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10 Common Graphic Design Mistakes To Avoid

Henny Kel by Henny Kel Tweet - in Graphic Design - 9 min read

Graphic Design

Last updated on January 24th, 2018

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.

If you take a look at logos and other graphic design products of global companies, you will be impressed at the first glance. They all create logos etc. designs with a purpose. There is a well thought of strategy going behind in creating those designs.

For example, FedEx logo has a hidden arrow, which is thoughtfully created to convey the courier company’s fast delivery service. So, a concept chosen for a logo or any other design can make or break it. Then, there are other aspects of colors, typefaces, images, symbols, etc, that a graphic designer chooses carefully.

However, that is not the case with many logos and other graphic designs of companies. Many startup do not pay attention to careful designing of their marketing materials. They ultimately end up losing their valued customers to competitors.

This is because most of consumers take buying decision directly or indirectly on seeing a logo, brochure, website, blog, packaging, and other designs. These designs have colors etc. elements that evoke some intended emotions from the consumers. If the signals are right, chances are that the consumers will be drawn toward the company and its business.

But if a logo or a website, brochure and other designs are carelessly designed, that may be damaging business prospects of a company. A casually designed logo, for instance, may indicate audience about unprofessional approach of the company. People do not take such graphic design kindly and move to a better company with serious business.

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. 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.

Here Are 10 Common Graphic Design Mistakes To Avoid

01. 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.

Graphic Design

Creative Bloq 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.

02. Staying In The Box

While thinking out-of-the-box may be a cliched 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.

logo design

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.

03. Too Many Fonts

Playing with fonts may be fun, but if someone is trying to read through something that changes font type ten times in a paragraph, it’ll get tiring and annoying quickly. Planet of the Web suggests using no more than three fonts in any single layout.

logo Fonts

It would be better to stick to just one, or maybe two fonts. A single font adds continuity, which is good. You should keep the number of fonts lower in business card design also where space is already tight.

04. Overthinking Everything

Just because you can add something to your design doesn’t mean you should. Simplicity has plenty of perks on its own. So, be careful about going crazy with the Photoshop filters. Over-designing isn’t a major mistake, but it can cause some serious problems.

The more stuff in your design, the harder a viewer needs to think to extract the info. As Rasmussen College discusses, a design needs to breathe and flourish on its own. Having blank space isn’t necessarily bad, and in many cases, it’s better than filling every square inch of blank space with something.

Overthinking Everything

If your brochure design is crowded with too many images, fonts, and colors, try to keep them to the bare minimum. That will help customers focus on your key business features that you want to highlight.

05. Over-Promise Then Under-Deliver

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. For your design needs, you can always hire a freelance graphic designer with a good track record so that you don’t need to face and delays in your project.

website design

Instead, take your time. It is better to tell your client that you may take a lot of time in creating a design work. Do not make loud promises that arise their expectation to very high level. This way, you will be putting yourself under pressure in scheduling the work and quality of the design. For example, a website design takes many more days than work on a graphic design item like a logo.

06. Kerning Your Fonts

If you’ve never heard of kerning before, don’t worry, it’s very simple. According to We Design Studios, kerning is the process in typography where the space between letters in adjusted, either manually or automatically.

Kerning Your Fonts

Kerning is important because in some situations, adjusting the space between letters can make the wording more legible and pleasing to the eye. However, misusing kerning or not paying close attention to it can cause some major problems, from misinterpretations to destroying a design’s cohesiveness.

07. Use Of Stock Images

Ah, stock images. While 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

Now, think of a packaging design having a stock image. Will the consumer buy that product? Probably not, since they get the message that the quality of the product may be inferior as is the design.

08. Check For Spelling

Yes, 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. So follow Creative Pro’s advice, pay close attention to the details and comb over your project before sending things to print.

Check For Spelling

For example, if you are distributing leaflets as part of your ad campaign, and if the leaflet design has many spelling mistakes in the text, it will backfire. The customers will not take those mistakes kindly. They may simply ignore your business as such silly spelling mistakes convey unprofessionalism.

09. Grammar Issues

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.

Grammar Issues

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10. Designing For Yourself

Finally, it is always absolutely imperative that you stay cognizant of the fact that you’re designing a project for a client. Whether you’re a freelancer or working with a site like Designhill, it’s incredibly important that you stick to the client instructions and don’t make changes because you think it looks better. As Rasmussen College states, the customer is paying for a graphic design, and your job as a designer is to do all you can to help the customer achieve their vision.

graphic design

It would be better if you send your graphic design work to Designhill, which is a leading marketplace. At this crowdsourcing site, you get your logo, website, brochure, business cards etc. designs at affordable prices. You get dozens of new design ideas from as many graphic designers. But if you do not like the designs, the site will refund your money under its 100% Money Back Guarantee policy.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1 (888) 765-2908 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation

Conclusion

Graphic designers make common mistakes such as not understanding the instructions from the clients, not researching their business, raising their expectation due to loud promises, use of many fonts, colors, and end up making the design complex, and so on. It would be good if the designer keeps it simple.

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Henny Kel

I am a graphic, web designer and blogger with over 6 years experience. I am very passionate about anything related to design and spends copious amounts of time hidden behind a book or a screen and reading about design. Twitter | Google +

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  • Agnieszka

    I think, in the number 10, there could also be an option to send as the proposition, the version that in our eyes looks better. Although, there is still a chance that client won’t accept it. Then there is no need to argue, he pays for this project after all.

  • Julie Banzger

    About #10. I think that a good designer should know and be able to convince the client what is really better for him.
    Thank you for the article!

    • Felix Danger

      Though I agree that the client shouldn’t be so focused on their own vision that they don’t listen to design expertise, If a designer and client have enough communication to accurately establish the goals of a project, then what is best for the client is just a matter of meeting those established goals and shouldn’t surprise anyone.

      Who’s the demographic?
      What are the key colors of the brand?
      Is the market part of a particular social group?
      What are the competitors doing?
      What kind of statement should the project make?
      Is the product or service expensive or cheap?

      Any convincing of how to address these kinds of questions should happen early on in discussion.

  • Kale Tingelstad

    Great tips. I did find it ironic however that tip #6 has a spelling error and tip #8 says not to do that.

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