Graphic design is about more than making things look pretty.
Graphic design is about more than making things look pretty. There are plenty of aspects to consider when building a marketing piece and lots to go wrong. A simple mistake can seem just that. In reality you promote your company unprofessionally and risk losing custom.
Whether you’re a brand new designer, looking to put something together in house or want a second opinion on your latest piece, here are 10 of the most common design mistakes, to look out for on your next piece.
Not understanding the instructions
We recently put a blog together on the importance of client/designer relations. Whilst it’s imperative that the client be clear and informative with their instructions. The designer on the other hand must ensure these are fully understood, the goals are clear and the outcomes achievable. Ask more questions if you need to, but there’s nothing worse than delivering a project only to find you’ve taken it in the wrong direction.
Staying in the box
Think outside the box is possibly one of the cheesiest clichés of all time. It is true though. Especially in logo design, designers are often keen to replicate similar businesses in the market. Whilst this works for them it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Your logo is your fingerprint. It’s how people identify you and what you’re about. Look to be unique and target your niche.
Too many fonts
Playing with fonts is fun (guilty!). But using too many can affect the readability of your document. Mixed fonts can look great but can also become frustrating and exhausting quickly. We recommend sticking to two fonts, with a maximum of three if you really must.
Just because you have space for more content, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Simplicity is a skill in itself. Don’t go crazy with your new photoshop filter or colour palette. Whilst over-designing isn’t really a mistake, it can cause serious problems moving forwards. More details take your eye away from key elements of a design and make it harder for readers to extract the relevant info. Look into white space if it’s something you are unfamiliar with.
Over-promise and under-deliver
Of all the mistakes in this article, this is the most severe. There’s an age old saying in design; cheap, quick and quality, you may pick two of the three. Whilst all three is a client’s dream, it’s not a practical capability. Don’t be scared to put your foot down because you’re scared of losing the job. If you can’t meet the timeframe, the budget or the quality the client desires, make sure you let them know. All businesses will look to keep costs as low as possible and get things turnaround fast whilst expecting the highest quality. You’re better off telling them it’s not going to happen than promising a world you can’t deliver. Don’t risk your reputation.
Kerning your fonts
If you’ve never heard of kerning, then great. For those of you unaware, kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between letters. It’s an important design ability that allows the designer to make text more readable to the human eye. Don’t play close attention however and all your words can begin to blend in to one another or become illegible.
A picture paints 1000 words. You don’t need us to tell you that great imagery will pull a user in much better than a great read in marketing. Too much wording is an instant turn-off so get creative. Use infographics and other displays to get the point across. A great example of this is in presentations. No one enjoys a presenter who reads off their slides. They should be there as guidance but be engaging and visually pleasing to the audience.
Check the spelling and grammar
Yes, we know, you’re a graphic designer not a copywriter. That’s no excuse and it’s you who the mistakes will come back to. In this day and age, it’s easy to do, in fact your machine will do it for you. It’s a two-minute job which will only save you time and effort down the line. The same goes for grammar. Give your work a proof-read or get someone else in the business to do that for you. It just stops you looking bad in the long run.
Designing for yourself
You may be a great designer because people like your stuff. That’s great until you put it into context. Once you enter design as a career it’s no longer about designing for your personal tastes. For the sake of your career, make sure you design to the clients’ instructions and styles. After all it’s their brand, not yours.
If you’re guilty of these common design mistakes, why not get in touch and see how we can help guide your marketing in the future?