It’s December, and naturally we’ve all gone Christmas mad. It can sometimes seem as if all the normal rules of graphic design are thrown out of the window at this time, but of course they’re not. The content and the tone might be specific, but it works or doesn’t for exactly the same reasons as any other graphic design.
Whether you’re hiring a professional to create a print or online Christmas design or doing it yourself, what are some of the best ideas around this winter?
The traditional colours for Christmas are red and green, but there’s a lot of variation possible within those. If a little orange is introduced into the red, for instance, it contrasts better with blue, or the colours can be muted, perhaps to coral and mint. On the other hand, vivid tones such as emerald green still work well.
Varying your fonts
It’s more than likely your holiday design will include some kind of text, whether it’s a greeting, a quote from a Christmas carol, or even something from Dr Seuss. It doesn’t have to be separate from the design, though. By using complementary fonts for different parts of the text, as well as colours that fit well with the background, the text can be as much of a design feature as any other element.
Expand your background
If you’re creating an Instagram message for your followers — a Christmas Clearance sale, for instance — you want a background that looks attractive but doesn’t distract the eye too much. You can reduce the background “noise” by cropping the image to a small fraction of what you need, and then expanding it to fill the space, creating a less detailed, more abstract look.
Minimalism for a change
There’s a place for a busy Christmas design, but a minimalist approach can offer a striking contrast. A flat, single-coloured background with a simple shape superimposed — a Christmas tree, for instance, or a stylised Santa face — will stand out among the more traditional images.
Make your design compatible with print and technology
Whether you’re designing a card, a party invitation or a flyer, it can be that much more flexible if you think about how it’s going to look both in print and on a smartphone or tablet. Whatever kind of design you go for — traditional, minimalist, humorous — create something that can be used in any medium you’re likely to need.
Most of all, enjoy your designs. It’s Christmas, and the seasonal spirit needs to go into your creations for it to be there at the other end. Have fun, and have a great Christmas and New Year.