Graphic design is much more than just creating visuals.
It involves a thorough thought process to incorporate multiple aspects, from the psychology behind colour and font choices to how much white space to leave on a page.
The thing about design is: it’s either great or a bit naff: it either grabs your audience’s attention or it doesn’t.
To help you design better graphics, here are 5 common mistakes you need to avoid.
Incorrect Use of Fonts
Typography is important in any design and has an impact on how your brand is perceived.
Unfortunately, designers sometimes use too many fonts in a given design which can start making it look too busy.
Generally speaking, no more than 3 fonts should be used in a single design, plus you could use one font with different weights instead. But if you decide you want to use multiple fonts, ensure they’re from the same family and that they complement each other.
At the same time, fonts need to be in tune with the overall feel of the design: if you want to convey a strong message, use a bold font whereas for a more laid back vibe, try rounded, free-flowing fonts.
Kerning is the process of adjusting space in between letters in text and is important to wording easier on the eye and more legible.
As simple as it sounds, bad kerning can ruin the entire impression you’re trying to make with the design. If words look confusing and unreadable, it’s not going to leave a lasting impression now is it?
In other words, if you want your design to be visually balanced then pay close attention to kerning: ensure there is equal space between letters as well as words too.
You could even do the squint test to be completely sure. Simply squint your eyes so that you can only see the space inbetween the letters, without the letters themselves distracting you.
Choosing Too Many Colours
Choosing too many colours, or the wrong colours for that matter, can make any design ineffective.
Simply put, designs need to have the right balance of colours to look good – too many colours, and the message is not going to be delivered.
Therefore, no matter what type of marketing material you’re designing, only use what is required. Communicate with your designer and advise them of your brand colours, including a secondary colour palette if you have one.
Then once colours have been confirmed, try out your chosen fonts alongside these colours to ensure text can be read easily.
Lack of White Space
Sometimes, designers feel like they must fill every single space but this can start making designs look extremely cluttered and hard to look at.
Consequently, designs that are too distracting can overwhelm the viewer and therefore the message you’re trying to convey gets lost.
As such, understanding how to add white space can make designs more visually appealing, making them easier to understand.
Just to be clear, white space is the clear space between design elements (not just space on a white background): it’s the unmarked areas of any colour, image, pattern and textures.
And using white space correctly can help to emphasise important elements like the call-to-action, making particular messages properly stand out. So remove unnecessary design elements like borders, for example.
Ignoring Current Trends
Agreed – not all trends are going to align with your brand, so I’m not saying to jump onto every single bandwagon.
However, current graphic design trends should be considered and evaluated to see whether any are relevant to your brand and can be incorporated.
Furthermore, refreshing your creatives every one in a while is a great way to keep your audience interested.
At first, you’ll want to test how your audience reacts, so don’t create a huge catalog of designs without testing them first.
For instance, if it’s on trend to use pastel colours – is there a particular campaign you could use these colours for? Instead of a whole redesign of marketing materials if your brand uses vibrant colours.
To put simply, don’t ignore trends. See which ones work for your brand or which ones you can use to help evolve your brand in the future.
The Bottom Line
Don’t worry, even the very best designers will make mistakes from time to time – we’re all human.
But instead of feeling nervous to create something new, being aware of some of the common mistakes can help you to better create briefs that are clearer for the designer, and create effective graphics that speak to your audience to get better results for your brand.
If you need help with your next design project, check our Graphic Design services here.