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The Graphic Design Cheat Sheet – 2018

With so much graphic design work being outsourced to India from all over the world, India has become the hub of designing globally. No wonder then that the best graphic designers in India are also some of the most sought after globally, thanks to their high quality of work and track record as professionals. I happen to work closely with some of them and while researching for this article, I decided who better than some of the best designers themselves to guide me in compiling a cheat sheet for upcoming designers to refer to in 2018.

Know Thy Shortcuts:

You cannot not work on CS 6 in this domain. However, unlike the battle hardened veterans whom I just talked to, many of you will find going a little slow. Let’s face it, it’s a vast software and speed is not exactly a virtue in this domain. However, that does not mean that you cannot quicken up the process for yourself a bit.

Use the Photoshop toolbox for dummies which tells you about all the icons in the toolbox, along with the shortcut keys for each one. Knowing them will allow you to move a lot quicker between tools and save precious time. Here is the link for the same.


The Logo Cheat Sheet:

Well, it’s not exactly a cheat sheet but more a guide while making logos. Logos can look innocuous but in the scheme of things, they are the most critical aspect to the identity of a business. Be it branding, brand recognition or something as small as a implementing a Fav Icon, logo plays the most important role. Often, an organization’s logo has become a fashion statement and something to treasure. For instance Nike and Puma sell more apparel featuring only their icon than any other single design element! Icons like BMW and Mercedes are often featured on key chains and other merchandize while the Jaguar logo in the form of a leaping Jaguar in chrome has become somewhat of a collector’s item.

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So while designing a logo, one needs to be mindful of a few things. Like….

How do I choose a color?

Maybe this list below will help.

REDHot, passion, love, sex, power(ful), radical, bold, revolution, change
BLUELiberal, cold, smart, medical (medicine), royal (regal), freedom, trust, music
ORANGEWarm, autumn(fall), summer(y) retro, mellow, friendly, inviting
PURPLERoyal, mystical, vanity, romantic, fashionable, stylish, sensual, couture
YELLOWEnergy, bright, happy, cheerful, fun, young, sun, friendly, jubilation
GREENEnvironment, money, natural, organic, profit, earth(y), trust, jealousy
BROWNRustic, rural, autumn(fall), earth(y), warm, colonial, book, academic

Off course there is more to it than just color. There are also certain DO’s and DON’T’s that one needs to be mindful of. Let’s go over them.


  • Must have meaning- random abstracts aren’t a great idea.
  • It should connect with the name of the company or the domain in which the organization works in.
  • Must be dynamic and hence scalable.
  • Keep it as simple as possible. Helps with brand recognition and scalability.


  • Don’t use stock imagery
  • Don’t take the help of online logo generators. Not even for ideas.
  • Don’t go blind into the project. Homework about the company and what it stands for is necessary. Prepare or demand a proper brief.
  • Don’t go for overtly complicated designs or calligraphy. They might look pretty, but have little recall value and are not easy to scale.
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I hope this cheat sheet will help you stay focused and prepare logos that work and endure.

Lower Your Dependency On Colors:

While multicolor logos and themes have been successful and look great, do not make color the central theme of the logo or theme. Logos will be part of an organization’s or brands stationery and the organization will like a logo which will look good and meaningful in black and white or single tone too. Color printing also has a cost factor attached to it and at times companies, especially small and medium enterprises or startups might print their stationary in monotone or black and white to reduce costs. Multicolor theme might also be prohibitory to certain changes. Hence, it will be better if we can focus on a different design element than color for logos and themes.

Adhere To The Brief:

I have touched on this aspect in the DO’s section in logos. It however holds true for design as a whole. Now I know that briefs sometimes can be confusing, frustrating or worst of all- uninspiring! As a creative person, with ideas struggling to be heard, a dead pan brief can be huge dampener. However remember, the business owner knows what he/she wants the best and it’s not a great idea to second guess the brief. There will always be a reason behind the way the brief has been constructed. So if a trucking company has briefed you to keep the theme on something as random as say disco lights, stick to the brief. It will reduce delays due to back and forth, and more importantly keep your client happy.

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With hiring offshore graphic designers becoming quite common, at times there is a cultural and knowledge disconnect too. Like this designer I know was asked to include the grizzly bear while designing the logo for a local bakery chain! Despite the shaking of heads and shrugging of shoulders in general, she happily stuck to the brief and in the end the client was extremely happy, which is when he told the reason for the bear. Turns out grizzly bears are a symbol for the region in which the client was based! That’s what I am talking about. Always play safe and stick to the brief.

In Conclusion:

Well, there are off course other DO’s and DON’T’s that we can include in the cheat sheet. However I have covered the four topics which I think will be most useful. Designing is not just art and creativity. It is also about management and tempering your own personality to place the client’s interests and outlook at the forefront. Once you have done that, only then can your design be called truly successful.

John TieAbout the Author:John Tie is working as a Digital Marketer and content strategist with Virtual Employee, one of the leading Outsourcing Company, offering affordable and scalable remote staffing solutions for mainly Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) around the world in over 150 domains. He is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring the latest technology trends, entrepreneur and startup column.

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2 Responses to “The Graphic Design Cheat Sheet – 2018”

  1. This can be a very informative and helpful post, very genuine and practical advice. Is actually very great for all. Especially this article is helping to the beginner. Thanks!

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