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10 Common Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid

Splattered paintEvery company has at least one design experience that they wish they could just forget about. In fact, some of us have several of those painful memories where common sense temporarily eluded us. There is certainly no shame in making design mistakes though, as long as it serves as a learning experience of what not to do in the future.With that said, here are 10 of the most common graphic design mistakes to avoid:

1) Delivering a Poorly Written Creative Brief

One of the most common graphic design mistakes occurs before projects even get started; it revolves around the designer not understanding what’s required of them in the first place. In most cases, this is due to a poorly written creative brief or a breakdown in communication between the designer and the client. Whatever the situation may be though, it is impossible to receive great work if the designer doesn’t understand what their expectations are.

Fortunately, this is also an easy mistake to fix. Always provide in-depth detail about each and every aspect of the project, especially when it comes to things like your ideal customers and the key messaging to attract them. Good communication will ensure that the project goes smoothly so never hesitate to ask for additional feedback.

2) Using Amateur Software for Professional Work

With numerous online resources available these days for designing logos, banners and other advertisements, it is not that difficult for anyone to create an appealing design in relatively little time. More often than not though, these seemingly “professional” creations come with a whole lot of drawbacks. That’s because most of the freebie programs use raster graphic imaging instead of the industry standard vector.

There is simply no substitute for professional design work. While it may seem smart to save a little bit of money with a do-it-yourself design, it often costs more in the long run between lost time and missed sales opportunities from amateur work. You will actually save money in the long run by hiring a professional that understands design and uses the latest software to complete your projects.

3) Over-Designing to the Point of Chaos

Likewise, it is entirely possible to ask a designer to do too much within any given project. Whether it’s using an abundance of bold color choices, implementing too many graphics or making the design far too busy, these mistakes will usually hurt the overall concept more than it helps.

That’s not to say that over-designing a page can’t still look appealing to the end user; it’s simply an unnecessary distraction. Less is almost always more in the world of graphic design because it’s all about allowing consumers to make a connection with the brand in question.

4) Focusing Too Much on Popular Design Trends

Keeping an eye on the latest advances in design is essential for any designer who wishes to remain at the top of their field. At the same time, however, it’s a bad idea to try and replicate another company’s success just because a certain style is popular. What works for one company may not work for your business and your customers. Not to mention, the design will feel quickly outdated once the trend passes.

One of the great joys of being a graphic designer is being able to use creativity and style to create designs that resonate with consumers. It’s a good idea to look for inspiration, as long as it doesn’t derail the designer from finding the unique design solution your project requires.

5) Saving in the Wrong Design Formats

While most design software allows users to save in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPG) and several other extensions, how do you decide which is the right one for your project? The answer depends on how you will use the finalized graphic and what features are required for the design.

When choosing a file format for a photograph or design image, think about whether or not the image needs to be in vector format and how it will be compressed. Also consider if the design will be printed or displayed online; all of these things will make it easier to choose the perfect way to save the work. Your designer should be able to help you make these decisions as well once they know how the finished product will be used.

6) Relying Too Much on Free Images

While stock photography is a quick, affordable solution to use with some projects, be wary of “creative commons” photographs and websites granting unlimited usage for free. Not only do these images tend to be low resolution, but there is also a risk of copyright infringement and other unintended consequences.

Whenever possible, it always makes sense to buy photographs that guarantee exclusive usage through the purchase license. This means that no one else has legal rights to use your images in any capacity, which protects you and your brand down the road.

7) Going Overboard with Typography and Fonts

A large portion of graphic design relies on selecting the right fonts to convey a message; choosing the perfect typography for any given assignment can make all the difference between a success and a failure. Design is all about creating balance within a finite space, so overloading one section with too much text makes the entire piece feel crowded. The same issue occurs when too much is crammed into a single headline or tagline; it just doesn’t work.

A similar issue is trying to use too many fonts within one piece; it’s distracting and takes away from the overall design. Aim for a two font maximum with varying weights on any design piece.

Choosing the right fonts comes down to making sure that the styling within the typography compliments the lines and angles of the imagery. As long as it’s close, the design piece will work nicely. And most importantly, people will be able to understand your message.

8) Not Proofing the Assets

While it may seem unlikely that several different sets of eyes would overlook a typo over the course of several proofs, it’s a pretty common occurrence in the world of marketing. That’s because our brains allow us to see what we think should be on the page instead of what’s really there. Make no mistake though; failing to proofread a design spec before sending it to a printer or pushing it live will never end with a good outcome, regardless of who actually made the error.

The good news is that avoiding typos is fairly easy with a little bit of practice. Read the design piece from bottom to top so your mind is not automatically making assumptions about the words on the page. Having someone not familiar with the project proof the document is also a good tactic.

9) Not Taking Advantage of White Space

As a brand, you probably have a lot to say to your customers. That doesn’t mean you should give your designer two pages of text and ask them to summarize it all in a postcard; that just distracts the reader and makes them miss the overall point. That’s why the white space in a design is just as important as the words on the page.

There is a reason why most advertisements have a healthy balance between visual appeal and empty spacing; it’s to ensure that the consumer’s eye quickly finds the call to action on the page. When used properly, it makes great work stand out and it ensures a fast connection with the intended audience.

10) Missing the Overall Point

While there’s no guaranteed way to impress every customer 100% of the time, epic mistakes can be minimized by doing your homework and seeing what types of design projects have previously worked in your industry. By gauging the customer feedback to those campaigns and understanding why ideas succeeded or failed, it makes it a lot easier to become relevant to your customers.

Also, pay close attention to not allow your personal tastes to get in the way of what’s best for your brand. Great design should be a natural extension of the messaging, and the implications should be plainly obvious. So be very careful with being a little too clever with your delivery.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/upwork/10-common-graphic-design-mistakes-avoid-01711423#WGkixoxQWYUiirkL.99

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