Although there is never one correct design solution, there are tendencies that will make any design look unprofessional. Below we outline 5 common graphic design mistakes that graphic designers overlook and how you can avoid these mistakes in your designs.
Common Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Typography and Kerning
- Typography is a key element that helps to make your design readable and accessible. It should be used to draw attention to the most important information. Using bold headings and lighter fonts is a good way to guide the viewer. If a brand font has already been established, use it. If you don’t have a brand font, limit your use of fonts to no more than two. Too many fonts can distract the viewer and dilute the message.
- Take care to ensure the font you use is legible. Decorative fonts can look great, but they are not always easy to read. Choose something simple.
- Always pay close attention to kerning. If the spacing between letters are not adjusted correctly, some phrases may scan incorrectly for the viewer. Not paying attention to kerning can come back to bite you.
2. Brand Consistency
- Keep your branding consistent throughout your design. This builds brand awareness. Employ consistency in your use of colours, fonts, images and graphic styles. Use your brand guidelines as a reference to help you create your design. (If you don’t have a set of brand guidelines, we can help, contact us.)
- Choose the correct mood and tone for your design. Identify the target audience so you can make appropriate design decisions. Keep the purpose of the message in mind. This will help you select appropriate imagery, graphics, colour scheme and fonts.
3. Layout and Multiplatform Compatibility
- Give thought to how you present your design layout. It can be tempting to fill a space with as much information as possible. Spaces give more elegance and clarity, and help to put emphasis on certain design elements, which makes your message stand out. Cramming too much information can overwhelm the viewer.
- When designing for online use, it is important to make sure your design looks good on all devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone). And on social media, you will need to make sure the designs fit different platform requirements). Don’t forget colour profiles. Have you ever printed something out and it looked nothing like it did on the screen? That’s because you are converting from a RGB colour profile (for use on screens) to a CMYK colour profile (for use only in print). When designing for either print or online, always make sure your document is using either RGB or CMYK.
4. Stock Images and Effects
- It is worth investing time looking for the right images. There are a lot of stock photographs that are widely used. Your design won’t be as striking if you employ cliched stock images. There are many free stock image websites you can use, (e.g Unsplash). If you want a wider of quality variety images, a paid subscription is a better idea (see Shutterstock)
- Avoid the overuse of special effects. A gradient and drop shadow may have looked modern and cool in the 1990s, but can very easily look dated and unprofessional today. To avoid your designs looking outdated, be aware of the latest developments in design effects.
5. Design Trends
- It’s crucial to be aware of the latest trends. Being innovative and diverse with colour, typography style and illustration concepts is key. Keep up to date with contemporary design trends when creating content for print or online.
- Every year we see new design trends and it is worthwhile to adapt some of the styles into your designs and marketing to appear on trend, modern and fresh.
If you can avoid these common mistakes, you will be well on your way to being able to create appealing and professional designs.
Creating a design from scratch is no easy task even if you avoid the mistakes above. If you feel like you need more specialist services for your designs, we are on hand to help. Leave us a message below.