Infographic Design Tips for Beginners, by Boris Benko
Ten tips for those interested in starting in the field
October 18, 2013 | CATEGORIES: Featured, Guest Posts, News
[This is a guest post by Boris Benko*, sharing some tips for those about to start in infographic design]
Exposing recent infographics (for the second time in a year) seem to be a great opportunity to introduce my work to numerous infographic fans around the globe, as well as being my great honor and pleasure. So, first of all, thanks a lot Tiago As we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am letting my infographics “speak for themselves” and will be concentrating on some practical tips and advises hereafter.
I am sure many of you reading this have been involved into the infographic production process somehow (whether you create, research, promote or help infographic becoming ‘viral’ by spreading the word on the internet and through the social media). This is exactly what I have been doing (professionally) for many years. Looking back alongside the trail, throughout my career at a newspaper’s redaction (including insane production on a daily basis), designing for a major brands and running own agency – a few mistakes have been made among many successfully completed projects. Many of these mistakes could have been avoided if I had known some of the following tips. Since I am mainly an infographic designer, these are mostly related to the infographic design process, but could be applied to a whole field of graphic design as well.
Infographic Design Tips for Beginners:
1) It all Starts with a Good Planning/Preparation
You have probably heard this for a hundred times before – but it is true! No matter whether you are working on a simple or major client’s complex project, it is all about good planning and preparation. That being said, don’t be afraid of drawing – make sketches, plan the concept and space. There is no need to moving forward to a design phase before the design outline is elaborated (and approved by the client if possible).
2) Comfortable Workspace
Having a comfortable ergonomic chair and large and spacious working desk will ensure keeping the work process easy and efficient. I would suggest L-type working table, leaving one side empty for sketching/drawing and related equipment.
3) A Nice View
This is not a must-have, but having a nice window view (park, green nature and so on) would definitely be beneficial to your mood and productivity, especially in the long run.
4) ‘Fancy’ Sketch Book
Speaking of drawing, a large, good quality sketch book (I am talking about one of these with reach texture paper sheets, suitable for art sketching, at least A3 in size) and a couple of high quality graphic pencils are must-haves! I personally use Foldermate’s 4006 A3 (www.foldermate.com). I wouldn’t suggest being thrifty in this case, so don’t worry about having a small budget. Investing money on quality equipment will get you a lot of benefits while you work (especially while working on planning/preparation – the most important phase in a whole designing process).
5) Graphic Tablet
The computer mouse is probably the worst ergonomic device ever invented, so get yourself a quality graphic tablet. If you aspire being a serious designer, I wouldn’t recommend getting anything but the top quality manufacturer – Wacom. It is expensive but worth each dollar you spend. It will require a few weeks for you to comfortably adapt, but once you become familiar with the natural peen feel, variable strokes and no clicking, your arm and carpal tunnel will be thanking you forever.
6) Building an Archive
I will never forget the advice I was given by the founder of the world’s famous infographic design service ‘Graphic news‘, Mr. Duncan Mil, during a very educational visit at their London-based headquarters a few years ago. I asked Mr. Mil for a real good and usable advice based on their multi-annual experience, and he told me: “Just photograph as much as you can, and always take a camera with you, this will help you building a unique archive, which is priceless!” This shouldn’t be so hard nowadays, considering most of people having Smart Phones with high resolution cameras built inside. You can photograph virtually anything: architecture, textures, people, and use these images when appropriate as a starting point/pattern for various design projects.
Once you begin with designing it’s all about the simplicity! You would be surprised what can be done by applying standard transform tools such as unite, intersect, (from AI pathfinder pallette) to the basic geometrical shapes (rectangle, circle, rounded square, and so on). Keeping the design style simple, clean and well organized can save you a whole lot of working hours.
8) Use Grids!
Grids are designer’s best friends and you don’t have to be afraid of them Using the grids in AI is simple and intuitive and they make the whole working process much easier and significantly contribute to the overall professional look of the final artwork.
9) Time Frame that Works
When negotiating for the project, always make sure to set a reasonable time frame. That being said, always plan to have more time than you would really need for completing the project. Having comfortable deadlines will allow you to do a really good job! But once the time frame is arranged with the client, do your best to respect it! As previously mentioned – it is all about good planning!
10) Spread the Word!
Promote your work through social media and specialized design communities (Behance, Visual.ly, and so on). Build your followers base and create landing web pages. By doing this, you will increase your chances of getting noticed by the clients and creative directors and your business will start growing at a rapidly pace.
Well, that’s it Hope you guys enjoyed reading this and find it interesting and helpful for your up-coming professional engagement. If you are interested in my work, and want to be updated on my latest news, please visit my website/infographic portfolio at www.infographicbox.com