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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.


Common Mistakes Graphic Designers Make & How to Avoid Them

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This article was contributed by Jessica Oliver.

Below, we discuss some errors that beginner (and possibly some pro) designers commonly make and how you can avoid them to ensure a successful career in the field.

Common Designer Mistakes

1. Choosing the Wrong Type

Typography is one obvious and telling sign of a well-designed logo or brand. The wrong typography might misrepresent the brand, come across as amateur or be difficult to read. As such, every designer should have a feel for what good font looks like and how it comes across to the viewer.

How to Avoid Mistakes:

-       Use professional fonts and avoid free fonts which are often not as high quality. Perhaps your current portfolio of fonts is limited or too frequently used. Check out sites like MyFonts or HypeGoType that sell unique fonts that can give your design an extra edge and added appeal.

-       Stick to one or two similar types of fonts for one design project. Inundating a single project with too much variety can make the final piece seem gaudy or overdone.

-       Be sure everything it legible! This means, you need to understand your “canvas” well, and ensure that you are maximizing the space without compromising the clarity of the message.

-       Your font should represent the feel and ambiance of the design. eg. A message of zen could be relayed through free-flowing, rounder, font and a stronger message can be relayed with a bolder, thicker font.

2. Saving and Packaging Files Incorrectly

Hoping your work will be printed correctly? One of the most important steps to consider in the design process is the way in which you should save and package your files before delivering them to your client.

How to Avoid Mistakes:

-       Ask the client about formatting from the very beginning. Design work for print is usually formatted in CMYK, as opposed to web work which is usually in RGB. If you know what they’re looking for, you will save loads of time in the long run, and avoid any misunderstandings.

-       Create separate folders for fonts, images, graphics, etc, to be sure you have every element on-hand at the request of the client.

-       Account for bleed and trim, so that no extra editing work is needed before your design is ready for print.

3. Failing to Edit or Have a Checklist

One of the worst mistakes a designer can make is to send off the final version of a design without having edited or gone through the specifications. Designs are often times sent out with grammatical or spelling mistakes, improperly formatted or not having respected the needs and requirements of the client.

How to Avoid Mistakes:

-       Have a checklist on-hand before you finalize the project. This can include anything from spelling-check and a final run-through of the client’s requirements.

-       Consider collaborating with a professional editor or have someone help you with QA.. A second pair of eyes can help you avoid any errors that might make or break your success with any given client upon delivering your assets.

4. Too Many Elements and Too Much Colour

A clean and attractive design involves a delicate balance of colour and special features. If the site, brand or logo feels cluttered and overwhelming to the eye, then the design itself lacks balance. Keep special features to a minimum and colour should be always be used sparingly and wisely.

How to Avoid Mistakes:

-       Choose two or three colours, at most, and be sure to include a neutral colour for balance. Cheers Bingo is an example of a logo that pops against it’s background for balance.

-       Contrast colours, but keep in mind that they must represent the feeling you are trying to evoke.

-       If you’ve decided to implement animation as a special feature, stick to that one solely and forgo other tricks. You don’t want to over stimulate viewers with too many elements.

Use these tips as a guideline to avoid any unnecessary mishaps in your graphic design career. With a few tricks of the trade, you can be sure to create a design that your client is happy with. Don’t compromise, make your career a successful one.

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