Updated: Jan 18, 2022
Graphic designing is a serious work involving a lot of aspects such as researching a company’s business and depicting its brand message. Any mistake in a design such as a logo, business card, website, brochure, etc. can even potentially damage prospects of a company. But a well- thought out graphic design can turn a company and its business into a trustworthy brand in the eyes of the target audience.
Whether you’re a brand new designer looking to jump into your first order or you’re an old hand who’s looking for a refresher, these common graphic design mistakes can ambush any designer and potentially cause a lot of harm. Final output in a design can be determined by the type of software being used and whether you use too many online tools and plugins, which can also disrupt your ability to use your own skills.
Also Read: 10 Common Mistakes Designers Make #2
So, take a look through these critical mistakes you need to keep an eye out for. As long as you stay vigilant and double check everything, none of these problems should bother you.
1. TOO MANY FONTS
One of the fastest ways to turn your audience off is to include too much text in a piece of communication that is supposed to be primarily visual. This is especially true in the case of infographic and presentation design. The first mistake that stands out when looking at a novice design vs a professional design is the number of fonts used. It’s hard to understand the message of the piece if there are too many distracting fonts involved.
Also Read: Top 5 Video Editing Software To Choose From
As fun as it can be to play with fonts to convey different feelings and messages, brands should pick two or three fonts maximum on any design piece. Using a single font can also be impactful since it adds continuity and establishes your brand identity. Make sure you keep the size of the piece in mind when selecting the number of fonts as well as the amount of text. A smaller piece, like the logo above, can only support one font, while larger or more complex pieces like your website can handle a little more creativity.
2. USING STOCK IMAGES
It’s not wrong to use stock images, it’s best to go easy on them. Using too many stock photos makes a project look cheap and, in some cases, unprofessional. Plus, there are plenty of stock images out there that people will instantly recognize since they’ve seen them all over. Stock images can be a helpful and affordable solution when you’re working on a project that requires specific images. However, using too many stock photos can make your project look cheap or unprofessional.
Many common stock photos become used over and over again which makes it a dead giveaway when you put them in your marketing piece. Also, make sure you are properly purchasing the photos you do end up using to avoid sending out photos with a watermark or ones that are low resolution.
3. NOT PROOFREADING
You are a graphic designer and not a writer, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to pass on proper spelling. While you may feel that running a quick spell check after finishing your project is all you’ll need, there are plenty of graphic design mistakes that spell check systems can miss. Make sure you are always checking over the spelling and grammar before sending a piece to print or hitting send on an email. While a misused comma or other punctuation marks may not seem like a major problem, there are plenty of people out there that will notice common issues like that, and ignore the rest of the project.
Along with spelling problems, you want to make sure your project has proper grammar. While a misused comma or other punctuation marks may not seem like a major problem, there are plenty of people out there that will see a small slip like that and disregard the entire rest of the project.
4. CHOOSING THE WRONG COLORS
One of the single most important design decisions you will make in the creation of your project is your choice of color combinations. Many times, a project with good communicative potential can go away if the right colors are not chosen. It can be distracting to use too many bold colors in one piece. So when creating new branding for your company or a new artwork, it’s important to start by creating a color palette.
Each color palette you create should include both primary colors and secondary colors. Test your fonts along with these colors to make sure that text is legible whether standing alone or sitting on top of other elements.
5. USING INCORRECT HIERARCHY
In graphic design, hierarchy is how a piece is organized so the audience knows which elements are the most important and how their eyes should move over the piece. When looking at the pieces above, the flow of the flyer on the left is easy for the eye to navigate and ensures your audience can find the most important information right away. While the flyer on the right has the eye jumping around looking for the important information.
Hierarchy is the top design technique that ranks the importance of your information. Whenever you’re creating a new design there is typically one general message you want to communicate. Whether you’re communicating a sale, upcoming event, or new blog post, how you create hierarchy in your design will dictate what your audience takes away from your design. Hierarchy doesn’t just have to be font size or placement, you can also create effective hierarchy through colors, graphic elements, or the weight of the fonts you use.
6. DESIGNING FOR THE WRONG MEDIUM
Another important factor which is often overlooked is the medium in which your design will appear. Whether it will it be published online, in a book or a magazine can make a big difference in the way you go about creating your design.
For example, if your artwork will appear in a bound book, you must account for the space between the two pages, which is called a gutter. Before you lay out your ideas, make sure to avoid placing any important design elements over this space since they will get lost in the binding process.
Also, if you need to print your design be sure to change to CMYK color mode, not RGB, which is the color mode for projects displayed on mobile devices and computer screens. If you created a design in one format and printed or published it in the other it would look completely different because the colors wouldn’t translate!
7. NOT CREATING A VERSATILE DESIGN
The best graphics are evergreen and multi-purpose! If you’re creating a logo, think about how it will look on promotional products, how it will look in a 1 color or full color, and how it can be simplified to ensure you’re able to use specific design processes with your logo. This will help establish your brand consistency and save you time and money from having to redesign artwork for new projects down the road.
8. NOT UNDERSTANDING INSTRUCTIONS
As in all things, communication between the designer and the client is critical. While it’s the prerogative of the client to provide clear and informative instructions, it’s the responsibility of the designer to ensure they understand those instructions, even if that requires additional queries sent to the client.
Creative Blog highly suggests going over the client directives multiple times while taking notes and brainstorming. Whenever something confusing crops up in the directives, it’s critical that you get in contact with the client right away in order to clear things up.
9. STAYING IN THE BOX
While thinking out-of-the-box may be a clichéd advice, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. A major graphic design mistake in logo design and other designs is staying in the well-traveled ruts and sticking to what is known. Graphic design is a creative process, and as such, you need to be creative in order to truly be successful. Go for the crazy and weird, try things out, experiment and play around. Not everything will be a success, but nothing will be if you don’t try.
10. OVER PROMISING
Out of all the mistakes covered so far, this is by far one of the most severe and potentially damaging. As Go Layer Cake site states, when it comes to graphic design, you’ll rarely, if ever, find a job that is “quick.”
So when discussing deadlines and expectations with your client, you’ll want to make sure you don’t promise them something amazing, and then fail to meet that promise. It’s better to finish a project ahead of a long deadline than late on a short deadline.