Design Tips for Video Creators Who Kind of Skipped Out on Design School

One of the most pivotal moments in my journey to learn how to incorporate good design into my videos was when I recognized that every single illustration, infographic, and icon I had ever ogled over was the product of someone mastering how to combine shapes and lines. Fundamentally, great design is simply understanding how to build up a screen with simple shapes then arrange them in a pleasant composition.

Neither Lon nor I went to any brick and mortar graphic design schools but over the years we’ve built up a pretty impressive array of videos for this website, our YouTube Channels and clients. And they’ve all  gotten progressively better looking over the years.

What about you?  My guess is that you haven’t had much in the way of professional graphic art training or maybe you feel like you lack an innate talent for design. Believe me I’ve been there. But design basics can be learned.  And I’ve found some resources to get your started.

The following series of videos is from the YouTube Channel and covers some of the fundamentals of design.  After watching, take a look at some of my main take-aways from the series as it applies to video production.

Beginning Graphic Design: Layout & Composition

I think this is probably where most of us could use the most help.  Once you decide on a color scheme and fonts the rest is all layout and composition. Get this wrong and your video will look a mess.

Some of the main points in this video as it applies to screencasters :

  • Make sure you keep related items grouped together. In videos, try using line elements or white space in your design to separate groups.
  • The most important thing with alignment is to be consistent. This is something you can decide early on in your video and add it to your style sheet.
  • Try using color to contrast between important and less important items on your screen.


Beginning Graphic Design: Images

People are pretty good at finding images for their videos. What we see most often are too many images on one slide and images that do go together such as mixing photos and clip art or mixing illustrations that are not the same style.

Some of the main takeaways from this:

  • If you’re handy with a camera you can create your own images. Why not go out and shoot a bunch of images and opt out of paying for stock photos.
  • Choose unique, authentic images that tell a story. People like to see images they can relate to.
  • When downloading an image-bigger is better. Remember that images get pixelated when they are enlarged.
  • Both Camtasia and PowerPoint can easily crop your images if they aren’t exactly the right size for your video.


Beginning Graphic Design: Branding & Identity

If can determine your branding style early on you’ll be way ahead of the game. Once you select your colors, fonts and image style you can apply it to your website, your social media and your YouTube Channel right from the beginning. It will give you a much more coherent digital look and feel and people will be able to identify your videos.

Some of the main takeaways from this are ….

  • In video the main components of your style is color, typography and images and keeping these consistent creates a sense of unity when used across multiple videos.
  • Make sure to include neutral colors in your pallette like black, grey, white or off white
  • Choose images that work together such as having a consistent color, the same graphic style or a shared subject.

Once you decide to learn design, start building a catalog of work you think is successful. That can be as simple as bookmarking images in your web browser, making a Pinterest board, or saving items to your OneNote or Evernote. A catalog of inspiring work will help you to identify trends — both past and present — in design as you begin to recognize patterns in the work of others. You’ll also start to understand your own personal style preferences and interests.

HEY THERE, If you’re a PowerPoint user, or want to be, look out early next week for an email from us with a discount on our PowerPoint Video Mastery course plus many new bonuses. In this course we show you how to make well designed and fast videos with only PowerPoint (no Camtasia needed).


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