No matter what your experience level, there comes a time that you have to rush a job. And when that happens, it’s easy to fall victim to common graphic design mistakes. The following are five of these design faux pas.
- Not considering the message
The whole purpose of design is to convey a specific message. Often, we tend to get ahead of ourselves, thinking about the images and treatments we want to use in the design. If we simply take a moment to consider the overall reason for the design, we will produce a better product for our clients. Take a couple of minutes to brainstorm and sketch. Come up with several concepts that provide a visual illustration for your clients’ message. It’s worth the extra time investment!
- Not considering the audience
Perhaps you’ve had a great idea you’ve been mulling over for a while; or, you’ve just discovered a great new source for images that you’ve wanted to try out. Either way, sometimes we have a great idea or resource we use on the first project that comes our way. Before you jump on an idea, think first about the audience that will be seeing the end design. Are they young or old, student or professional, conservative or liberal? These and other descriptors should shape the colors, images and other elements you use in your design. If you are unsure about the characteristics of the intended audience, schedule a time to review these details with your client. They should be happy you’re taking this into consideration.
- Not considering the usage
Before you start your design, ask your client what mediums they will be utilizing. This is especially important when designing a logo. It may look fantastic on a billboard or window display but become hard to read when shrunk down for a hat, stationary or pen. Likewise, color choices may not translate well depending on how and when the logo will be used.Once the logo is designed, try it out on different colors and in different sizes. If it’s not translating well, make some tweaks (or start over if necessary). Companies want logos that last, so if you don’t take the extra time up front, they may have to invest quite a bit more down the road when they discover their logo isn’t as versatile as they had hoped.
- Not allowing for breathing room
White space is our friend. Embrace it. Love it. Use it. It’s easy to fall into the clutter trap of design. There are so many captivating images we want to use to convey the message. The best way to circumvent this pitfall is to take the time to edit. Once you’ve finished your design, take a break. Walk away from your workspace so you can come back with a fresh eye. It’s also good to have a friend or coworker that you can have evaluate your work.
- Not evaluating the fonts
Fonts, they can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Many designers fail to understand how much a font can convey. If you haven’t already done so, it’s a great idea to take a typography course (or two) so you can understand the value of the different style of fonts. Another mistake that can be made is using too many different fonts. It’s important to have unity in your design. Your fonts should work together to paint a common feel and image.