We get tons of questions from aspiring creatives asking how they can become better as a graphic designer. One of the fastest ways to get better at graphic design is simply by analysing other people's work and finding ways to improve it.

Watch our first video from our YouTube series on becoming a Better Designer below to move straight to the tutorial!

In this post, we will show how a notebook cover design created in Adobe Illustrator by one of our Pro Member Student improves using some simple compositional techniques.

Analysis of the original design

Before we get started here is the original design submitted by our Pro Member student for Sabiha Rishan!

  • Great use of fun, a positive phrase that has no gender restrictions
  • Space theme, popular for targeted age group
  • Complementary colour scheme providing contrast and harmony
  • Great layering of details (pattern in the background with small icons)
  • Playful font choice with high contrast for legibility
  • Symmetrical composition - feels balanced
  • Rhythm achieved with repeated pattern and stripes in the background

  • Improvements of the original design! 

    Now let take a look at three alternatives examples created by Adobe Instructor and Graphic Designer Martin Perhiniak!

    Example 1

    Play around with the position of the design elements. By positioning the focal point in the optical centre, it helps the design to feel balanced while adding interest.
    Divide up the typography into two separate lines, so it reads cleary! You can reduce the font size less essential words such as 'of.'
    Align the text using the centre of the illustration! (in this case, it will be the globe illustration. To learn more about this technique - watch the full video tutorial

    Example 2

    Example 3

    Get creative with typography. A great tip is to use the Touch-Type tool that allows you to select individual characters and adjust the scale, rotation and position. 
    Introduce an element of fun by creating less confined illustrations and allow parts of an image to spill out of the frame seemingly!
    Emphasise depth to help create a 3D effect. Position some of the text in front of or behind the illustration.
    Experiment with the scale of the main illustration. The scale is a significant part of the composition, so don't be afraid to increase the size of the image – you don't have to show the whole picture. 

    Make sure you check out the video for full tips and techniques!


    As with any designs, try to create multiple versions. It's essential to test out many styles and different design routes. This will be important when working for a client, but equally, it makes it easier for you to see what works.


    Learn how to create and modify your own Geometric patterns in Illustrator

    Click here.

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    from Adobe Certified Instructors and industry professionals

    About the author 

    Shumi Perhiniak

    Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer, in 2012 she took one-year sabbatical career break, where she devoted her time studying Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. In just after 6 months she started freelancing and within a year become a Certified Photoshop Expert. Over the years she worked both in-house and in agency roles as a retoucher, artworker and moved on from junior to senior design roles.

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