Graphics are a commonly used tool to visually display extra information in a commercial, video presentation or home movies. The problem is, many people break some golden graphic rules that can take their project from being a visual masterpiece to a visual catastrophe. Here are the top 5 rules to follow when you are building graphics:

1. Don’t use colors that bleed.

You’ve probably noticed that different colors appear differently to the eye when on a computer or TV screen. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow typically bleed, making them very hard to read. Try to avoid these colors when you’re making graphics. Stick to rich cool colors like blue, black, purple and dark green. If you must use a hard-to-read color, make sure to stick an outline or drop shadow on it.


2.  Make sure your audience has time to read it.

Remember that it is going to take your viewers a little bit to read and digest the information on your graphic. Try to make it long enough that you can read through it at least twice in real time. 


3. Make sure it is TV safe.

Sometimes the edges of your video will be lost when you show it on a TV. Many of today’s video editing programs and DVD authoring programs have a tool in place to compensate and prevent this. Just to be safe, though, use the TV safe guidelines that come with most graphics generator tools. It should show you a box within your video. If you keep your entire graphic within that box, you should be fine! 


4. Remember to be visual.

It seems obvious that graphics are a visual tool, but many people forget this. Try to use more pictures than words. Often times they will convey a more powerful message to your audience. For example, if you are trying to show a raise in profits for your company, instead of just putting numbers and stats on your graphic, show two bags of money. To depict the raise in profits, make the second bag appropriately larger than the first. You can still put a percentage number next to it, but you’ll be surprised how much easier it is for your audience to digest the information by just adding an image. 


5. Keep it simple.

Avoid things like busy backgrounds and unnecessary animations. Keep things clean, and easy to read. You will quickly learn that most often in video editing and graphics composition, less is more. 


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