Layout & Branding Tips

Meet Your Teacher

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Mary Ingrassia

Promote Yourself, Engage Your Audience


I have a B.F.A in Computer Graphics, and have been working as a Freelance Graphic Designer & Video Producer for over 9 years. I am a Top Rated Super Seller on Fiverr & a Certified Ambassador for both Fiverr & PowToon. I've have created thousands of Whiteboard & Explainer animations. I am passionate about being creative, and I hope to pass on my experience & knowledge to you!

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1. Digital Design for Non-Designers Promo: Looking to learn the basics of creating digital designs for your social media posts or channels. But art or graphic design isn't your specialty. You've come to the right place. If you don't have a graphic design department or you're an entrepreneur just getting started with your own social media channel, brand or website. You don't need to outsource graphic design work if you know how to do it yourself. My digital design for non designers course, I aim to teach the basics of graphic design in the digital world, from the technical aspects to the creative elements involved. I have a BFA in computer graphics and over eight years of freelancing experience with graphic design and video production. So whether you want to make your own social media post graphics, cover images, twitch overlays, intros, offline screens or buttons. This course can help you get started on your creative journey. 2. Lecture 1: Equipment & Software: As long as you are working with photographs, basic text, and simple image files, most laptops and PCs can handle the graphic work you're looking to do. I'll be focusing on free tools in this course, since those are the most accessible to beginners, personally, I use most of the Adobe suite of programs which tend to have more advanced capabilities, but it's not free. So for the purposes of this course, the free tools will work just fine. You can, of course, use whichever programs you have access to. But this course isn't meant to be a tutorial for any one specific program, but rather a broader explanation of basic functions that are found in most graphic design software. A lot of the basic functionality I will discuss is available in mostly all of the different graphic design programs. The only major differences are where these functions are located within the user interface of each program. Basically, it's layout difference. So for example, maybe the main tools are located on the right-hand side in one program, but on the left and another. And some of the more basic programs won't include more advanced functions like layers, filters, et cetera. In this course, I'll mostly be working with Pixlr II, which is a free advanced browser-based photo editor. So there's no need to download any software. It works right in your browser. It can be found at slash E. For the purposes of this course, this will be our free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. I suggest signing up for a free account. This way you can save the work you do. There's also a Pixlr mobile app for Android and Apple phones as well. However, there are actually a lot of photo editing apps on mobile phones and I actually recommend Photoshop Express or the Polish app. Again, there are a lot out there, so you can try whichever ones look interesting to you. All of them mostly have the same basic features and they each have different filters, effects, and graphics you can place over images. The free apps are ad supported, and if you want to pay for a pro version, it's usually a pretty reasonable price depending on the app. And most of the time, the extra effects and functions are available with their paid version as well. If you plan on doing a lot of image editing on the go, I highly suggest trying one of these apps out. If you're looking to take things a step further and looking for a program with more advanced capabilities. Gimp is a downloadable graphics editor program that is basically your free version of Adobe Photoshop. And Inkscape is the free vector graphics editing and creation program, which is like Adobe Illustrator. I'll be explaining what vector images are later on in this course. I'm not going to be using these programs in this course, but they are definitely worth mentioning as they are the most popular free equivalents to Photoshop and Illustrator. The topics I'll be covering in this course can also help you in using these programs and similar programs as well. 3. Lecture 2: Copyright : Before getting started, it's best to know some basic copyright knowledge when it comes to using graphics. The easiest way to put this is just don't use images that don't belong to you or aren't marked as Creative Commons or public domain. Copyright law is meant to protect artists from unauthorized copying and usage of their work. If you use an artist's work without their permission, that is a violation of the copyright law and is considered copyright infringement. If you can't verify where an image is coming from, you should avoid using it. Especially if you are planning to advertise or monetize your channel. The only time it's okay to use an image ripped from the web without verifying its copyright is only for personal use or practice. Let's go over some of the copyright terms you'll need to know. Attribution is when you give credit to an artist or a creator of a work. Some works and licenses you will see, will say, requires attribution. This means if you use this image, you will need to display certain details where you use that image. Usually it's the title, author, source, and licensed name. Texts can be small and underneath where the image is used. If an image says no attribution required, you are not required to display that credit information where you used that image. Commercial use. You may see things like for commercial use, which means you can incorporate the image within something that you might profit from, or even within an advertisement you created. If something is listed as non-commercial use, only, you'll want to steer clear of using that unless you are using that image for personal use. Royalty-free. This refers to a work that may be used without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use. When it comes to graphics, photographs and illustrations are royalty free license allows a user to use that image without many restrictions based on paying a onetime fee to the creator or licensor of the work. Sometimes royalty-free images are even free and costs nothing to use depending on the details of a website's license. So a royalty-free image can be used in multiple projects without having to pay for additional licenses. Creative Commons. This is a free license for creators to use, to allow their work to be used by the public. There are a bunch of variations on the Creative Common license, which can be viewed at the official Creative Commons website. Creative slash licenses, public domain. This license refers to work that is not protected by copyright or trademark. The public actually owns these works, not an individual or artist. This happens when the rights on a work have expired or have been waived. Most websites that offer images for download will explain the license terms on their website somewhere or even on each individual image page. Here's a list of some of my favorite websites., free commercial use images for print and digital work. Attribution is not required and modifications are okay. Pixabay has photograph, vector style images and even some video clips. They don't allow reselling of someone else's Pixabay work. Portraying identifiable people in a bad way or a defensible way, or using images with identifiable brands to create misleading association with that product or brand., free stock photos and videos by various creators. All photos and videos on pixels are free to use. Attribution is not required and modification is okay on High resolution photos for everyone with similar license rules to Pixabay search dot from the Creative Common license creators themselves. With this site, you can filter your results by licensed type, file type and more. Pics, this site features photographs marked as public domain. There's a lot that is involved in copyright law, and there is actually a lot of variations of licenses out there. Make sure to either stick to the websites I mentioned or pay close attention to the licenses on other websites and images out there. Or of course, if you make your own image entirely from scratch, you're good to go. 4. Lecture 3: File Types: As anyone who has used a computer and dealt with files, I'm sure you know that there are lots of different file types. I'll be focusing on explaining the more common image file types for this course and when to use them. First, let me explain the difference between roster and vector graphics. Roster graphics or any images created using pixels to form an image. Photographs are rasterized graphics. When roster graphics are scaled up larger than their original size, they will start to become blurry as the pixels stretch to try and fill the space. Roster graphics are measured by their pixels per inch or PPI. Resolution is another term you might have heard before. And it actually refers to how many pixels per inch or within an image. A higher resolution means larger image detail, a larger file size, and a higher-quality. It's best not to enlarge a raster style image beyond its original resolution. And you'll want to avoid working with images that are too low resolution to begin with. Programs like Photoshop and other photo editing software deal primarily with roster images. Vector graphics, on the other hand, are made by lines and curves to form shapes. They have an advantage over roster images because they can be scaled up in size without losing any quality. Vector graphics are better for illustrations, icons, logos, and are great for use in print. Adobe Illustrator is the most popular vector graphics software. Vector images can be rasterized and roster images can be vectorized. But in both cases, there will be some information lost in the process. And therefore the converted image will look a bit different. Now that you know the difference between roster and vector graphics, let me explain the most popular image file types and their uses. The common roster graphic files used our JPEG, PNG, GIF, and web P. Jpegs are compressed image files. Most photographs are jpegs. The degree of compression of the image can be tweaked. So for example, you can have a higher-quality image that has a larger file size or a lower quality image at a smaller file size. The choice depends on your needs as smaller files will load quicker on a webpage, for example, and a larger file might take longer to load, but as better quality, JPEGS are the most common digital image format. Did you know that 7 billion JPEG images were created every day in 2015? Pretty much every social media website will accept this type of image format to be uploaded. Pngs are a file format for use on the web rather than print, featuring lossless compression. The great benefit of the PNG format is the ability to incorporate transparency within the file. Transparency is represented by the checkerboard pattern. You'll see within a graphics editing program, if you save a file with a transparent background as a PNG, when you upload that file to a website, there will be no background and the subject and the PNG file will appear with the websites background behind it. Instead. Gif files support transparency and looping video without audio. They are popular for their really small file size. Web P is a newer image format that can allow users to create smaller and higher-quality images to load faster on websites. Next, the common vector image files are SVG and PDF. Svg, or 2D graphics that are vector based and can even support animation. All of the major web browsers have SVG rendering support, making it a popular Vector file format to use on websites. Pdf files are mainly used for things like multiple page documents, brochures and print materials. They can contain vector and raster images while preserving the structure of the document and fonts. They are even used for digital signatures. There are also work type files like PSD for Photoshop and AI for Illustrator files. These files preserve your work and progress, keeping your layers in tact. It's the highest quality of your work. However, these files can't be used as actual images. And lastly, there's MP4 files, which is a video file format that can also include audio. It's one of the most popular video file types that social media pages, except uploads of. It can even store subtitles and still images. You should be able to save your image as the File Type of your choice straight from the graphics editing program you're using. But if you ever need to convert a file to another file type, there are many websites that can do that. One of them being converting o dot CEO. 5. Lecture 4: Setting up your work file: Right when you start a new work file, you'll have a few choices. You can work with an already existing image file or start a new file from scratch. In most programs like Pixlr that I'm using here, you can click and drag an image file to bring it into the program. You can bring it into an already existing file you are working on. Or you can have it be the basis for a new file you are starting. Since Photoshop has more customization and options. First, I'll show you what creating a new file looks like within Photoshop CC. When you click File, then nu, you'll have options to choose from a preset file size or tweak the details. Presets can be helpful if you are looking to make something specific and are unsure of the dimensions or size to use. You can see things like Twitter, post, Instagram, and sometimes more depending on the program you are using. On the right, there are more options to work with. If you have a specific size needed for your project, you can type in the width and height in pixels. Resolution can stay at 72, since that is the default for images on the web, a higher resolution is better for print, usually 300. But of course, this will make a file much larger. As a result, color mode can stay at RGB, since that is the correct mode for viewing digital images on monitors and the web. Rgb stands for red, green, blue. And this mode will show the colors of the document at their brightest and best. Cmyk stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, black. And it is the mode to use for print purposes. You won't want to use this for your digital images, since it will show the colors on a monitor in a more muted and duller tone. This 8-bit setting is the bit depth of an image, which is the computer's way of storing information of the image within the file. You can also keep this on 8-bit, since there is no huge advantage to changing the setting for digital design, a higher bit depth would allow for more extreme color correction of an image. But we'll create a larger file size and slow down your work. Background contents is pretty self-explanatory. It's just your first background-color within that file. If we look at creating a new graphic and Pixlr, you can see it's pretty similar to setting up a Photoshop file. Once you name your project and click Create, you'll be ready to get started. 6. Lecture 5: Layers: Layers are one of the most important tools in graphic design. The easiest way to describe layers is by showing you. Here I have three layers that I named bottom, middle, and top. Bottom. I have towards the bottom of the list. And because of this layer being placed there, anything drawn will appear on top of it. Reordering the layers by clicking and dragging their position will change what is visible on top within your file. You can create new layers, delete layers, even toggled their visibility on or off. You can also lock them if you don't want to accidentally move or edit the contents of that layer, you can change the transparency or visibility of each individual layer. It's also known as opacity. And you can even merge layers together if needed. Blending is also something you can do with layers and some programs. There's a lot of options to choose from that can change the look of your project. And it's something to play around with and experiment with. If you have at least two layers. 7. Lecture 6: Basic Tools: Let's go over the basic tools found in most graphic editing programs. First off, I'll discuss navigation within a program. When you want to zoom in or zoom out while using a PC. The keyboard shortcut Control minus, we'll zoom out. Control plus, we'll zoom in. Or you can use the zoom tool by clicking and dragging the slider to zoom in and out on the canvas. While zoomed in, pressing the space bar will turn your cursor into a hand, which you can then click and drag to move around the canvas. This can help you work on finer details when zoomed in on an image. For mobile apps, typically using two fingers in a pinching gesture on the screen and moving your fingers further apart will magnify what is on screen and moving them closer together. We'll zoom out. When you want to move around the canvas while zoomed in, you can use one finger and drag to move around. However, when using one finger and having a drawing tool selected, it will instead draw on the canvas rather than moving around. To avoid this, using two fingers and dragging will move around the canvas and prevent unwanted drawing. Now let's move on to the basic tools. Hovering over a tool will most likely always tell you what that tool is and even give you a keyboard shortcut for it. When a tool is selected, Sometimes you'll have an area that has additional Tool Settings and functions. The Move tool will allow you to move, scale up or down and rotate the contents of a layer. The crop tool lets you trim your canvas down, which will ultimately changed the resolution of your entire file. The text tool adds a text box to your project in which you type the text you want to appear. You can change its color, change the font, the size, and more spacing, alignment, italics, bold, and more functions are available for editing depending on the program. The Draw tool is pretty self-explanatory. You can sketch on a layer using the color of your choice. In most programs, you can change the brush size, softness, and more and more advanced programs like Photoshop, you can even download additional brushes created by other users to draw a straight line without trying to freehand it. Click one spot on the canvas with the drawing tool selected. Then hold the Shift key. While holding shift, click another spot on the canvas. A straight line will be created with your brush from your first click to your second click. The eraser will remove only the selections you draw over on that particular layer. It will not erase any other graphics on other layers. So make sure you select the correct layer if you need to erase something. The eyedropper tool is handy for picking up exact colors. For example, if you need to know the exact colors of a logo you are working with to use the color elsewhere in a design with the eye dropper tool selected, just hover over the color and click to get a sample of that color. And it will appear as your active color, which you can see here in this swatch area. If you ever need to know the exact color value number or hex code, clicking on the swatch will open up a color picker tool and the hex code number will be shown. You can even copy and paste that number of needed. The magic wand tool allows you to select a certain grouping of pixels by similar color on whichever layer you have selected. It's selection tolerance can be changed. A higher tolerance means it will select more of that color. A lower tolerance will select less. Feathering will smooth out the edges of a selection. Using blur and lower opacity to smooth out rough edges of a selection. The moving dashed lines is showing you what is selected. If you want to make additional selections, holding Shift and clicking will add to what is currently selected. Holding minus and clicking will deselect. The healing tool is good for blemish and spot removal. And finally, the clone tool can draw and copy from other areas of an image. This one is a bit more advanced and works much better in Photoshop than Pixlr. But the idea behind it is that you select a source of the image from which to copy. And then you will be able to paint with that source as your brush. Essentially duplicating the source in another spot. 8. Lecture 7: Typography: Most likely you'll want to incorporate some text into your graphic. Just like with other images on the web, you also have to be careful with copyright issues with fonts, since some fonts require a license to be purchased in order to use my favorite website for free commercial use fonts is font Or you can check out fonts dot Each font has some licensed specifics which can be viewed on the site. Most are readily available on these sites for commercial use with no issues. If you are looking to match your specific font, but are unsure what the actual font is. There are a few sites out there that can attempt to identify it, or at least show you close results to it. Font Squirrel has one at font slash matcher rater. You can upload an image that clearly shows the type and go from there. Typography is the art of arranging text and is essential in most graphic design work. The question you need to ask yourself is, what font do I use? The answer is that it will all depend on the graphic you are working on and what kind of vibe and style you are going for. If you are trying to keep with a certain brand style or guidelines, you might just want to stick to specific fonts that are relevant to accompanies branding. If you have more freedom to choose the font or Fonts, first decide if you need serif style. Fonts in this family are typically more readable when printed out. A serif is the extending features on each letter of this font. Times New Roman is a popular example. Sans Serif. This literally translates to without serifs. These fonts tend to give a more modern and simplistic feeling. They are mostly used on the web as a default font. Script fonts have varied and fluid strokes, much like natural handwriting or a signature. Script, typefaces can evoke a sense of high-class, but some can be a bit hard to read. So it's best to avoid using them in large amounts of text body like a paragraph or long sentences. And then there are really different fonts, like pixelated ones, grunge style, hand-drawn, et cetera. I suggest not using too many fonts and one design. Depending on how much text you need in your design, you might want to stick to two, or at most, three fonts. One font for your title, one font or style for your subtitle or secondary text, and one font or style for your text body. If you have one. Another, option would be to just use one font-style for your entire design, but vary the style for the title text and keeping the secondary texts as a thinner or simpler version of this font. You can bold, italicize, and use uppercase. The title is one aspect that you want to be bigger, readable, yet also stand out at the same time. Here's a few examples of good and bad design with typography. In this first example, I've used a font called Bodoni for the title and subtitle. As you can see, the title is larger and stands out. The subtitle, I've made smaller and italicized it. I think this font works well for this topic since it gives off a classy and sophisticated sort of vibe and is very readable. It's a good fit for a more serious and intelligent topic. In this second example, I use chiller for the title and comic sans for the subtitle. Although it's at least readable, it's not giving off the right tone at all for the topic of chess, chiller is giving off a spooky Halloween vibe. And Comic Sans is a more playful, childlike font. In this third example, I used a font called League Gothic. In all uppercase letters. This font is a condensed font. This means the letters are thinner, which can help you fit longer amounts of text at a larger size on one line. This font helps the title stand out and give off a commanding presence. For the subtitle text, I used Masarat in a light metallic style. Not only is this readable, but the light style helps play off the title, allowing it to stand out even more. Fourth example, I used curls empty for the title. It's way too busy looking and not serious enough for this topic. The subtitle is Brush Script empty. Here I'm trying to show that script fonts in a smaller font size is not a good combination. It's harder to read and of course, it is clashing with the title. If you want some font inspiration font is a font para tool to help you see how some fonts look when they're next to each other. It's important to realize that text isn't an afterthought. It's an important part of the entire graphic design. Consider not only the font choice, but the sizing, spacing, and alignment. In this fifth example, I am using the Bodoni font for both the title and subtitle. Again, like the very first example I showed. However, I dramatically changed the size of the title and use the left alignment. Plus I added a white Stroke around the text to increase the visibility against the background. The subtitle text is right aligned and sitting on the whitespace of the image for the best contrast and readability. In both the title and subtitle, I actually broke up the lines so they aren't just plain straight across on one line. This enhances the variety and balance of the graphic. I changed the text of the subtitle to black. So this way your eyes will go to the read, modern chess play styles text first because of its size and color. 9. Lecture 8: Color : There's a lot of information about color theory out there. The psychology and science of color, and even how color can evoke certain emotions. I'll go over some basic information about that and some technical aspects. Colours can bring your design to life, even if you are using a limited palette of colors, depending on your topic and the mood you are trying to convey. You might want to go with strong, bright primary colors or more muted, duller colors. Color association can vary between cultures and even time periods. Psychologically, colors can call forth certain emotions and even means something symbolically. For example, blue gives a sense of trust, security and calm, like water and sky. There are so many shades of blue, making it a very easy and versatile color to work with. It's actually one of the most used colors and branding designs and logos, due to it being considered the most popular color in the world. But where did we come up with light blue representing a baby boy? The idea that blue is for boys and pink is for girls was actually enforced as a social norm by retailers and manufacturers around the 19 forties. It just as easily could have been the opposite. Pink is for boys. Read gives off a vibe of passion and energy. Since it's a bright, loud, and aggressive sort of color, it can also represent danger, like a stop sign. Purple represents royalty, creativity and mystery as a mix of red and blue. It also encompasses the Communists of blue mixed with the fiery passion that red can represent. Green can stand for things like wealth, health, springtime, freshness, and nature. Pink can symbolize femininity, romance, and playfulness. Yellow is associated with happiness and the sunshine. It's also attention-grabbing, which is why it's used in caution and warning signs. And as a road workers yellow outfit to catch a driver's attention. Orange is an energetic color, combining the positivity of yellow and the vibrancy of red. It's also very attention-grabbing. Black can represent elegance and sophistication, but can also stand for death, evil, and mystery. Black contrasts grate against bright or lighter colors, which makes it an obvious color choice to use in many designs for readability or to help emphasize another color. White symbolizes purity, cleanliness, goodness, and even spirituality. Think wedding dresses, just like with black, white goes well with almost every color and is very popularly used in designs everywhere, either as a background or text color, due to its ability to contrast extremely well. Gray is synonymous with neutrality, balance, and even sophistication. But it can also represent things like depression. Although it's adult color, it has many shades and is very popular to use in marketing for making clean and neutral designs or helping another color standout. Grey works well with many other colors, depending on its shade. Brown can represent Earth and gives off the feeling of strength and reliability. Light brown shades like bays are very neutral colors which can be found in a lot of fashion and can compliment well with other colors and design. Warm colors and cool colors are terms that are used in graphic design to talk about a grouping of color's warm colors are reds, oranges, yellows. The colours that can literally represent heat and the sun. Cool colors are Blues, purples, greens, the ones that make you feel that cold winter E vibe or make you think of the moon in the night sky. If you're stumped at what colors will look good together and trying to come up with a color palette theme. The color wheel at color dot is a great tool for seeing swatches of colors together. You can choose a color harmony rule, which will automatically generate a harmonic balance between the colors you select. I'll go over some of the basic color harmony rules. Analogous colors are similar colors. Monochromatic, or different shades based on only one color achieved by adding white to the base color for the lighter versions of your target color and adding black to get the darker tone versions. Complimentary are opposite colors. This creates a bold and contrasting look, helping the colors to stand out the most. Like red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. Certain color combinations can also represent different things, like red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween. Even the four seasons have their own color palette. Pastel or light hue colors are reminiscent of springtime when flowers are in bloom, summertime is red, yellow, and orange. The warmer colors to represent heat. Oranges, browns and yellows remind us of the fall for the way the leaves look. And winter is the cooler colors, blues and white, like snow. Next, I'll cover what a gradient is. A color gradient is a smoothed range of colors progressing from one color to another. There's different types of gradients, like linear, which means it's going to fade from one color to another in a straight line or radial, which means it will spread out from a circle or radius. Gradients can incorporate more than one color. Some colors work better than others with each other in a gradient. Meanwhile, white and black can work with basically any other color within a gradient to showcase a progression of lighter or darker shades of that original color. So when can you use a gradient in a graphic design? A gradient can be used as a background element to help create a flow within a design. Emphasize brand coloring, and adding a spark of interest and sophistication if it's done right and compliments the design. Gradients can be used within text or within graphic elements to, it can be used to add shadow or lighting to elements as well. If you are working with a relatively simple design, adding a gradient can help add more depth and style to it. Gradients or plain colors can be overlaid over photos on a separate layer above the photo layer. And using a layer blend on the gradient or color layer to blend the two together visually. The results will depend on the photo you are using, the colors and the layer blend style. So it's a process that involves some trial and error. When creating your design. Working with text and color together is an effort of trying to find the balance between the two. Now is also a good time to talk about contrast a bit more as well. Contrast is the positioning of two dissimilar elements within a work. And it's used to create the best visibility in a design. Think light text on a dark background or dark text on a light background. As you can see, these are readable options, as opposed to lighter text on a lighter background or darker text on our darker or busier background. Because contrast is an important factor to incorporate in your design. Searching for the right photo to work with within your design is a key part of the creation process. Detailed or complex looking image is going to compete with text laid on top of it. There are a few workarounds for when you have to use text on a more detailed photo. Use drop shadow on the text. Try the technique I mentioned earlier about creating a second layer above the photo layer and using a layer blend and opacity to attempt to tone down the details of the picture. Using black on that color layer will darken the image overall, allowing lighter text on top of the image to become way more visible. Use a banner layer. Create a solid shape of color that your texts can be visible against, like a thin rectangle. It's a good opportunity to incorporate brand colors on the shape. It can help titled texts stand out more and it doesn't force you into changing the background photo image. This tactic works particularly well if your photo has varied light and dark spots, making it a troublesome image to work with when you need to lay text on top of it. Color and the way it's used within a graphic sends a message and conveys a feeling to the viewer. 10. Lecture 9: Image Adjustments & Filters: If you need to make adjustments to the image you are working with, there's many options to choose from to get your desired look. I'll break down some of the basic ones found in Pixlr. But many of these functions and more options can be found in Photoshop as well. With the image layer selected, clicking adjustments at the top, we'll bring down a list of what is available here. Auto adjust will automatically try and improve the images brightness and contrast. However, if you want to manually adjust the brightness and contrast, it's very common for most programs to have that function. It's a bit obvious, but the Brightness slider will lighten or darken the image. While the contrast control can make your image duller or add more contrast between the light and darks that appear in your image. If you click this compare button by holding it down, you can see how the image looks before applying the adjustment. Temperature and tint can add a warmer or cooler tone to the image. Overall. Hue and saturation is where you have a bit more control over the colour you can add to the image. The hue slider will let you change the colors within the image to something else. This can have varying results depending on your image. If you are looking to change the entire images tone, overall, clicking, colorize, and then moving the hue slider will let you add one color as an entire overlay on the image. Saturation controls the intensity of the color added. Sliding it to the left will desaturate the image, removing the color and causing it to become duller and greyer. Sliding it to the right, brightens up and strengthens the color. Lightness will add black or white to the entire image. Vibrance functions the same as saturation. Color balance is a more detailed way to change the overall color of your image. You can sweep the colors for the darker parts of your image or shadows, mid tones, and brighter parts of your image, or highlights. Highlights and shadows allows you to brighten or dark in the lighter parts and darker parts of your image. With this, you can create more contrast as a result, or help darker details within an image become more visible if they are too dark in the original. Exposure gives you control over lightening or darkening the image. Post arise can turn your image into a more simplified graphic. Reducing the colors makes it look more like an illustration. Next comes the really fun part, filters. A filter allows you to change the appearance of your photo in even more dramatic ways. Filters vary from program to program. And in Photoshop, you can even download external filters that people have created to use within the program. When it comes to filters and mobile design apps. These two can also vary from app to app. Most allow access to a number of free ones, while also featuring premium ones that unlock if you decide to buy the app or pay for a subscription. I'll go over some of the more common ones. Vignette adds a smooth dark overlaid border around the edges of the image. This can be a dramatic effect, helping to bring focus to the center of your design. There's a variety of blur filters. Some just adding a basic blur and others adding some motion to the blur. The clarity filter and the sharpen filter acts similarly. They enhance the details of your photo. Pixlr just has the basics. So if you really want to have fun with an image, I suggest trying a photo editing app on your phone, like Photoshop Express or Polish. Not only do they have more filters, but they also have special effects. Cool overlays and borders and stickers you can add to your image. You can take many of the things you've learned in this course and apply it to using those apps effectively. Remember, it's just a different layout and user-interface. 11. Lecture 10: Background Removal : At some point, you may want to remove the background of an image. It's much easier to remove the background of an image when there is more contrast between the subject and the background, or even when the background is one plain, solid color that is different than the color of the subject. In fact, that is the basic principle of green-screen technology you've seen used in behind the scenes footage from movies. Since they filmed the scene against a bright green backdrop, it contrasts against the actors and costumes, allowing the special effects team to superimpose the desired background behind them. Automatic background removal programs and websites are all out there. But from my experience, non R2 accurate and most work best when there is a plane solid color background that creates contrasts. Like I mentioned, I like removed BG for removing solid color backgrounds from a subject. However, unless you pay for a higher quality result, the free option they give you is a little lower quality. This might be fine for your purposes, however, since most social media posts are not super-large by default, if you are wanting to manually remove a background that is a solid color, the magic wand is an easier tool to use for removing background and playing with tolerance and feather can help you achieve a smoother result. You want to avoid jacket or hard edges. So you might have to zoom into your photo to evaluate the edges if you want to get more detailed. And using the eraser tool with a soft brush can help smooth those edges out. Some mobile design apps also have an automated background removal. You can test it out and see if it works well for your image. 12. Lecture 11: Style & Layout Design Tips: Graphic design style, like fashion changes and evolves over time. Just like fads and friends, popularity of design styles can emerge and fade in popularity. You can even get a sense of a time period when you look at designs and websites. For example, if I show you a website from the 990s, you'll just know it's from the nineties based on the colors, fonts, and layout. The 1918, 19, seventies and so on, all have their own styles. As a result, you can create visuals using common style elements from those time periods. If you are going for something a bit more nostalgic with your design. The reason for the emerging trends in design is in part due to technology and tools changing over time as well. So what style should you go for with your design? The answer depends on your goals, your topic, and your audience. It's hard for me to give exact style advice since every graphic design need is different. But the best advice I can offer is to use references and do some research on visual styles similar to what you are wanting to create. The spacing and alignment of all of the graphic elements in a file, otherwise known as layout, is critical to the readability and aesthetic of your graphic. Make sure text is aligned properly and readable. This goes for any graphics you are using to make sure that if you are lining things up, you use whatever tools are available to you to help you with the spacing and alignment. Be mindful of your text and graphic structure by giving elements appropriate spacing in order to maintain readability and avoid overcrowding. Keep it simple. Don't overly complicate your designs. Too much visual information can overload a viewer. Don't use too much text to many fonts or too many colors. White space or negative space, an empty area within your graphic that allows the viewers eye to rest. It can help create balance and harmony. Plus it reduces clutter and draws attention to text or graphic. Whitespace isn't necessarily white. It is just a blank or plain part within your design. Scale, images and graphics within your design to create emphasis and a hierarchy to your design. Try out the rule of thirds. This is a technique that focuses on asymmetry by dividing up your design into three rows and three columns and arranging your graphic elements to appear at some of the points of intersection. This helps create focal points in more interesting places. And adding a sense of balance and flow within your design. Using simple shapes can also help enhance your design and create a flow or visual interest. If you are working with a more simplistic design, repeating shapes or simple elements from your brand or logo in different ways is also part of branding, which I'll be covering in the next lecture. 13. Lecture 12: Branding : Branding is the promotion of your company or product. It is the act of solidifying your company and what it does or represents within people's minds. Plus distinguishing yourself from other similar companies or products. I talked a lot about color in my lecture about that. And one thing to keep in mind is that you're consistent usage of your brand's color within designs can help increase brand awareness and memorability. For example, you likely will always see a company's website design will feature the colors of their brand. This repetition of color and even shapes, like I mentioned in the previous lecture, helps strengthen branding. Not only does this apply to colour, but to fonts as well. Consistency in font usage helps keep things looking professional. Branding doesn't just apply to companies, but also to individuals. Even top video game streamers feature their logo or graphic of themselves on their channels. Using it across social platforms creates uniformity and recognizability. Even using a similar style for their emote is considered brand consistency. Here are some tips for creating a brand identity. Know your audience. Consider who you are advertising to and what typical colors and graphics might appeal to them. Do some research on similar brands to yours. See what is working for them. But remember not to copy them. You want to put your own spin and personal style into your brand and avoid any copyright issues. Personality is everything. The tone of your graphics should reflect what your brand is all about or what your social media post is trying to convey. Are you selling toys for kids, simple, hand-drawn fonts and bright primary colors within your design could work. Utilize social media. If you don't already have accounts created across different social media platforms for your brand. Set that up as soon as possible, and apply your branding to each one. Posting your graphics on each one of those helps you reach a wider audience. However, keep in mind that each site has their own posting requirements and image size settings. When setting up your graphic file, it's good to remember this before starting your design. Otherwise, you might end up having to revise your design if the sizing is off for the platform you are posting to. 14. Lecture 13: Designing for Social Media: Digital designs for social media and streaming platforms can be tricky when it comes to sizing. Resolution standards can change over time. Posting on one site might look fine, but then posting that same image on another site might cause some unwanted cropping. As I've mentioned before, starting your file at the right size you need from the beginning is advised, since it can save you a lot of headaches later on. Be mindful about what platform you are planning to upload to and their size guidelines and any other rules they might have. Here's a great site that tries to stay as up-to-date as possible with the image size guidelines for each social media platform. They also offer a video size guideline as well. Square sized posts can work pretty well across multiple platforms. If you need a square layout to fit a more horizontal layout, Ed more space to the sides of that image by changing the canvas size within a graphics editing program and typing in your desired resolution. Empty space will be added to the sides of the design. You can try and stretch the image to fit. Keep in mind you might lose some quality when scaling up. Or you can add some color to the sides or gradient. With Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are different sized resolutions for profile images, cover images and social media posts. For Facebook ads, they prefer the 20% texts rule. This means that any ad graphic should not go over 20% worth of text within the graphic. Cover images across all platforms vary in size slightly, but are more horizontally oriented. They should absolutely include your branding, your logos, colors, et cetera. Instagram has the advantage of having a function that can autoscale your image to fit the post better and avoid unwanted cropping. Pinterest has more of a focus on square and vertical sized images, catering to a mobile viewing. Youtube has different resolutions for profile image, channel cover image, thumbnail images, and videos must be a 16 by nine aspect ratio. I highly suggest creating custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos. It's a chance to add your branding color, and style, and also draw attention. Video posts on most platform prefer a 16 by nine ratio or a square format. Just like with images, make sure you know what size you need before creating or filming to avoid having to re-size or edit later on. 15. Lecture 14: Photopea: Another free alternative to Photoshop is photo Just like Pixlr, it's a free browser-based graphics editor. Photocopy supports PSD file format, which are files that are native to Adobe Photoshop that can contain layers and can contain high-quality graphic data. You can even save the file you work on as a PSD file from within photo pay. Which means that file can also be opened in Photoshop with your layer information saved and preserved. This means that photo P can both read and save PSD files. Plus, it has the capability to convert between a variety of image formats as well. Although you can also open PSD files and Pixlr, photocopies seems to maintain fonts, layout, and image quality a bit better. Photocopies user interface is also slightly more similar to Photoshop. And of course, you can apply your skills and knowledge into using photo peak rather than Pixlr, if you prefer, your decision on which program to use is based on your budget and comfort level. Now, with more open source and free graphic programs being created and technology improving over time. It's giving people even more freedom of choice on which one they can use to get their graphical work done. 16. Lecture 15: Final Advice: I hope that you can see from taking my course that even a non designer can make a professional-looking graphic. Graphic design boils down to arranging text and graphical elements in a visually pleasing way. In my opinion, you don't need to have a degree to be a designer. It takes practice and experience. If you're stuck on a design, try different variations of it. Ask for opinions from friends. And if you are really stumped, taking a break from staring at a design for awhile, then coming back to it later on can help refresh your eyes and mind. Constructive criticism is nothing to get upset by its advice and opinions from others that are meant to try and help enhance your design work. It's not meant to be criticism of you personally. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. You can't please everyone and nothing will ever be perfect. On top of that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What may look amazing to one person, might look bed to another. Try not to let criticism get you down. Keep creating and learning and your work will improve over time. Thank you for taking my course. I hope that you have learned some techniques to help you with your digital design journey.